A Previvor Story Of Choice

My previvor story is one of choice. I received a 23 & Me as a gift and was excited to learn about my ancestry. But my results began my journey when it came back that I was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene. My dr had suggested genetic testing (based on family history and because I am an Ashkenazi Jew), I finally agreed to in January after learning that 23 & Me could be a false positive. Unfortunately it only confirmed what I already knew deep down. I was referred to a breast specialist and scheduled my consult. I only knew one thing: I did NOT want implants. She explained there were options and I could reconstruct them from another part of my body. She referred me to a plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction post-mastectomy. During that consult my mind was literally BLOWN with options. I really had a choice. I chose to undergo a DIEP Flap (essentially a tummy tuck) and use the tissue and fat needed to reconstruct my breasts. In late July 2019, I underwent a 10 hour procedure. I spent 5 days in the hospital and was out of work for a month recovering. I had my revision surgery at the beginning of December and while I am still healing, I am very pleased with the results. The ONLY scars on my breasts are around the areola. My tummy scar, well that is a work in progress. I had a team of all WOMEN doctors who get it. They listened, they were creative. They likely saved my life.
Prior to the surgery, I was a competitive powerlifter. In June, just 1 month before my surgery, I competed and broke every state (Texas) powerlifting record in my age/weight class. I am a passionate dog adopter/rescuer and am a volunteer foster for a local rescue.
I fiercely believe in bodily autonomy. I believe only we know what is truly right for our bodies and our lives and I am so grateful I had a choice.

– Leah