Racing Against BRCA: Bonus Clip #1 - Making the Decision


Making the Decision-
When I first found out I had the BRCA gene I didn’t even know that a mastectomy was an option! Then, when I met with my gynecologist she informed me that I could have a bilateral mastectomy-if I chose to. The first thought that crossed my mind was, “great! the one thing I actually like about my body is gonna go!!” I was so not ready to have a bilateral mastectomy for a very, very long time. Every time I went to the gynecologist, she would ask me if I thought I was ready for one and I would always hesitate and say “ehh I don’t know…” and she would cut me off and say you’re not and I wasn’t at that time. The catalyst for this decision, as I had mentioned in the documentary, was my uncle passing and then when they found a precancerous lump in my right breast. However, the decision still wasn’t easy and whenever I am faced with a difficult decision, my mom always told me to: A. pray/meditate about it and B. make a pros and cons list. There is no right or wrong answer to this, but to possibly make the decision a little more clear for you here’s my pros and cons list and I hope it’s helpful especially coming from someone who has had the procedure:

1. If the surgery is done correctly, you have reduced your chances of getting breast cancer by almost 100%!!!!
2. You don’t have to constantly be feeling around on your boobies (I would do this EVERYDAY, because I’m crazy!). This was so so so major for me because I have anxiety and any lump or bump I felt (there were a lot because I had cystic breasts) I’d freak out!
3. No more mammograms aka pancake booby torture test
4. You can have the boobs you have always dreamt of! You can get bigger boobies if that’s what you have wanted, it is harder to go smaller than your natural size (more on that later)
5. Some people don’t really have to wear a bra (I do though)
6. No more biggie smalls, they will make your breasts more symmetrical
7. You can make tweaks that are typically covered by insurance for the rest of
your life (also depends on your insurance)

1. If the surgery is NOT done correctly, it can give you a sense of false security and you still may get cancer even if 1% of breast tissue is left behind. So, finding a reputable surgeon is imperative
2. You lose pretty much all feeling. I have more feeling in my right than left, but that could be because I had lymph node dissection on the left side.
3. You can’t breastfeed
4. It’s an extensive surgery, mine was 6 hours and took me months to get out of a fog and start feeling like myself, BUT it does go away.
5. Risk of infection and (possible) multiple surgeries, but this can also be a good thing, because you can make tweaks-I have only had one surgery
6. You will have to take a decent amount of time off of work. I only took a week and a half, because I’m a crazy person and I don’t suggest this. I know a lot of people who took 4-6 weeks off
7. Going back to working out is a little tough, but it’s only temporary…more on this later

Feel free to message me with more questions you have!

All the love,

Caroline Plank