Today I was invited to speak at the Generator Pink Ribbon Breakfast. They asked me to share my story about having the BRCA cancer gene and my experience having a double mastectomy.
I was excited to see a few familiar faces in the room and I felt so much warmth and support from people I’d never even met before. It’s times such as these that make me proud to be a Kiwi!
I should also note the strong presence of males in the room. These are men who are brave enough to surround themselves with pink cupcakes and hear chicks talk about boob issues. Good on you boys!
They kicked off by playing this video:
It was weird watching that video back and thinking about the stage I was going through at that point. I was making decisions about my mastectomy and talking to specialists at St Marks. It’s amazing to think how far you can come in just a few months!
Yesterday I sat down to write my story and I wondered where to start? I came to the conclusion that you can only really start at the beginning. So I talked about my first experiences of Breast Cancer as a child – finding out that my mum’s best friend had Breast Cancer and going to see her for the last time. The realization that Cancer isn’t an old person’s illness and that young parents can be taken away.
I went on to talk about losing my father to stomach cancer when he was age 39, and my own mother’s journey with breast cancer. Watching her lose both of her breasts and then the lengthy struggle to stay alive – she has been inspirational to say the least.
The final part was about my own BRCA journey and my experience having a double mastectomy. There’s so much to say about that it’s hard to squeeze into one post.
This morning was tinged with bittersweet feelings. I couldn’t stop thinking about Helena and I realized walking into Generator that it’s the first time I’ve ever been there without her. If those walls could talk! So many parties including numerous breast cancer events, Birthday parties and even a singles party – all with Helena.
It was comforting to have Helena’s husband Christopher at the event today. He never ceases to amaze me with his brave face and total strength of character. Some people deal with a lot in their lives but they always manage to keep on smiling from the inside out.
Now I deserve my pink cupcake!