Hobart-based Sarah and Tom Williams had only just said their vows when they faced a life-changing decision.
Just one week after pair promised to be with one another ‘in sickness and in health’, Sarah underwent the first of two surgeries to remove her breasts.
27-year old Sarah was tested and found to have the BRCA 2 gene mutation, which increases her likelihood of getting breast cancer by 65% (superstar Angelina Jolie underwent a similar procedure when she was found to have the BRCA 1 mutation in 2013).
Sarah’s mother battled breast cancer for ten years and even though Sarah continued having regular scans, the anxiety she felt knowing that she was more likely to get breast cancer played on her, so she started researching her option for breast removal.
Sarah met with a plastic surgeon and made the decision to have a double mastectomy; she then decided to use the planning of her upcoming Wedding as a distraction from the procedure.
Sarah told SMH, “We came back from our honeymoon and I only had the weekend to think about it.”
Sarah’s new husband, Tom was diagnosed with bone cancer in his mid-20s and underwent intense chemotherapy, as well as surgery to remove his shoulder blade, making him the ultimate supporter for Sarah during this time.
She said, “To go through that together made our relationship stronger, It’s the unwavering support. It’s knowing on the bad days of chemo, we had each other’s back.
Having the double mastectomy has reduced Sarah’s chance of getting breast cancer to just over 4% (the average woman’s chance of getting this type of cancer is just under 10%) and she remains positive, “Your body doesn’t look the same after surgery. It’s the same for him, he has a huge scar on his back – our relationship is cemented on something so much more than that. We’re both very lucky.”
Article was originally published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Photography by Jonathan Wherrett.