My name is Joanne Ameruoso. I am what is known as a Previvor. After having a first-degree relative, (Grandmother, Aunt, and Mother) and losing my Grandmother and then my Mother in a very traumatic way to breast cancer, that was the day I decided I was going to be proactive. Making the decision that I would be taking preventative measures for myself. Knowing that genetics were playing a key role, I had no choice but to go this route. I was tested for BRCA which came back negative. Eventually taking the genetic route only to discover I have a cancer mutation called Lynch syndrome, (which is linked to breast cancer). In addition to facing possible breast cancer, I was also battling with the insurance company to approve the surgery. Always knowing this was lurking, I had no choice but to fight for this surgery. So I did, I fought long and hard to have a Preventative Double Mastectomy. But the insurance company wasn't budging. Then due to the fact that I found a small mass, and a lymph node that had popped out under my arm, then left them with no alternative but to finally give the approval. Back in December of 2016, I underwent one of the biggest surgeries of my life, to follow with reconstructive surgery, expanders to implants. Over a year and a half worth of surgeries to be exact. Findings were benign, with Atypical cells. I considered myself truly lucky and blessed! This was an extremely scary time in my life, but thank God for the most amazing Doctors that I had by my side guiding me. The most important thing was that I was afraid I wouldn't feel whole again as a woman should. The body imagery was always a burden in my mind. But with these incredible team of Doctors on my side, we conquered! I am happy to say mentally and physically I am once again whole!
As for my Mom, she haddiscovered that she had a lump. She sealed her own fate by allowing fear to dictate her end result . Riddled with this fear, not telling a single soul, until it was too late to try to help her. Coming to understand that her fear was so big, that it stood in her way of having any sort of faith or hope. That is when I realized that I was going to choose to do the opposite. Unlike my Mom, I was going to have FAITH over that FEAR! This is when my Moms fear literally became my fight. After this long and difficult journey, I have since been encouraged to put my family's story to paper. In hopes of showing women not to stand down to this beast that we know as breast cancer. Also showing the importance of knowing your genetics. My book which is titled, Faith over Fear…how my Mom's fear of breast cancer became my fight, it will be available summer of 2022. If I help just one Woman find the strength to fight hard, and to be proactive when faced with the decision, then my goal will have been accomplished! Never let fear be the option!
Previvor, Womens advocate