Kristal Uncovered: A Breast Recognition Project
Age When Diagnosed: 36
Breast Cancer Type: Triple Negative
I Am An: Educator, Human Rights Activist, Rethinker
I was diagnosed with TNBC on May 17th, 2018, on my second son’s first birthday. I was 36, a mom of two small children, my oldest son being four years old. When I felt my bump just two weeks earlier, I had said to myself, “Well, if they (my boobies) gotta go, they gotta go.” After attending all the hospital’s educational sessions, along with my husband at my side, I decided to have a double mastectomy with immediate implants. Having the BRAC1 genetic marker means I am also at-risk for ovarian cancer, so after much reflection, my decision was to have both of my ovaries removed after I completed my six rounds of chemotherapy (FEC-D). The images I saw of women’s scarring were primarily of those who were white/light skinned, so it was hard for me to gauge what my body might look like post-surgery.
The night before my mastectomy surgery, I had a “Farewell to Kristal’s boobies” party (it was fun and light-hearted). Post-surgery, even though I got to keep my nipples, sensation was significantly reduced but I am much more ok with it now and I even enjoy the sensation that I do have.
My biggest advice is to listen to yourself, always. Give yourself time to investigate what you think is important. For me, I chose to opt for prophylactic surgery with my ovaries. I chose to have chemotherapy. Growing up in my homeland of Trinidad & Tobago, I knew what it was to live a third world life. I am so thankful for the excellent healthcare and options I had throughout my whole cancer experience here in Canada. Even though at every step, each decision was not an easy one, I did it with a light heart and with gratitude that I had excellent doctors at my side.