Michelle Heaton on her 'lowest moment' after giving birth to her son following a double mastectomy
Michelle Heaton has opened about the loneliness she felt while going through early menopause at 35 after deciding to undergo a preventative double mastectomy and hysterectomy.
In 2013, she discovered she had the BRCA2 gene, which significantly increases your likelihood of getting breast cancer, and made the decision to increase her chances of avoidance by having both of her breasts removed. At the time, she was still breastfeeding her daughter Faith, now six.
"My dad’s mum, and her mother, both had ovarian and breast cancer in their 30s," she told the Telegraph.
"When my grandma, who had the gene, died, my dad and his sisters received a letter inviting them to be tested. My dad tested positive, so then I received a letter."
"I put the letter in a drawer and forgot about it. But then I had Faith in 2012, and just after her birth I had a conversation with a midwife who mentioned she’d been tested."
"When I told her my dad had the gene, she stopped in her tracks and said, 'You’ve got your baby daughter in your arms and she may have it, too. You need to know'. I looked at Faith, who was an hour old, and the next day booked an appointment."
She was told she had an 85% chance of getting breast cancer and she describes the decision as a "no brainer" in order to be there for her child and husband Hugh Hanley.
Heaton became fearful of ovarian cancer and after giving birth to her second child AJ (four) in 2014, she underwent a full hysterectomy, which put her in early menopause, the symptoms of which still affect her.
"It felt like a positive decision, but after AJ was born, I experienced my lowest moment. The midwives placed him on my chest and he began to root for milk. I felt awful because I couldn’t feed him," she said.
She explained to her children that she was sick and had to have an operation, which prompted her to have an uncomfortable conversation with her young daughter.
"The other day she asked, 'Will I have to have one?' and I said, 'Maybe'. But I can’t even fathom her going through what I’ve been through. The only positive is, if it does happen I’ve given myself the best chance of being here to guide her through it."