Ashley Fink Rehage is a 35 year old mother of one and wife. She is also my cousin. While getting vulnerable about such a scary time is not easy, she agreed that sharing her experience is important. It helps show people they aren't alone. She told me when she found out (keep reading to know exactly what she found out) she googled in search for others who went through similar experiences. So, hopefully, someone who reads this finds comfort for that reason. Ashley and all you other fighters are not alone. Keep going.
- Victoria Roux
FIYA's Designer and Creative
Ashley Fink Rehage's Story
Last year my paternal grandmother and my sister who was only 29 at the time were both diagnosed with breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation. Doctors then encouraged my sister and I to be tested for the BRCA2 gene as well. What were the odds that my two sisters and I would all carry this mutation... There was just no way! Low and behold, we all tested positive. Having this mutation means in my lifetime my risk of developing breast cancer is anywhere from 60-80%, ovarian cancer between 30-40%, elevated risk of pancreatic cancer and melanoma.
Since learning of my risks I have not questioned IF I will ever develop these cancers, it’s always been a matter of when will I develop them.. No way in hell I’m going to sit around waiting to see, I knew I needed to do everything I could to get ahead of this awful disease so that I can continue living life with my beautiful baby boy and grow old with my amazing husband. Having “high risk” testing multiple times a year just wasn’t enough for me, I had to get rid of everything in my body causing me to be of higher risk for developing cancer. Following the suggestions of my team of doctors, the first step was a prophylactic double mastectomy; which has been quite the process for me. I have since had 3 breast surgeries and hopefully my last which is scheduled in less than two weeks. Next will be a hysterectomy which I am scheduled to have 8 weeks later. Going into this process I didn’t think I would have 5 surgeries in less than one year, but I am constantly reminding myself of what my ultimate goal is.
It has not at all been easy, but I’ve never felt more valiant in my decisions...
...to rid my body of these ticking time bombs. I am so grateful for the knowledge and technology we have today which allows us to be proactive and possibly get ahead of this awful disease. Please take the time to ask questions about your family history, update your doctors about your family history, know your risks and your body, because cancer prevention and early detection can potentially save your life.
- Ashley Fink Rehage