Carla: “A new chapter awaits”

02 October 2020
Carla 3.jpg

In 2014, Carla was diagnosed with a BRCA1 gene mutation and made the decision to have a risk-reducing mastectomy. Fast forward to 2020, Carla shares an honest and open account of how she's feeling on the day before her next surgery. 

It’s the day before my surgery and my emotional turmoil has not settled. My whole being is saying ‘don’t do this’ but what is the alternative, a lifetime of ovarian cancer risk?

My family cancer on both sides is predominately breast cancer so when I went through with the preventative mastectomy I was ready and calm. I knew I would recover fully from it and move forward with my life. 

This surgery is different, no one in my family has had ovarian cancer. I am plunging my body into surgical menopause and removing my fertility. I will be entering a phase of an unknown territory and although I have done my research as much as possible with what to expect, I know that no one fully knows how it feels until the path is walked. Surgical menopause scares the crap out of me. I feel so sorry for my body as it hasn’t got a clue what’s coming and I just want to say to it that I’m so sorry but I don’t want to die of ovarian cancer. 

To me this surgery is not a choice, it’s a must

Carla

Ultimately I know this surgery is the right thing to do. People talk about it being an elective surgery, a decision that I’ve made, but really it’s a decision my genetics made. I have up to 40-60% chance of developing ovarian cancer so to me this surgery is not a choice, it’s a must. 

I have so many courageous BRCA friends in my life that I have seen battle with ovarian cancer, care for their mothers battling it, go through with the operation themselves or are like me knowing the surgery is in the near future. They help me drive this forward, without them I wouldn’t be anywhere near as equip to take this next challenge head on. We all have one common goal and that is to live healthy for as long as we possibly can on this wonderful Mother Earth.

Although my future path hasn’t gone as expected, I know I have a brilliant life ahead of me and I will take on the challenge of surgical menopause and infertility head on with much support around me with my husband, my family and friends, the BRCA community and my dogs by my side.

A new chapter awaits, let’s do this.

** Carla's update post-surgery **

Today I was given the positive news that my biopsy results (for my Fallopian tubes, ovaries and omentum) showed I was cancer free. Although recovery and surgical menopause hasn't been as smooth as I would like, getting the all clear makes it worthwhile.

There are no right or wrong decisions when it comes to managing your risk of cancer. If, when or how you take action is a personal choice. Take the time to find out as much as possible and make the best decision for you and your family. Visit our Hereditary Hub for more information.