Next steps with BRCA-1

So now that I’m done having children the next step is removal of my ovaries and breasts.  To that end I asked my OB about ovary removal and she referred me to the Women’s Health Center where I met with an oncologist gynecologist this past week and she was quite helpful.  She suggested having the surgery as soon as possible and although she only operates on people with actual cancer she explained the procedure to me and will refer me to another Dr.  The good thing is that unlike the surgery to have my breasts removed I can have my ovaries removed as soon as I stop breast feeding.  We were surprised to hear that I will likely have no hormone replacement therapy because the replacement therapy can increase your risk of breast cancer and since they can’t guarantee that they will remove all breast tissue they don’t want to take any chances, which I can certainly agree with!  So I will experience abrupt early onset menopause, fortunately the Women’s Center has a menopause clinic to which I’m also being referred.  The surgery itself is done laparoscopically – they remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes – and is a day surgery with a short recovery time, which was great to hear with two young children around.

The next thing is decide how long to continue breast feeding, I need to wait 6 months after stoping before I can have my breasts removed.  At this stage I’m planning on at least 6 months but I’m not really sure how long to continue.  I’m thinking about starting to pump and start storing breast milk.  But I have to admit that popping her on the breast is super convenient.

I have to admit that a part of me was thinking this was something that would happen in the future but the future is here now.


2 months

It’s hard to believe that it has been 2 months since E was born.  In some ways it’s been easier than with M but in other ways it’s been harder and it’s hard not to make comparisons.  Although they look almost the same – their baby pictures are very similar and when we took E for casts of her hands and feet (something we did with M) the lady who does it said that she has never seen siblings who look so similar.  Just hoping that E eventually starts to look like a girl, as M definitely looks like a little boy – although we did get compliments about what a good looking GIRL M was when he was a baby (must have been the blonde hair and blue eyes) so who knows.

I CAN”T WAIT for daycare to start again – it’s only 2 days a week and my mom does help out quite a bit but we will be on more of a schedule and I’m guaranteed at least some (almost) alone time.  Hopefully E will start to fall into more of a routine and sleep longer at night – two nights ago I was so pleased 6 STRAIGHT HOURS, it was wonderful and then last night happened and I’m exhausted again.  It will also let me have some time with just E, I can play with her on the ground and not worry about M stepping on her or being too rough.  M is also trying to be helpful which we do want to encourage but it’s frustrating when it takes 5 times as long to get anything done – if it even gets done.  He’s also fighting us on most things now, I tell him NO but he knows that when I’m feeding the baby I’m in no position to follow through and feeding seems to take so long some time.  I feel overwhelmed and feel like I’m failing my children.

In two weeks I go to the Woman’s Health Centre to talk about having my ovaries removed.  With the BRCA-1 mutation I’m at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer so at my 6 week postpartum appointment I asked about ovary removal she wasn’t sure but helpfully referred me to this clinic so hopefully they can help with timing of everything and are more informed than the fertility clinic – although I think this issue is fairly recent so there hasn’t been much research about preventative surgery – which at this time seems to be the option with the best long term odds of survival.  I’m also afraid that I’ve passed this condition on to my children and hoping that by the time it would become an issue they have better treatment options.

On a more positive note I write the Canadian Public Service Exam in 3 weeks so I’m hoping that goes well and ends with a job (fingers crossed).