Melinda Diagnosed at 29

"Young Survival Coalition was a lifeline during my surgeries and treatments."

My husband noticed a lump in my left breast on the Fourth of July 2007. I was 29. I had just had a miscarriage so I assumed it was just hormone changes from that. I mentioned it to my doctor at my next appointment and she sent me for an ultrasound. Turns out it was triple negative breast cancer. I would need a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy. Thankfully my doctors at MD Anderson talked to me about preserving my fertility. My husband and I had just started trying for a family when I was diagnosed and we definitely wanted to have kids of our own someday. Thanks to Fertile Hope we qualified for financial assistance to help with that process. We were able to freeze some embryos after my mastectomy but before starting chemo. During chemo I did genetic testing and it turns out I have the BRCA1 mutation. It wasn’t an obvious family history since it came from my dad’s side. But my grandfather and his brother died of pancreatic cancer and my great grandmother had breast cancer and died from pancreatic cancer.

Three years later, after chemo and a second prophylactic mastectomy were done, I was able to use my frozen embryos. We did preimplantation genetic diagnosis to determine which embryos did not carry the BRCA1 mutation. We now have two perfect, healthy children who will never have to worry about BRCA1! Young Survival Coalition was a lifeline during my surgeries and treatments. I was able to connect with other young women like me facing similar surgeries, reconstruction, chemotherapy, fertility concerns, and much more. Thank you YSC!

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