The Blog

The Day My Life Changed Forever

I was away in Spain with friends and I will never forget waiting for the dreaded phone call. I was told Mum was booked in for surgery in just four days' time. I only really heard the words 'cancer', 'surgery' and 'chemotherapy'. I flew home straightaway.

People like me know their fate.

But People like me can also change their destiny.

My name is Gaby and I am 25 years old.

I once thought I had the perfect life. I have a lovely fiancé, Adam, who I met when I was just turning 21 and I have an amazing job as a make-up artist - it's every young girls dream. I love being able to make women feel good about themselves.

But I don't think I really appreciated how lucky and care free I was until one day my life changed forever.

Mondor's disease - that was mum's self-diagnosis using google. She had noticed a prominent and strange looking vein down each breast. It's very unusual but we all tried not to worry too much especially as googling it said it was not always linked to breast cancer. A mammogram was arranged anyway. It's better safe than sorry.

The mammogram was clear but we celebrated too quickly. An ultra sound was arranged just to be sure.

"Gaby, mum has been diagnosed with breast cancer," dad told me.


Nobody wants to have it. Nobody wants to even hear about it. Yet it was to become a word that engulfed mine and my family's everyday life.

I knew from the first biopsy result that Mum had something seriously wrong. We were told it needed further investigation. Waiting for the results was agonising.

I was away in Spain with friends and I will never forget waiting for the dreaded phone call. I was told Mum was booked in for surgery in just four days' time. I only really heard the words 'cancer', 'surgery' and 'chemotherapy'. I flew home straightaway.

Four days flew by and mum was wheeled away for her surgery. Why was it taking so long?

After what felt like an age, mum's surgeon appeared. I didn't really understand what he was saying. I heard words like lymph glands, removed, spread, serious, and more tests. It was all going over my head.

What I didn't realise then, that this was just the beginning of what felt like a nightmare.

Two long and agonising weeks came and went by. We didn't think things could get much worse. How wrong we were.

On top of being diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer - mum was told she had ovarian cancer too. Both were very aggressive.

I was in shock. How could my mum be so ill? Just the day before her surgery she had walked 8 miles with dad and their precious golden doodle dog, Ralphy. She didn't look ill.

We were all distraught and in shock. We were told that she had no chance without chemotherapy.

Just hearing the word chemotherapy scared me because of all its awful side effects. She'd be so delicate. Did this mean I could not hug or kiss my Mum? Was she going to lose her beautiful hair? I couldn't bear the thought of Mum going through this. Such a glamorous and proud lady.

That still wasn't the end of the nightmare.

Next we heard the word 'BRCA'.

I didn't really know anything about BRCA but I was reminded of Angelina Jolie. Her maternal family had a history of ovarian cancer. There was no history of breast or ovarian cancer from my mum's family.... but there was on my 90 year old, healthy cancer free maternal Grandfather's side. Can you get breast cancer from your father? I wandered.

BRCA, cancer, BRCA, cancer - the words whirled around my brain.

My mum was given a blood test to determine if she had a faulty BRCA gene. These blood tests take at least a month to get the results. We had to wait yet again. Hadn't we been through enough?

Waiting for results is agonising. A positive result could affect her treatment, a positive result could also affect me.

In the meantime, I did some research. I discovered that being a female BRCA gene mutation carrier is a BIG deal. It seriously increases your risk of getting breast and/or ovarian cancer.

If you have what doctors call a 'spelling mistake' in one of your BRCA genes you're suddenly faced with some seriously big decisions.

Should you have double mastectomy to protect yourself from breast cancer? Or your ovaries removed to avoid ovarian cancer. Angelina Jolie had both, after all.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. I try not to think about it.

After all we've been through; I'm hoping and praying that mum will be negative so I won't have to face these decisions. Something has to go right - doesn't it?

To learn more about BRCA visit