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My mom and I had never really thought or talked about getting cancer. That changed dramatically in October 2013. My parents, who live in Germany, told me that my mom got diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer and that extensive surgery and a chemotherapy would be necessary. I was in shock and felt terrible because I lived far away in Boston and couldn't be there to support her. My mom made her way through surgery and chemo with boldness and bravery, but that Christmas of 2013 was tough for the whole family. The surgery had left my mom weak and faint, but over the next couple of months, she regained her strengths and was on her way to recovery. My parents went on vacation, they visited family and friends and made plans. Until another exam in between chemos revealed that the cancer had spread to the lungs. Things became more and more serious, the weeks went by in a blur. In October 2014 I decided to come home for Christmas earlier. A few days before the flight from Boston to Berlin I felt something in my left breast. I felt it clear and distinct, the size of a hazlenut. I wasn't too worried, given all the other fears and concerns that occupied my mind, and I was only 28, after all. I had scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist in Germany anyways, so I decided to save any other thoughts on that for later. A week and a half after that appointent I knew I have breast cancer. Another couple of weeks later, the day of the 4th wedding anniversary with my husband, I had my first surgery of the lymphnodes (all clean!), then the first rounds of chemo. I am now more than halfway through my chemo and I will undergo a double mastectomy in June because I have the BRCA1 mutation. I know that my family is strong because we would not be where we are now if it wasn't for the love and support, the comfort and encouragement that we have for each other.

Franziska
Cambridge, MA

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