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“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.” Linda Wooten

I look at my daughter and love the fact that she has my eyes and my love for the arts . I also look at her in fear that she has a 50/50 chance of carrying the gene that could potentially change her life forever.

Being BRCA positive and having a daughter brings a whole other level of fear to the word Cancer. At age 18 it is suggested that Kenzie be tested for BRCA and if positive, she will have to make a decision that could impact her ability to have a family. Any mother understands all too well the concept of “mommy-guilt”, but knowing that you may have passed along a gene that could keep your daughter from having children of her own, is almost too much to wrap your head around.

When I was first diagnosed, Kenzie was a year old and while I realized the day would come that she would need to be tested, time was on my side. Two weeks ago, Mackenzie turned 12. Mackenzie started showing signs that she is hitting puberty and all I could think was “Boobs! She is going to grow boobs! Even if Mackenzie is BRCA negative, she will still have to be closely monitored for Cancer for the rest of her life. Because I developed cancer at such a young age, Mackenzie’s odds of also developing cancer are far better than average.

I am scared of not living to see her 18th birthday, and of not being around to help support and guide her with my experience in life and with Cancer. Mountain of mommy-guilt party of 1!

Having a little girl is often associated with fairy tales, ponies, princesses and the corresponding Prince Charming. Cancer is a dragon in our fairytale, and although we may not yet be able to slay that dragon, we fight daily wearing our armor of love, laughter and open honesty.

Shanna Pinet
Atkinson, NH

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