A few days ago I went to a genetic counselor to update my preventative care plan for my PALB2 gene mutation. A PALB2 gene mutation is the third most high risk gene mutation for breast cancer, directly after the BRAC1 and BRAC2.
I was expecting to hear that I needed to keep up with my current plan: six month rotation between 3D breast mammograms and breast MRIs, but instead, my genetic counselor recommended a double mastectomy and a referral to a breast surgeon.
This recommendation comes from new research since the time I had my gene testing three years ago, as well as my family history and my mother passing away from breast cancer when I was so young.
I am still spinning from this news and quite scared. I am thirty-five years old and it seems quite drastic to have a preventative double mastectomy.
My husband and I have always agreed that we would do whatever was necessary for me to live the longest and healthiest life possible, but honestly I am struggling with this news. This was not in my big picture plan for this year.
As I have struggled with the news, I have thought about my mother. In 1990, if she would have had access to gene testing and preventative care, I think she would have done all she could. And if she was still living, seeing me mother my four children with this option to prevent myself from the years of chemo, radiation, and sickness she personally went through from the time I was seven until she passed when I was fourteen, I think she would say, “Why wouldn’t you spare yourself from what I went through?”
I am wrestling with what is biblical in my double mastectomy story. This is a pill very difficult to swallow. I trust God and I believe in His promises, but I am still unsure of what faith looks like in this situation. It feels so much more gray than black and white.
If you read this, please pray for Michael and I as we discern what is best for our family. I think Mom would say I should walk though this double mastectomy story for my health, my husband, and my family.
I am a hot mess of tears and emotion. I believe God is good all of the time, and I believe He is writing a good story for me. Thank you for being alongside me on this unexpected journey.