Happy New Year!
It has been almost four months since I chose to have a preventative double mastectomy due to extensive breast cancer in my family. Often I think about how my life has been impacted by my surgery choice. And the answer is always a resounding – not at all.
Sure, I used to be able to do pull ups at the bar at Trinity Fitness. I used to be able to lift our almost two-year old without an occasional wincing and screaming “OUCH!”. But those physical pains will go away with time.
But it leads me to wonder…why wouldn’t more women choose to take this preventative action since for me it was such a cake walk?
Recently, my sister went in for additional genetic testing to see if she was NBN+ since both our mom and I came back as NBN variant. I watched her go through loopholes and trial after trial to get tested for this additional genetic mutation. She HAS breast cancer and it STILL took us weeks of negotiating with genetic counselors and MYRIAD, the test provider, to get it approved.
More women (or men!) do not take this preventative action because insurance companies, genetic testing companies and other medical providers make it difficult to do so.
I have received more than a dozen messages from local mom friends, local moms who I have not met and even some women in different states who are in similar situations to my sister and I. Their sister (or relative) has/had breast cancer and now they want to be proactive and consider taking action.
Many of them state that they really want to do additional genetic testing, but their insurance companies denied the request. Others were told that they could not receive a genetic consultation trial because they needed to have more family members have breast cancer in their family.
Although we can’t change how the medical field operates, we can choose to support each other through choosing to take preventative medical action.
If you are one of those women whom I have been in contact with about my mastectomy, you have made life sweeter for me since surgery. You have encouraged me to continue sharing my sister & I’s story of early detection and prevention.
If you have an extensive family history of anything, life will be sweeter for you if you continue to work past hurdles to take action.