Cancer gene mother chooses to have breasts and ovaries removed so she can see children grow up
A mother of three has described how she chose to have her breasts and ovaries removed so she could see her children grow up after she found out she was a carrier of a gene which gave her a high chance of developing cancer.
Georgina Tuson, from Fareham, Hampshire, said that she was shocked when her parents informed her that she was carrying the gene, which doctors at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth explained that she had a 90% chance of developing breast cancer and 60% of ovarian.
The 38-year-old said: "My aunt died 20 years ago of breast cancer, and then 18 years later my cousin discovered that she had cancer in both of her breasts so had a mastectomy to have them removed. I couldn't believe it when I discovered that myself, my father and brother also carried the gene.
"I have one boy and two young girls so I was instantly worried for them and what it could mean for their futures. The doctor talked me through my options and it was clear that both a mastectomy and hysterectomy would be needed.
"I didn't want to take any chances. I wanted to see my children grow up, get married and have children themselves, and more importantly the odds were high that my daughters may too, one day, suffer the same fate as I was.
"So I felt as though I had to have the operations for them so they could see that mummy was brave and was around to see them grow because of that decision. I didn't want them to suffer the fate that my cousin had when as a child she had lost her mother."
Ms Tuson said that it was difficult deciding to tell her children about her condition and said her 12-year-old daughter Olivia asked whether she would have the same problem when she was older.
She said: "I had to be honest and say that she very-well could, but what we needed to do was live for the day."
Prior to the operations, Ms Tuson said she cherished time spent with her partner Derek and the children.
She said: "I spent the day abundantly happy and cherished every moment. What with having two operations only weeks apart I knew it would be sometime before the family could do that again, but I didn't moan or look sad about it."
Ms Tuson said she wanted her children to be a part of her recovery rather than being shocked by it and added: "They helped change my dressings and the like, and on the face of things we were all just relieved that the first operation had been a success.
"Behind closed doors however, I had a panic attack the first-time my dressings were removed and I took in the sight of my new chest, and I struggled to shower and touch and accept my new body. But to my kids I was just getting on with life and counting down the days until the next operation."
Following the operations, Ms Tuson said: "It's now seven months later and the effects of surgery still show. I still get phantom nipple pain, my chest feels numb and I get a tingling sensation under my armpit where my muscles need rebuilding, but I am alive. I'm healthy, my kids are happy and know that should my fate end up their fate, then they will handle it just as I did, and together we will get through it as I'm alive to now help them with whatever they face later in life."