The terrifying nightmare life encounters
A Disease that has not spared the male or the female, neither the common people nor the celebrities.
A Few names of the celebrities those who have had the BRAC gene:-
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Angelina Jolie, Christina Applegate, Mathew Knowles, Lynn Redgrave, Rita Wilson, Shannen Doherty, Wanda Sykes, Olivia Newton-John, Joan Luden
and so on also a common woman like Taylor Harris. Here is a story about her and how she battled the unimaginable.
Taylor Harris is a “previvers”, who says she’s confident and grateful about her decision, though there are days when “she doesn’t feel especially brave or empowered”.
Getting diagnosed with a breast cancer gene mutation at age 32 was a gift, but left room for disappointment, too.
She lays on her back opens her robe, just as done for every other appointment. But when the doctor prodded her new breasts with her fingertips, she said “I felt naked for the first time. Thin, sloping scars were exposed on my chest, where a surgeon had removed my nipples, but left a smaller version of my areolas”.
Her middle child, Tophs, had helped them discover the BRCA mutation. His puzzling medical symptoms, including dangerously low blood sugar and growth failure, led doctors to order a genetic test of more than 20,000 of his genes.
No mother can ever expect that her four-year-old son carried a BRCA2 mutation, which also meant so did she has the same.
She was diagnosed at the age of 32 an increased lifetime risk of developing breast cancer (up to 85 per cent) and ovarian cancer (up to 27 per cent) was devastating. Because the cancers associated with BRCA mutations develop in adulthood, my son’s care didn’t change, but my medical team expanded overnight.
She immediately without any further delay entered a high-risk programme at the University of Virginia’s Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, and met her gynecologic- oncologist, breast surgeon and plastic surgeon.
She said “They showed me photographs of women’s torsos before and after surgery. We discussed my family tree, which was marked by a variety of cancers on one side”.
Having a BRCA mutation doesn’t mean you’ll get cancer. It just means you have to weigh whether you want to spend the rest of your life under surveillance (alternating breast MRIs and mammograms every six months) or take things into your own hands with a major preventive surgery.
She herself took four years to decide, during which she had her third and last child and nursed her till she was all healthy and delightful. She also took time to write an essay and land a book deal and prayed for the guidance on that time.
Finally before the baby turned four, I read a piece by the late writer Elizabeth Wurtzel on breast cancer:
“I could have avoided all this if I had been tested for the BRCA mutation”. Her words nudged her over the edge.
When I quiet all “shoulds” and expectations in my head for a moment, I hear a call from within to survey the changes to my body. She said she ask herself for permission to grieve.
During her breast reconstruction, the plastic surgeon suctioned fat from her thighs and flanks, and inserted it around the implants to make them appear more natural. Leaving her thighs dark purple with bruises, the pain was far worse than she ever imagined. Over time, the bruises disappeared, but so did the fat placed around the implants her body reabsorbed it.
Now, when she takes off her bra, she said: she see’s ridges and dimples that can’t be smoothed without a third surgery. Breasts have more lift and are smaller than they were after nursing three kids, and without nipples she’ll never again have to buy breast petals to wear with a strapless dress.
“You’ll do great,” people said. “You’ll feel so relieved.” Taylor needed their voices, echoing as doctors rolled her into the operating room. All things considered, she did do pretty great.
During her interview she said: “After having kids, my breasts sagged, looked worn out, but they never appeared unnatural. They were mine. Now when I undress in my closet with my back turned, it’s not just that I’m prone to shame. I’m also taking space to relearn my body, how it feels to live in a place that’s been rearranged.
Doesn’t each of us, at some point in our lives, have to confess: I thought this body was one thing, it turns out it’s another?
I’m looking for space, as a previvor, to mourn. A space where I can stop and consider that my scars are signs of relief but also collateral damage from a choice I made.
It can’t be healthy to hide behind gratitude without acknowledging that sometimes, I feel like the subject of a Cubist portrait – a woman made of fragments pieced together, almost recognizable as her own”.
Taylor may never have breasts fit for Playboy, but recently she has reconsidered her “Thanks, I’m good” approach to nipple tattoos.
She keeps the fake tattoo in its plastic film on a bookshelf in her office, as a reminder that she still has options. In time, as she parses what matters to her from what can be discarded, maybe she’ll give Vinnie a call and ask if he takes special orders.