A MUM-OF-THREE has had both her breasts and ovaries removed following the discovery of a gene which meant she had a 90 per cent chance of developing breast cancer.
Georgina Tuson, 38, from Fareham, says she took the drastic action to ensure she had a future with her children. Her aunt died of breast cancer and her father and brother also carry the gene – which meant her chances of developing the disease was extremely high.
And just before she had the mastectomy and hysterectomy an MRI scan revealed that she already had a lump on her left breast.
‘The three weeks I had to wait for the results were dreadful’, says Georgina. ‘And I found myself suddenly appreciating the mundane things in life like doing the hectic food shop with the kids, even late-night ironing and school bag packing – all the things you never really blink an eye at.’
Thankfully the lump was benign and Georgina could concentrate on her impending operations.
‘I was over the moon, naturally, and felt as though life had given me a second chance. I knew that I had to be strong for my children, make the right decision and tell them what was going on.’
Georgina asked the children’s father to go to her house so together they could tell the children. ‘But how do you break that sort of news to children of between 11 and 13?’
Georgina says later that evening her 12-year-old daughter Olivia cornered her and asked if she too was likely to have the same problem when she was older.
‘I had to be honest and say that she very-well could, but what we needed to do was live for the day’, says Georgina.
‘The next day Olivia’s school phoned to say that she was upset so we ended up spending the day together and it was throughout this day that Olivia saw my strength in that I wasn’t being miserable and feeling sorry for myself, and instead was just getting on with things.’
Two days before Georgina’s operation and together with her partner Derek and the children, the family spent the day walking the dog along the beach.
‘I spent the day abundantly happy and cherished every moment. What with having two operations only weeks apart I knew it would be sometime before the family could do that again, but I didn’t moan or look sad about it, and from the kids prospective I was happy and relieved that it would all soon be over.’
Georgina says placing herself on the operating table just before the operation was a feeling like no other. She says: ‘I was suddenly overcome with emotion and burst out crying.’
After two days in hospital Georgina says she very much wanted her children to be a part of her recovery instead of being shocked by it.
‘They helped change my dressings and the like, and on the face of things we were all just relieved that the first operation had been a success. ‘Behind closed doors however, I had a panic attack the first time my dressings were removed and I took in the sight of my new chest. I struggled to shower and touch and accept my new body. But to my kids I was just getting on with life and counting down the days until the next operation.’
Six-weeks later Georgina was back in hospital having a hysterectomy.
She says: ‘It’s now seven months later and the effects of surgery still show. I still get phantom nipple pain, my chest feels numb and I get a tingling sensation under my armpit where my muscles need rebuilding, but I am alive. I’m healthy, my kids are happy and know that should my fate end up their fate, then they will handle it just as I did, and together we will get through it as I’m alive to now help them with whatever they face later in life.’
Georgina was speaking out on International Women’s Day and said she would like to thank her friends and family for their support.