Note: You will want to mute the music below prior to watching the videos.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

BRCA Positive: Blessed or Cursed?

Being positive for the BRCA 1 mutation is something that often weighs heavily on me.  I was tested after I was diagnosed....although I had considered being tested prior.  Had I been informed and truly known what it meant to be positive for this mutation, I would have never waited. With my family history, there should have been no doubt on my part and overwhelming encouragement from my doctor's to do so.  Could I have beat breast cancer before it even got the chance to start running?  This is a question that I will never be able to answer.  However, now I know.  I know 'Why' I got breast cancer at age 28.  Now I find myself wondering 'If' my girls have inherited this same mutation.  If the answer is yes, then comes the next question: 'When' will cancer attack them?  How much time do they have?  My great-grandmother was 45, my mom was 35, and I was 28.  My oldest daughter is 6 years old.  The thought of her ever being diagnosed with breast cancer is hard enough.  The thought of her being diagnosed at an age younger than 28, is gut-wrenching.  If I'm not careful, these thoughts can consume my sanity.  So, the real question is how I choose to live with this.
Am I Blessed or am I Cursed?

Although I could have both of my girls tested at anytime, I have chosen to not do so.  When it comes to getting tested for the BRCA genetic mutation, I think all women need to ask themselves what they plan to do with the information they receive.  What is my plan should I test positive?  I know every woman will process things differently and I know not every woman will make the choice to be proactive.  In addition, not every woman who test positive will be diagnosed with cancer.  But, you should know your risk and I have included a chart that you can find at Myriad .  Is it a risk you are willing to take?

Your Cancer Risks

Here is another chart that clearly displays what it means when a woman knows her risks and takes control.

Proactive Cancer Management Reduces the RisksProactive Cancer Management Reduces the Risks

As you can see, if you are a carrier for the mutation, you have up to an 87% chance of one day getting breast cancer by age 70.  Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what age breast cancer might decide to sneak into our lives.  I was 28....42 years away from age 70.  Had I been tested before cancer, and been proactive in taking the necessary steps, it would have reduced my odds by more than 90% of ever having to hear those words. Of ever having to wonder if I would get to see my daughter go to Kindergarten. Of ever having to wonder if I would be able to have more children.  Although I am a survivor and I credit God for His healing power, I wish I had been tested earlier.  My prayer is that my daughter's will NEVER have to face breast cancer should they test positive.  My prayer is that they will feel empowered to make decisions that I wish I had made.  I have something valuable....I have something that breast cancer can't take away....and that is the 'Why.'  Luckily, because of the 'Why' my daughter's may never have to face the 'When'.

So........Blessed or Cursed?  Definitely Blessed.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Long Time...No Blog.

Holy Cannoli!  I cannot believe it has been over a year since my last post.  Getting use to having a new little person in the house is not an easy task.  Our lives have been abundantly blessed with Chandler Mae.  But, they have also become more a good way of course.  =)  I will have you know that despite my lack of keeping up with my blog the past year, I have checked it regularly and am blessed beyond words by the number of people who continue to read my blog and leave me words of encouragement.  My purpose has always been to give other women...especially young women....a message of hope when facing breast cancer.  For the first few years after my diagnosis I was very active in several breast cancer organizations and really bringing awareness to genetic breast cancer. we all happens and sometimes we have to look at our lives and really figure out what our role is during this particular season.  For me...right now I feel that the most important thing I could possibly be investing all my time into is my two girls....Charley and Chandler.  I have been given a second chance at life....therefore, I will honor God by taking care of the gifts He has blessed me with.  With that being said....I love that my blog is still reaching so many women...and hopefully blessing them.

On a different are a few things that are going on in my life:

1.  First and foremost....I celebrated 4 years of being cancer free on July 16th.  Woo Hoo!  It really is hard to believe that it has been four years.  Sometimes...cancer seems like a dream.  Of course, that is until I look in the mirror and am reminded that it was SO REAL.

2.  In October of 2011 I had a complete hysterectomy....meaning that they took my ovaries, cervix, and uterus.  I knew that I was done having children, and since I am BRCA 1 positive I also knew that I had an increased risk of ovarian cancer.  NO THANK  YOU!  I can't say that I miss my parts....or my periods...but I do miss being able to lose weight and get through the day without having a complete sweat attack...AKA Hot Flash.  All in all though...I really can't complain and I NEVER have to worry about ovarian cancer.

3.  My oldest daughter, Charley, started Kindergarten this fall.  What an incredible blessing it was to be able to witness this.  When I was diagnosed, Charley was just two weeks shy of her second birthday.  Thinking about her going to Kindergarten seemed so far away and I have to admit that I questioned whether or not I would be here.  WELL GUESS WHAT CANCER.....I WON!  Charley is such a vibrant little girl who LOVES to sing, dance, act, shop....pretty much anything.  She is an INCREDIBLE big sister.  Being an only child I never knew what it was like to have a seeing the love that Charley and Chandler have for each other warms my heart to no end.  (I am sure that when Charley is 16 and Chandler is 10...this statement may need to be edited...but I will enjoy this sisterly love for as long as I can!)

4.  Chandler turned one on August 27th this year.  If I could use one word to sum up Chandler it would have to be BUSY.  That girl can go and go and go and go.....and then go some more.  She is finally walking..which translates to climbing on, into, up, down, around...anything she can.  Some of her favorite things to do are:  pull books off of Charley's book in around 50 of them, eat, pull off her shoes and socks, eat, feed the dogs from her high chair anytime that she is eating, climb into a plastic drum that is supposed to hold her musical instruments, eat, take baths, be outside...did I mention that she likes to eat?  You would think that I could lose some weight since I can't eat when she is awake.  If I am eating...she is eating...or yelling for whatever I am eating...and this is of course after she has been fed.  She is a fire cracker.  I have discovered that she LOVES Barney and for me to read her books.  This is of course after she eats.

5.  My husband, Ryan, runs a very successful business...Anvil Customs.  The business continues to grow...which is a wonderful thing.  Anvil Customs has allowed me to stay at home for the past 6 years.  He also works from home so we are incredibly blessed to be able to raise our girls together and have an abundant amount of family time.  Ryan is an incredible man of God and has stuck by me in the toughest of times.  He is also a wonderful father.  I would like to give him full credit for the rowdiness of our two girls as well as blessing our girls with his humor.  Both Charley and Chandler are comedians...and they know it...kind of like their daddy.

6.  As for me...I am just going through life focusing on one day at a time.  I am working on being the best mother and wife that I can possibly be....knowing that is what God wants from me during this time of life.  I am working on losing a few pounds...okay...several pounds.  I am hoping to get into the best shape of my life.  Getting old isn't going to get any easier and I know that I won't be able to put forth my best effort if I'm not healthy.  I am blessed beyond what I deserve and am grateful for all that God is doing in my life, the life of my girls, and in Ryan's life.  I LOVE MY FAMILY SO MUCH!!

I hope to keep my blog a little more updated....and I will keep praying that it will bless others.  I realize that everyday women are hearing the words "You have breast cancer."  In that feel completely helpless.  You feel completely deflated.  You know that your life is about to change....forever.  However, it is also in that moment that you can choose how you want to face this challenge.  I would suggest putting on your armor and going into battle knowing that you are going to KILL CANCER.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Introducing Chandler Mae

Wow!  So much has happened since my last posting!  The last time I posted I was sharing the good news that I was pregnant!  This was something that my husband and I wanted greatly.  We had accepted that we might not be able to have more children, so when we found out we were expecting, we were thrilled!  We had especially wanted to give our oldest daughter, Charley, a sibling.  On August 27th, Chandler Mae Wasson was born into this world.  She has been such a blessing to our family.  Every time I look at her, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to have been able to bring her into this world.

So now, nearly 3 1/2 years after breast cancer, I have two beautiful daughter's and life is in full swing.  When I found out I had breast cancer, Charley was just two weeks shy of her second birthday.  Now that she is five years old, we often talk about "Mommy's breast cancer" and she remembers bits and pieces of that journey.  What she remembers and knows most is that Mommy was sick.  I always want Charley to see me as a fighter.  Being that my breast cancer was genetic and I am a carrier for the BRCA 1 genetic mutation, I realize that both my girls have a 50% chance of carrying the gene as well.  With that in mind, I can think of no greater impact than making sure my girls are well informed of their risks and the decisions that will lay before them should they test positive for the BRCA mutation.

I am so thankful for my life.  I am blessed beyond belief with a wonderful, hard-working husband, two beautiful girls, a loving God, and my health.  What more could a girl ask for?

 Everyday women are being told they have breast cancer.  Some of these women are young like I was, with their whole life ahead of them.  When you hear the words, "You have breast cancer,"  your initial reaction is to reach out and search for women like yourself that have fought and won the battle.  You are looking for hope in the midst of despair.  It is my ongoing prayer that women who come across my blog will be encouraged and find that hope by reading about my journey.  I am no doubt "Blessed to be a Blessing" believing that the "Best is Yet to Come."

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not harm you.  Plans to bring you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Big News!!!!!

Hello World!  I feel so horrible for neglecting my blog for so long!  I cannot tell you the number of times I have attempted to update my blog and something else has prevented that from happening.  When I am working on a new post, I really like to be in the right mind-set.  Knowing that so many are reading my blog, makes each posting so much more meaningful.  So, here it of the most exciting post I have probably ever written.  I really hope that the women reading this, especially the young women, will feel encouraged by what I am about to announce.  I think the picture below says it all!

Meet Apple (This is what my daughter has named the baby!  No will not be named Apple.)

That's right!  I am pregnant!  2 1/2 years after finding out that I had breast cancer and might never be able to have more children, a miracle occurred.  My husband and I are expecting our second child in early September.  Before I was diagnosed, we always knew that we wanted two children.  In fact, we were planning on trying to get pregnant around the same time I was diagnosed, so our plans for more children were derailed.  Our mentality slowly turned from wanting more children, to feeling so blessed that we already had a beautiful daughter and if no more children were a possibility, we would be OK with that.  The doctors had all warned me that my fertility might be affected by the chemotherapy and part of what they said was true.  Shortly after my first treatment, my menstrual cycles ended for 9 months.  On June 12th, 2009, exactly one year from my diagnosis, my menstrual cycle returned and my husband and I knew that more children might very well be a possibility for us in the future. 

I do think it is important to note that we did not decide to start trying for more children until I was given the OK from my oncologist.  In fact, there was a time when my oncologist encouraged us to wait and we did just that.  It is also important for those of you reading this to know that my breast cancer was Triple Negative.....meaning it was negative for all hormones.  The only treatment available for this type of breast cancer is surgery, chemo, and radiation.  With triple negative, I did not have to take any type of hormone therapy after the completion of my treatment.  If you are a young woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and are worried about not being able to have children or perhaps add to your family, know that it is possible.  Do not give up hope.  However, listen to your doctor's.  Every woman's situation is different and every woman must make decisions based on their individual circumstances.

This blog has been such an incredible tool in reaching women from all over the world who have been affected by breast cancer.  My prayer is that women will continue to be encouraged and find strength and hope in reading about my journey with breast cancer.......and now my new little miracle.

God Bless!

"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not harm you; plans to bring you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back to Salt Lake City!

This past week, I was fortunate to travel back to Salt Lake City and speak for the first time as an official part of the BRAC pack.  What an incredible experience!  Being the Type A personality that I am, I wanted to make sure that I was overly organized.  I worked countless hours on making sure that my presentation would make an impact.  My audience: new Sales Reps for Myriad Genetics.  These are the men and women who go out in the field and try to stress the importance of genetic testing to oncology and OBGYN offices.....many of which are not doing genetic testing at this time.  My job was to give these REPS an actual face and story to put with this genetic testing process.

I have spoke on several different occasions in the past......none of which have been about genetic testing.  I love to share my story with others.  This time was so different from past speaking engagements.  I found myself feeling more passionate about telling my story than I ever have.  I was not speaking to just any group.....I was speaking to individuals who have the opportunity to go out and potentially help save lives.  I wanted my presentation to leave a lasting impression on these newly seasoned sales reps.  The greatest part of the entire experience was the warmth I felt from all of them.  They were all in tune to what I was sharing and I could tell that I tugged on some of their heart strings.  Their job as a Sales Rep was no longer just "a job".  It became a mission.

I am anxiously awaiting my next opportunity to share my story......wherever that may be.  From the day I was diagnosed back on June 12th, 2008, I knew that God would use me and my journey to make a big impact someday.  I just wasn't sure how or when.  Almost 2 1/2 years later, I can now see both.  I feel as if I am fulfilling a great part of my purpose in life.  What excites me most is knowing that THE BEST IS YET TO COME and I can't wait to see what that entails!

God Bless!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This past week I traveled to Salt Lake City.  It was an INCREDIBLE trip.  I am fortunate to be a part of what is called the BRAC Pack.  The BRAC Pack is made up of a group of individuals from across the country that have been tested for the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutation.  Our job is to help educate others about the importance of genetic testing and their risk for Hereditary Breast or Ovarian Cancer, also known as HBOC.  Shortly after my diagnosis of breast cancer, I was tested for the mutation.  I tested positive for BRCA 1.  BRCA mutations increase breast and ovarian cancer risks.  If you test positive for a BRCA mutation, you have up to a 50 % chance of developing breast cancer by age 50, up to an 87% chance of developing breast cancer by age 70, and up to a 44% chance of developing ovarian cancer by age 70.  The statistics are outstanding.  However, they are also avoidable. 

If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, PLEASE talk to your physician or OBGYN about your risks.  I had my first mammogram at the age of 25 because my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at only 35 years old.  Unfortunately, no physician or OBGYN shared with me the importance of genetic testing.  At the age of 26, I gave birth to my daughter Charley.  Two years later, my husband and I were ready to add to our family.  However, that never happened.  Instead, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Hearing the words "You have breast cancer" could have been avoided.  If only at the age of 25, someone had seen my family history as concerning.  If only someone would have talked to me about the importance of genetic testing, perhaps, I could have avoided hearing the words "You have breast cancer."  I could have avoided facing death and the fear of leaving my husband and daughter.

PLEASE do yourself a favor, and talk to your physician about your family history and genetic testing.  Sometimes, you have to be your own advocate.  Unfortunately, not all physicians are as concerned about your health as you are. 

If you would like more information on genetic testing, please visit BracAnalysis, or contact me at  Also, please contact me if you or someone you know would be interested in having me share my story.  Genetic testing can potentially change the future of you or your loved ones. 

I feel so blessed to be a part of something so great!  My hope is that I will be able to share my story with women....AND men....all over the world, and that in doing so, more and more lives will be impacted and potentially saved from ever hearing the words...."You have breast cancer."

God Bless!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gearing up for Utah

Whew!  It has been a hectic couple of weeks around the Wasson house.  We have been busy, busy, busy!  Just last night I asked Ryan what happened to the relaxing days of summer?  It seems that ever since Charley started back to preschool that our lives have been going full speed.  Although things are somewhat crazy, I cherish each day for the simple fact that I am alive and have been blessed with another matter how crazy!

Next week I will be leaving for Salt Lake City, Utah for my training as a patient speaker for Myriad Genetic Testing Lab.  I will be joined by 10 - 15 other women who have also tested positive the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2.  I am so excited for this opportunity!  It is incredibly bittersweet!  I realize that this opportunity came to be because I was diagnosed with breast cancer.....something that NO woman should have to face.  However, I have always been a positive person when it comes to my breast cancer journey and believe that I have been healed because God has great things planned for my life.  I am now seeing a glimpse into those GREAT things.

Whether it is breast cancer, divorce, or the death of a loved one, we will all face tragedy in our lives.  I believe that within every tragedy, there is anopportunity to make a difference.  I made the choice to Rise Up and use my tragedy to hopefully encourage and inspire women from all over the world......and you can do the same thing!

I can't wait to share all the details of my trip to Utah with all of you!  Here I come Park City!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blessed with another BIRTHDAY!

Our age signifies so much about our life.  Here are some examples:

1.  I met Ryan when I was 14.
2.  I started dating Ryan when I was 15.
3.  I married Ryan when I was 22.
4.  I gave birth to Charley when I was 26.
5.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 28.

We remember events from our life based on our age.  I NEVER thought that when I turned 28 years old, I would be diagnosed with breast cancer later that year.  I wonder what the age 31 will bring?  There are some great things happening in my life right now and I have to admit, I am so happy with all that God is doing.  One of the consistent slogans at the church I attend is "The Best is Yet to come."  I love believing that THE BEST IS YET TO COME! 

I have no way of knowing what this year will bring.  However, the one thing I do know is that I have been blessed with an incredible family.  I have the most wonderful and supportive husband.  Ryan is truly my best friend.  I have an incredible daughter who absolutely loves life.  I have two incredible parents who have helped mold me into the person I am today.

So, here's to another cancer-free birthday! 
May this year be full of blessings, for THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Being Your Own ADVOCATE

 Being diagnosed with cancer taught me a lot of things.  One of the greatest things it taught me was the importance of being my own advocate.  You can't exactly treat cancer with an antibiotic.  If you go to the doctor for a sinus infection and the doctor prescribes medicine, you may or may not take it.  Regardless, the sinus infection will more than likely go away over time.  Cancer is different.  The majority of society knows little to nothing about the complexity of cancer and what drugs are necessary to fight it off.  With that being said, cancer patients tend to trust their physicians without asking a lot of questions.  I mean.....what do we know?  THEY must know what methods will work best in fighting this deadly disease.  Our life is in THEIR hands. Since my diagnoses I have met numerous women who have found a lump in their breast and because they were "to young to be diagnosed with breast cancer", they were told to keep an eye on it over the next few months.  For women without a family history or who are uneducated about the risk of developing breast cancer, this may not seem like an unreasonable request.  They trust their physician knows best and they are given the confidence and comfort that it is more than likely nothing to worry about......and in most cases, this is true.  However, there are women who are not as fortunate.  They wait, they watch, and a follow-up appointment leads to devastating news.  The small lump that was there a few months ago, has grown, possibly spread,  and is in fact....breast cancer.

Although I had a strong family history, I too was told that the lump I had discovered was more than likely nothing more than a fibroadenoma.  I found comfort in the fact that my doctor believed it was nothing more....despite a grandmother who had died from the disease and a mother that had been diagnosed almost exactly 20 years earlier.  An ultrasound led to a mammogram, a mammogram to a biopsy, and a biopsy to a breast cancer diagnosis.  All of sudden, that same doctor who had given me the confidence that I had nothing to worry about was now telling me that the prognosis of a woman my age diagnosed with breast cancer was not good.  That was 2 1/2 years ago.....and here I am, alive and well.  I think the prognosis is better than what he assumed it to be.  However, I might stand corrected had I not insisted on getting a mammogram.  I cannot speculate what might have been, however, I can compare my own circumstances to those who have been told they are to young to get breast cancer, and are now in the fight of their life. 

This posting is not meant to speak against those in the medical profession.  I credit all those involved in my journey to helping save my life.  Whether you have been diagnosed with breast cancer or not, the thing I want all women to remember is that YOU are your own advocate.  YOU know your body.  A lump in your breast is not normal.  Does it mean it's cancer?  Not necessarily.  But wouldn't you rather know that it's not cancer, than to wait and take the chance of it being something much more serious.?  No one can physically fight breast cancer for you.  The physicians can administer the drugs, the surgeons can remove your breasts.....but at the end of day, you are still the one left fighting.  Do not settle for less than the best.  Every woman has something to live for.  If you are not receiving the care that you know you deserve, it's time to find that team of doctors that will support you. 

If you are a young woman, don't wait to do your self-exams.  Start now.   You are NOT to young to develop breast cancer.  Your odds might be less, but the fact is, young women are being diagnosed everyday.  Take control of YOUR circumstances and YOUR life.  Those who are closest to you and love you will thank you for BEING YOUR OWN ADVOCATE!   

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Words of Encouragement

Last night I decided to take a journey down memory lane and I began reading my blog from the very beginning.  As I read each posting, it was hard for me to believe that I was reading about MY journey with breast cancer.....and not someone else's.  I was surprised by the amount of information I was able to share and as I continued to read, I was reminded of the feelings that a newly diagnosed woman faces.  I was reminded of the outpouring of love from my husband, family, friends, and those I never even met.  I was also reminded of my faith.  Although I experienced every possible emotion throughout my journey, I knew from the very beginning that God was the only one who could heal my body, give me life, and bring me out of the pit of despair.  I also believed that God would use my journey and story of survival to bring hope to others.  Much of what strengthened me, and continues to do so today, was knowing that God was with me all the time.  I did not have to fight the battle alone. 

Since my blog always post my most recent entry first, I felt it necessary to share with those finding my blog for the first time, or perhaps those revisiting it for the hundredth time, scriptures of encouragement.  I realize that not everyone who reads this is spiritual, religious, or a believer in Christ.  However, I believe that if you are reading this posting, it is not by coincidence.  No matter your circumstance, God is the only one who can truly heal, restore, and renew.  I pray that the scriptures below will bring you comfort and encouragement. 

God Bless!!

Proverbs 3: 5-6 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; and in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

John 14:18
I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.

Romans 5: 3-4
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 8:26
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:13
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; and I will help you.

Matthew 6:8
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Psalm 5:8
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies-------make straight your way before me.

Psalm 139: 13-14
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful

1 Samuel 17:47
All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands.

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4: 6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.