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Rachel’s Story

My name is Rachel, I am 26, I have been married for 5 years, and am mommy to the four sweetest babies ever. 

On Sep 7th, 2010 I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. I was 24 years old and 14 weeks pregnant with our fourth child.  I tested positive for a genetic mutation known as BRCA1 which puts me at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.  Since than I have gone through 5 rounds of a/c chemotherapy, had our precious, perfect baby six weeks early on Jan 24th 2011, and two weeks later had bilateral mastectomy's.  I then recieved taxol chemotherapy once a week for the next 12 weeks.  I took the summer off from pretty much everything and began reconstruction surgery in October 2011.  I was scheduled to have a final surgery in March 2012 when I found out I was pregnant again!  I am due Oct 8th, 2012 and after delivering will hopefully get my reconstruction finished and then have to figure out how we want to deal with the ovarian cancer risk. 

Latest Journal Update

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So I have been putting this off for long enough and I know a few people who are starting to wonder whats going on...so here it goes.

I was two weeks out from my final reconstruction surgery when I found out I am pregnant.  Yes, yes, again.  It was very surprising and a pretty hard blow to what I was hoping for this year.  I was so ready to put all of this behind me and move on as normally as possible.  I was to have my reconstruction and after recovering from that have a hysterectomy and also thee oophorectomy which is thee ovary removal.  At first I was extremely upset that thee plans had to be pushed back, and that I had to be pregnant through thee horrible desert summer!  But now I am so glad and thankful for this pregnancy cause its given me time to really think and research everything that was going to happen.  The worst part is having the expander's in my chest still, as they are extremely uncomfortable and often even painful.  Sleeping is horrible and it's hard to do certain things and move certain ways cause they are so hard and tight on my body.  Otherwise this has been my easiest pregnancy by a long shot, and we also found out it is a BOY!  So Ezra will have a brother finally :)  The kids are all sooo excited about a new baby and Amelia has dubbed him "Baby Feather" which we all refer to him as.

 

On to the serious things.  I have an ultrasound every month, more to watch my ovaries then baby Feather.  My Oncologist is very worried about ovarian cancer developing during pregnancy cause of the estrogen surge.  I am half way through thee pregnancy now and due Oct 8the.  The plans originally were to deliver Feather by c-section and do thee hysterectomy and oophorectomy at thee same time.  After doing my own research and reading and praying a TON- we have decided against that.  Not only do I not want to have a c-section, I also decided, against all of my Dr's recommendations, to keep my ovaries. I feel like my Dr's are looking at things in terms of eliminating risks of what they know most about, and thats obviously cancer!  They are looking at me like a disease waiting to happen, rather then a life that has to be lived.

I have a 40% chance of getting ovarian cancer.  In the general population of women, 14 out of 1,000 will develop ovarian cancer.  In my situation It's 400 out of 1,000.  Ovarian cancer is one of the leading killers of cancer cause there is no screen for it and most women find out they have it too late.  Which is why it is commonly called "The silent killer"...comforting, right?  However, the cons of getting my ovaries removed and being forced into surgery induced menopause is far worse to me.  It would put me at risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, lung cancer, cognitive impairment, impaired sexual function, parkinsonism, osteopoerosis, psychiatric symptoms, and the worst in my mind is a shortened life in general.  1 in 24 women will die prematurely as a result of an oophorectomy.  I cannot imagine having a newborn and having all the side effects physically, emotionally, and mentally that will come along with the surgery.  I need to be the best mother and wife I can be, and for me that is taking the 40% chance and just keeping an eye on things and being aware of how I feel at all times.  I have had such an emotional year and hate having to make either decision, cause they both suck in my opinion.  I know if I do end up getting ovarian cancer its going to be awful having to go through treatment and everything and all my Dr's will shake their heads at me cause they "told me so"...but I don't want to be at risk of all those other things if I am in the 60% who WON'T get it.  I just personally feel like menopause happens when women are at a time in their life when they need to slow down and they are usually ready for it!  I still have children to raise, and a husband to help through the days!  I just need everyone who remembers me in their thoughts to pray for me and my family.  Whatever happens in my future I need to accept is Gods plan for me.  I am scared for my family more than for myself.  I am worried about my children and how my choices will effect them and their future.  I have 20 more weeks to read and pray about this decision but as for now I am pretty secure in my choice.  It's going to be a long summer til I get to meet my sweet son, and I am hoping for this pregnancy to continue to be uneventful and boring!  Here's to hoping :)