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Meet Cari

Earlier this year, I heard a voice tell me to get the BRCA1 Gene Mutation test. A test that I had never gotten despite that my Aunt was diagnosed and survived breast cancer 15 years ago and since then many of the members of the family have tested positive for the mutation. Maybe it is because I have also felt healthy. Also, I honestly didn't understand how high the risks are for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. So I listened to that voice, had the test and it came back positive. I met with my genetic counselor, and Shem then gave me names of a few oncologist to contact to begin my screening appointments. I made my first screening appointment a few months later. Dr. Rizzo felt a lump lump during my first screening appointment. four mammograms, two ultrasounds, two biopsies, and a MRI, later I had Triple Negative Breast Cancer in both breasts. I found out about the left side first and the right side was a few weeks later. All of the sudden I am thrown in a world of tumors, surgery, chemo, receptors, etc and it all happened with a phone call. My world was upside down. After my double masetcomy, I met with 3 different doctors that all agreed I needed chemo since my cancer is triple negative. I also discussed which chemo with all 3 doctors. Since I haven't had kids yet, freezing my eggs was recommended to me because chemo could put me into early menopause and there is no going back. So I had the surgery, froze my eggs, and began chemo. It all happened really fast, and I didn't have money set aside for cancer. It wasn't something I was planning on and all of sudden I had to make a lot of decisions fast. Be your own advocate. Write down everything and take someone with you to EVERY appointment. If you can't bring someone with you, see if someone can FaceTime with you or ask the Dr. if you can record the session. You will remember very little from every appointment. Get more than one opinion. This is your life and it is important to make sure more than one doctor agrees on your path. If you have surgery such as a double mastectomy, make sure you do physical therapy as soon as your are cleared to do so. Meet with a dietitian. Ask if your hospital offers it as a free service. If you are going through chemo, your body will need more protein and supplements than it normally does. Ask about grants that may be available to you. Take this time to love yourself. Tell yourself, "This is my time to ask for what I need. I am going to thrive, beat this, and will be a happier person from it. Every day do at least 3 things for yourself. Walk, garden, journal, bath, massage, acupuncture, dance, sing, whatever makes your soul soar.


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