Nina Garcia opened up about her decision to get a preventive double mastectomy, several years after first testing positive for a BRCA1 gene mutation
Garcia, the editor-in-chief of Elle announced on Thursday that she will be undergoing the elective procedure, in a powerful essay penned for the website.
“Looking at the upcoming Fashion Week schedules piling up on my desk, it feels strange knowing that for the first time in 25 years, I will miss the excitement, creativity, and energy of the shows, which have always served as a reminder of why I love this industry,” she wrote, explaining that instead she would be recovering at home.
The Project Runway judge went on to explain that her “battle of the boobs began in 2015,” when she decided to get tested for “mutations to the BRCA genes…which increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.”
After receiving the results, Garcia learned she had a BRCA1 gene mutation and was “at high risk for breast cancer.” She spent the next three years getting regular mammograms and breast checks, and this January, she and her doctors decided she should have the preventative surgery.
“I was living in a loop of testing, every day waking up thinking: Is today the day I will get cancer?,” she wrote. “I no longer wanted to have these scary thoughts, and I knew the only way they would stop was to schedule the surgery. The answer was clear.”
Garcia went on to share that her “darkest” days occurred shortly after she made the decision to go through with the surgery.
“It wasn’t until then that I realized how lonely and overwhelming the past few months had been. There were only a few people I spoke with about this,” she wrote, adding that she “didn’t know how people would react, and I feared I would look weak.”
However, as Garcia slowly got in contact with more and more women who had gone through the same procedure, she came to realize she had “entered an incredible community of strong women” who were there to help support her and prepare her for what was to come.
“For the first time in years, a dark cloud lifted, and I felt a sense of relief and clarity about my choice,” Garcia added.
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Although Garcia says she’s “still scared” about the surgery, she is “deeply grateful” for the support of her husband, sons, doctors and “the sisterhood of women who have been so open and supportive.”
“In all this, I have learned that you have to pass it forward, be there for people, be open about your life. I ultimately decided to write this in hopes that my story might serve as comfort to at least one woman out there who is going through something similar,” she added. “For that woman, I want you to know that you are not alone. And while I may be having a hard time feeling brave at this very minute, I know that my sisters will be waiting for me on the other side, ready to put me back together again.”