Hi! My name is Lisa McGinty. I live in Cranberry Township with my husband Shawn, and our two sons, Nicholas (8) and Aidan (6). We are avid dog lovers. We have Tate and Timmie with us now, and Snickers are Barney are waiting for us in Heaven. I am a Registered Nurse, and I also have a Master’s Degree in Education.
I have both a personal and professional passion for breast cancer. I lost my Maternal Grandmother to ovarian cancer when I was an infant, and I lost my Mother to metastatic breast cancer in 2011. For years, I felt like a ticking time bomb just waiting for my turn to be diagnosed. It got to the point that I wanted a mastectomy. It was all I could think about. I wanted to be tested for BRCA.
There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be positive for a genetic mutation. I was fully prepared for a positive result. But when I got that call, it turned out I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. Hearing those words out loud literally SHATTERED me. I can remember where I was standing and what I was wearing when I got that phone call…..it was one of those profound, life altering moments for me. I honestly don’t remember a lot of that conversation after, “We got your results back, and I am sorry to tell you that they are positive for BRCA1.”
Immediately, I wanted everything gone. EVERYTHING. Friends and family thought I was overreacting. Doctors were telling me about increased screenings and yearly MRI’s and I didn’t want any part of that. They told me to really think about it because I was so young, but there was nothing left to think about. I had been thinking about this every day for what felt like a lifetime, and I wanted my risks to be eliminated. The nurse in me saw this as a very black and white decision. The woman in me was terrified and conflicted, but I scheduled my surgeries and never looked back. I had a total hysterectomy first, and then eleven days later, I had bilateral mastectomies with direct to implant reconstruction. It was brutal and definitely had me questioning my decisions. My pathology came back clear from the hysterectomy, but the pathology of the mastectomy showed LCIS in the right breast. This was another blow. My mammogram was clear 3 weeks before surgery. Although I was stunned to hear that result, it was also very validating. I wasn’t crazy, I wasn’t overreacting…..I did the right thing in choosing surgery for myself.
Everyone thinks that once you complete your surgeries or complete your treatments, breast cancer becomes a part of your past. A closed chapter. But that is not true at all. A breast cancer diagnosis or a diagnosis of a genetic mutation haunts you for the rest of your life. It changes the way you think about yourself and your future, and it changes the way you look at life. It changes who you are.
Supporting women with breast cancer has become my true calling and my passion. I work full time as a Nurse Case Manager/Professional RN Health and Wellness Coach for an insurance company. I work with patients regarding all areas of their health, but I have found that breast cancer patients touch my heart the most. I truly feel fulfilled when I am helping others manage their breast cancer journeys, whether it be a journey of prevention or a journey of treatment. I connect with breast cancer patients on a personal level as well as a professional one, and I truly feel impactful when I work with these patients.
I am honored to be a part of 412Thrive because I believe wholeheartedly in everything this organization stands for. Breast cancer patients and previvors benefit so much from networking together and supporting each other. I think it’s hard to understand how much these diagnoses and surgeries affect a woman until you have gone through it yourself. Connecting with another woman that has been through what you are going through, or who is going through it at the same time as you are, can significantly improve a woman’s attitude, outlook, and mental health. I am proud to call myself a previvor, and I am even more proud to say that I work to help others navigate their journeys as well.