My Point of Heu
July 8th marks one year since I completely healed from my bilateral simple prophylactic mastectomy - which in simple english means I had both of my breasts surgically removed to prevent breast cancer. Bilateral means two, simple means they did not attempt to save my nipples, prophylactic means preventative and I also opted not to have reconstruction, which means I went flat with no implants and no other surgeries. After a strong family history of breast cancer and a genetic predisposition to the disease I felt the best chance of preventing breast cancer was to have this surgery which reduces my chances by over 90+%.
I've been taking this recovery in stages... first going public about my decision one year ago after I was all healed, then sharing bits and pieces about life, this process and experience. Everyone has been so supportive and 100% positive which has been very uplifting and kind. Being recognized by those in community who say words like "brave" and "strong" made me really think about my decision and how it was impacting others.
I've had countless women reach out to me... a broad range from breast cancer survivors, women on the verge of diagnosis, women who were amongst the first to have this type of surgery done and women who are running high with emotions because they fear the C word. I've spent many hours answering questions, speaking in public and sharing my story. It wasn't until recently that I started to realize I am ready to share my videos of the process and recovery.
When I was researching how this would happen and what to expect I watched all the mastectomy videos I could and spoke to as many survivors as I could find from all walks of life. I realized there is no one like me and I am very unique. I do have a special story to share and I think no matter how it is perceived or viewed it would be helpful to share these videos with others. It is surprising to me how many women out there are full with emotion and angst. I've noticed women who have had breast pain, burning, lumps and bumps and don't want to seek help or treatment. I've heard from women who don't have cancer, are pre-cancer their relative had cancer and they feel extremely motivated to do what I did. For me it was a way to evaluated the numbers - here is my risk and here is the best way to reduce the risk. I thought the decision I made was the best and most effective for me. I encourage others to speak with their doctors and also work on getting even a second or third opinion, because there isn't a magic bullet and despite what you think might be the right choice for you - you need to do your research.
Yes, I was perfectly healthy and did not have cancer. My journey is about me doing something some might say is extreme with the hopes of saving or prolonging my life. Since 1% of the people on social media are confused and seem to think I had cancer, even though I've made it very clear that I did not have any cancer cells and this was all preventative to prevent cancer... I am not going to post these videos on Facebook or Instagram. I am going to post them on YouTube with the comments turned off simply as a resource for others to see, watch and learn. I think because this is a new concept some can't seem to wrap their head around what I did or why i did it, so I think it's best to just upload it out there and those who seek it out and want to learn more can.
My YouTube channel name is Olena Heu.
Feel free to like and/or subscribe - I will begin uploading the journey videos in the next few days and put them all in order from the day before surgery to fully healed.