This sweet Mama reached out to me to capture a some very special memories for her. She shares a little below about the unbelievable suffering she is experiencing. I am so humbled and challenged by her; in spite of such difficult experiences, she still radiates joy, strength, courage, and selflessly cares for those around her.
“Declan is my last baby and I am so grateful for him. We had a hard pregnancy with hyperemesis gravidarum, and then we had some complications after I gave birth; I had to have an emergency hysterectomy due to placenta accreta, and I lost 90% of my blood during the procedure. They left my ovaries behind for hormones, but since the surgery I have been having a problem with cysts on my ovaries. I have a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer… my maternal aunt was a BRCA1 carrier, my grandmother died of ovarian cancer before her time, my mother passed from a different kind of cancer at 29, so with that being said, the doctors moved forward with genetic testing. (Now it is known that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and we are all carriers of the BRCA genes (there’s a 1 and 2), but, unfortunately some of us have a mutated form of this gene that does not protect from these types of cancer, so my risk is more like 1 in 3.) Because the risk is so great for me, the recommendation is to remove my breasts (bilateral mastectomy), and have reconstructive surgery, and also have my ovaries removed (opherectomy) which will put me into early menopause at 31 years old.
What’s really hard about all of this is that I am just getting over the fact that I can’t ever have kids again. Whether I want to have more or not is a choice I no longer have. Now I’m being told that it’s not if but when I will get breast and ovarian cancer… I want to be here for my family, like my mother didn’t have a chance to be, and I definitely don’t want to put them through me having cancer if I don’t have to.
I am trying to be as strong as I can, but I have a lot of anxiety from almost losing my life during the surgery after my birth. In spite of everything that happened, I was determined to nurse my new baby. My sweet boy is still nursing at 17 months, and to be honest I am in no rush. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to breastfeed this one last time and raise this little human I love so much.
By around May or June I will probably lose my ovaries and breasts… these are my last breastfeeding photos so I am glad I could capture these last memories.” ~ Doreen
If you wish to make a donation to Doreen’s family, please feel free to do so via PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.