This post was written by one of our recipients, Viktoria, from Union City, NJ.
Hi, I’m Viktoria,
I’m 40, and a mom of two boys. Last year I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, and also I was found to be positive for the BRCA1 mutation. Cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes, and tumor was too big to operate, so I had to start with chemo to shrink it.
I did the TCHP protocol first. Two weeks after that, my hair started to fall out in chunks. It was the most emotional part for me and my family. I was always a long haired girl. I let my four year old boy cut it, to make it less scary for him.
As many of you know by now, my mom was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in January 2012, and she tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation shortly thereafter. Now that I know more about the BRCA mutation, it seems so clear that based on her extensive family history of cancer and her Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, she should have been tested long before she received her cancer diagnosis. But, genetic testing for cancer genes is a relatively new medical advancement, and, until very recently, doctors did not regularly recommend genetic testing in a prophylactic capacity without something more compelling than just a troublesome family history. Such testing was, at that time, not covered by insurance and cost prohibitive for patients. Still, the news of my mom’s BRCA-positive status was a slap in the face. Why didn’t doctors at least tell my mom about the potentially life-saving option of testing, and allow her to make the decision for herself? The what-ifs that stem from this question still regularly keep me up at night, and form the basis of my constant urging my girlfriends and Lolly’s Locks’ recipients that self-advocacy is one of the most important things you do can for your health: ask questions about benefits, risks and alternatives of any proposed course of action, and move to another provider if you don’t feel like you are heard or that you are not being given all of the pertinent information.
The last time you saw your first-born grandson, he was just 4-months-old. Adorably alert with the bluest of eyes, quick to smile, and just getting to the pudgy stage of baby that was your favorite. In those 4 short months, you were the best grandma that any child could ask for. We brought him home to your house because you knew that you were just too sick to come help at ours. You set up a crib, with the cutest lamb mobile, and stocked my old bedroom for everything a baby could want. You insisted on installing a car-seat in your car as well as ours, and I am pretty sure that you knew his cries better than I did. You bathed him with me, helped me nurse, and you bought him anything you could get your hands on in his size. You sang him every song you knew from your life as an early-childhood educator, and you marveled at everything he did.