My story starts in the early 1980’s, before I was born, when my maternal aunt died from ovarian cancer aged 34. Another maternal aunt then died from ovarian cancer in 1996. We were told that our family were at ‘high risk’ of getting cancer.
As I began to think about having a family myself, in 2012 I asked to be referred for genetic testing, but was told that I couldn’t be tested unless I had a living family member with cancer. I went on to have two little girls, Tammy now 4 and Raya now 2.
Then in January 2018 my mum was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer and finally we found out that she carried the faulty BRCA1 gene. I found out in July that I also have the faulty gene.
I was sent for a breast MRI and in September, aged 33, I was diagnosed with stage 1C triple negative breast cancer. I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and then started 18 weeks of chemo in November.
There are days when the side effects are too much to bear, and I feel like giving up, especially looking after my girls on days when I can’t even drag myself out of bed, and the total hair loss and resultant lack of confidence are so hard.
But I am so grateful that this was found early, even before a lump could be felt. I’m grateful that there are treatment options that will hopefully allow me to continue to live a long life and be there for my girls. I am grateful that my girls will have the opportunity to find out if they carry this faulty gene and to take preventative action if they do so that they never ever have to go through this. I’m grateful for the kindness and generosity of others, even people I barely know.
I am determined to carry on living and enjoying life as much as possible. Cancer has made me a better person in many ways, even though it tried to ruin my life!
Instagram - @emzy_g