Thank you to adidas for sponsoring this post. As always, all doll-pinions are our own.
Picture this: You’re in your late twenties, newly engaged to the love of your life and making big life plans. All of a sudden you find out your breasts, which have defined most of your womanhood, are actually ticking time bombs. October kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and October 3rd is National Previvor Day. The Dolls were lucky enough to spend a Sunday afternoon with our new breast friend, Megan getting Dolled up and learning about her uphill battle with the BRCA 2 Gene Mutation.
What is a Previvor?
Women carrying inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 have an extremely high lifetime risk for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. There are millions of people who carry an inherited BRCA mutation or have a family history of cancer.
A previvor is someone who has elected to have a double mastectomy because they have a predisposition to Breast Cancer (the BRCA gene).
Megan is a previvor.
We met at Thrive Hair Collective, one of our favorite Chicago salons located in the West Loop. The three of us Dolls were able to spend some quality time together getting Dolled Up and chatting about life in this trendy boutique salon. Our favorite glam crew, including Liz Monroe from Chanel, helped us all to look and feel our best before sporting Adidas bras for a photoshoot. We paired the coordinating sports bras with fun leggings like these. This was a day to celebrate each other as women and remind each other that strong is beautiful.
Before we got started, we had a special gift for Megan so she could pamper herself all the time. We filled up a fashionably functionable Adidas bag with loads of our favorite beauty products.
Next, we took turns sitting in master stylist, Natalie‘s chair and learning Megan’s story.
If you’ve ever wondered what happens when Goddess energy and Superwoman energy combines it creates a Warrior Princess like Megan…
Back in 2008, Megan found out her dad, Michael, had the BRCA2 gene and was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s right – the gene came from her Dad. That means even if the women in your family don’t have a medical history of breast cancer or the gene, it may be in the men. In fact, about 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2018. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
A voice inside of Megan guided her to have the test performed after a close friend was diagnosed with BRCA2 in 2014. Megan told us she had an inkling that it was positive, and she was right.
Megan and her now husband Colin of 3 years (Fiancé at the time of diagnosis), kept to their life plan as much as possible, knowing in the back of their minds that Megan would need to have a double mastectomy.
They wed in 2015 and immediately started their family. They now have the most adorable children Maddie (age 2) and one-year-old Michael. Colin also brought a little gift, Ava (age 11), into their marriage, whom Megan raises as her own.
Megan and Colin have gone through the bad days and the good days but have always stayed together as a team. During a routine test, Megan had a breast MRI result that was abnormal. In that moment, she knew that it was time to say good bye to her ta ta’s. Megan’s first surgery was performed in December of 2017.
Our day with Megan was so inspiring. Despite her scars and stories about her 18 hour mastectomy surgery with numerous breast reconstructive surgeries, she had spirits higher than most. You would never guess this is her journey. She is not defeated.
We asked her how she has been able to stay sane through this time in her life. Her answer was so simple yet so moving:
Because I have to. I have bad days but I know that I have to keep going.”
Megan’s story reinforces that we all need to listen to our bodies. We must always to kind to one another – you never know the battles anyone else is fighting.
We all make plans and sometimes those plans don’t work out, but they shape the purpose and direction of our life. Since Megan’s surgery, she has become an advocate for educating everyone about the BRCA2 Gene Mutation. She is a member of groups that involve others with the BRCA2 mutation gene. She coaches a swim team, teaches workout classes and lost over 110lbs since her diagnosis. Megan continues to challenge herself with workouts and clean eating every day. We have been following Megan’s journey on Instagram @boobies_and_burpies and are inspired with each post!
In early 2019, Megan will have a hysterectomy and we are looking forward to being there for her every step of the way. You also have the opportunity to get involved – click the link to Megan’s Team Force page.
Caitlin and Danielle would also be delighted if you would walk with Megan, her family and us on October 20th for American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk. It’s complimentary to be apart of our team and we would love to have you. Follow this link to sign up. We’re already putting together our pink looks for the walk!