My mum shared the news with us that she had the BRCA I gene and explained to my sister and I the increased risks associated. We both decided to get tested straight away, going to our respective GPs to get referred to see a specialist.
In the meantime my mum finished her treatment and went into remission and my dad surprised the whole family including partners and grandchildren that we were all going on another dream holiday to Florida. It was nearly 3 years since my mums diagnoses when all 17 of us flew off on holiday. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be the magical holiday we had all dreamed of as 5 days in my second eldest brother, Luke collapsed in the middle of Magic Kingdom and passed away from a heart condition, Cardiomegaly (enlarged heart) that he wasn’t aware of. My brother was just 30 years olds, fit and well, married with 2 young boys aged 2 and 4 years and was a serving Police Officer in the same Force as me.
Devastated is an understatement, however being the close family that we are we got through those first few days till we were able to get home.
We had been home no more than 10 days, I was on my way to say my final goodbye to my brother before the funeral when my cancer Genetics Consultant, Doctor Kai ren Ong rang as I had cancelled our appointment. She told me she had my test results and asked whether I wanted to rebook or take the results there and then over the phone – being the impatient person that I am I opted for the latter.
After getting the news I was positive I rang my mum and said to her “I’m sorry to tell you this but you are my mother, I’m not adopted, I have the BRCA gene”. My mum began to cry. I began to laugh and said “what are you crying for mum. You’ve just saved my life, because of you I’m not going to die of breast or ovarian cancer”. My mum laughed and told me she would see me soon and that a vodka was needed (we shared many great times together and vodka often joined us too).
I had already researched the BRCA gene and options available to me to reduce my risks and had already made my mind up that should I test positive I would opt for risk reducing surgery.
Three months later my mums cancer returned, I truly believe that the devastating shock at the loss of my brother brought that cancer back.