February 14th, 2017, at the age of 22, I got the phone call of my life.
The first thing I heard was “I’m so sorry…” and my heart dropped. I didn’t get the call that I had cancer, but it felt like I got the call that I was going to GET cancer. I had tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation and I was given a 87% chance of developing breast cancer.

Hearing the news and knowing my family history of over 4 generations of aggressive breast cancer was not something I knew how to process on Valentine’s Day. All the women on my dad’s side of the family developed cancer mid 20s, and passed away by the time they were 30. My dad was also being treated for cancer. All my life CANCER has been this dark cloud hovering over my family…. And now knowing I’m BRCA1 positive left me feeling like a ticking time bomb.

For me, being in-and-out of doctors offices getting screened every 6 months, just WAITING to get cancer, only eats away at the quality of my life. Constantly worrying. Is today the day? Will it be next year when I find something?

With my family and my friends support, I decided to take action with the knowledge I had been gifted, and have the preventative double mastectomy. Take my life back.

I spent the summer preparing for my surgery. Working out — training for the surgery, eating right, deepening the relationships that meant the most to me, and celebrating my body — intentionally loving myself. THIS is how I prepped for battle.

The physical part of the process is SO hard, but the emotional and mental pain is what lingers after the recovery. Today I’m STILL learning to love my body and the scars leftover from the war. But I now know I have a lifetime to do that alongside other Breasties, by friends and family.

It was hardest decision I’ve had to make. But at the same time, given the mutation that I carry, my family history, and watching my own father fight his own battle with cancer, it’s also the easiest decision I’ve ever made. I’m choosing my life. And choosing that I will never regret.

GRYT is repurposing fear. Running at the thing that scares you the most, and turning it into a positive.

GRYT is being brave for your little sister who did not inherit the same genetic mutation and feels guilty about it.

GRYT is making the decision to remove parts of your body that may kill you, at an age when the only decision you should be anxious about is who you’re dating.

Check out Jennifer’s Previvor YouTube video!

Instagram handle: @jennifer_previvor

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