My BRCA journey: timeline

Everything from thinking about genetic testing to BRCA1 mutation results and preventative surgeries and recovery in one quick timeline.

This timeline covers all the important tests and examinations on my BRCA journey to give you a condensed view of how these things work in Slovenia. I didn’t think it was necessary to publish this, but a conversation with Christen (BRCAchat) got me thinking it might be nice for people around the world to know and get to compare our experiences.

Also worth mentioning is that everything from genetic testing to preventative measures (either surgery or monitoring every 6 months) is covered by insurance. Breast prosthetics are also covered once a year if you don’t decide to get a reconstruction.

FEBRUARY 2018

Genetic counseling documentation

Referral to genetic counseling clinic. Extensive medical family history questionnaire.

Genetic counseling

First genetic counseling. I was explained how testing works and what to expect regarding my family history. I had to give my written consent and fill out a lot of forms before a blood sample was taken to test for genetic mutations.

FEBRUARY 2019

JULY 2019

Genetic counseling - results

Genetic testing results: BRCA1 mutation. Consult about what the next steps are. They take another blood sample to confirm the results.

BRCA1 mutation confirmation

Written confirmation of BRCA1 mutation with recommendations for preventive procedures or regular monitoring.

AUGUST 2019

SEPTEMBER 2019

Surgery consult

Gynecologist: exam + ultrasound + preventative salpingectomy consult.
Breast surgeon: clinical exam + preventative mastectomy without reconstruction consult.
Pre-op diagnostics: chest x-ray.

Pre-op diagnostics

EKG
Extensive blood work (including blood typing) and anesthesiology consult.

OCTOBER 2019

NOVEMBER 2019

Pre-op diagnostics

Breast MRI with contrast.

Surgery

Preventative bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction (AFC or aesthetic flat closure) and bilateral salpingectomy.

6. DECEMBER 2019

8. DECEMBER 2019

Discharge from the hospital

No complications, so I was allowed to leave the hospital two days after surgery with instructions about checking drain output. 

Drain removal

Fluid output slowed down so I could get the drains removed. I didn’t feel anything during removal.

12. DECEMBER 2019

20. DECEMBER 2019

Starting physiotherapy and surgery checkup

Physiotherapy: mobility measurements (not good) and exercises to improve arm mobility.
Surgeon: post mastectomy wound checkup, removal of salpingectomy stitches, histology report (all clear).
Gynecologist: wound checkup + future preventative checkups and surgeries consult.

Final checkup

Physiotherapy: full mobility of both arms, future checkups not needed, must continue exercises at home for at least a year.
Surgeon: mastectomy scars are healed nicely, no future checkups needed (unless there’s a problem).

7. JANUARY 2020

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