Former Bachelor contestant Lesley Murphy, who appeared on Sean Lowe’s season, had to make a huge, life-altering decision that nobody wants to make. Murphy recently opted to have genetic testing done to determine her risks of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Lesley tested positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation. After discovering her increased risk, Lesley made the ultimate decision to undergo a double preventive mastectomy. Murphy has been documenting her journey on social media in hopes of raising more awareness for breast cancer and genetic testing.
As shared by People, Lesley opted to have the genetic testing completed after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer just three years earlier. Lesley and her two sisters all had the genetic test done and only one of the results came back negative. When Murphy learned in February she had a positive result, she wanted to meet with physicians and discuss her options as soon as possible. Luckily, an appointment opened up for the following week. Her older sister, who also tested positive, will have the mastectomy when she is finished having children.
The sun has set, and my final night with all body parts is here and now????In less than 24 hours I will wake up different. What a strange feeling it is to miss your boobs, but I know this prophylactic double mastectomy is for the best. I have lots of life to live and potential cancerous cells aren't welcome here????????✌????Thanks to all my family, friends and followers for wearing pink today and loving me the way you do! Thanks especially for drawing attention to genetic testing and raising awareness that saves lives. Y'all are my heroes. If you are new here, I recently tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene mutation which greatly increases my risk of developing breast cancer. My mom was diagnosed almost three years ago to the day and came out a badass survivor! It's because of her diagnosis that I underwent genetic testing and can now do something about it. Knowledge is power. #LesleysBreasties #LesnipsBRCAinthebud #FightLikeAGirl
After visiting with her gynecologist, who was also a family friend, Lesley made the decision to do the double mastectomy. Lesley says there was zero hesitation in her decision. Murphy knew having the gene greatly increased her odds of breast cancer and she knew it was a “Ticking time bomb.” Lesley, who is a travel blogger, had a jam packed March so the surgery was scheduled for April 11.
Lesley has been sharing updates on Instagram from before her big surgery to now. On April 9, Murphy’s friends and family threw her a party in support of her mastectomy she would endure just two days later. The Instagram photo posted shows Lesley in pink with a breast cake and one of her many supporters.
“Lots of pink today as we say Ta-Ta to the TATAS!????????
Cake✔️Pin the boobs on the babe✔️Pick your cup size drinks✔️The best support team ever✔️Ready as I’ll ever be for Tuesday’s surgery!????If you didn’t see my Insta live today, I’ll be doing more either on surgery day or shortly after! #thanksforthemammories.”
The night before her surgery Lesley posted another update for supporters on Instagram. The photo showed her in pink looking out over the water.
“The sun has set, and my final night with all body parts is here and now????In less than 24 hours I will wake up different. What a strange feeling it is to miss your boobs, but I know this prophylactic double mastectomy is for the best. I have lots of life to live and potential cancerous cells aren’t welcome here????????✌????.”
Lesley went on to thank everyone and give a little background information about her decision and her mom’s breast cancer diagnosis.
Day 1 post op. Oouuuchh. My mom took this photo when I first arrived to my hospital room after surgery. It was hard to breathe. My chest was super tight and still is. There are so many tubes hooked up to me and lots of beeping noises. My boobs are gone. Crazy, right? Gone. It's hard to wrap my head around. My doctors and nurses come by all the time to check on my vitals and give me pills to ease the pain. I really love the people here. Everyone is SO nice at @uamshealth. The staff and level of care is topnotch. There is a chance I could go home tonight, but truth be told, I'm not so sure I want to! The grilled cheese and coconut chocolate cake make me happy. Moving hurts. I tried getting out of bed for the first time about an hour ago. I don't want to do it again but know I have to. I finally caught a glimpse of my bare chest during a FaceTime call a couple of minutes ago. Whoa. It looks like I was in a bear fight and lost. Badly. The human body is truly amazing, though, and I will heal soon enough. I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from friends, family, followers and complete strangers. So so overwhelmed. You guys know how to make a bruised and weak woman feel on top of the world. Thank you from the bottom of my heart????Your prayers, well wishes and good vibes are working???????? #LesNipBRCAintheBud #LesleysBreasties #FightLikeAGirl #BreastCancerAwareness
Lesley’s surgery was a success and now comes the healing. On April 12, Lesley posted another Instagram update. The photo she shared was one her mother took just after surgery. Murphy detailed how she was feeling in the post. Lesley talked about the pain and the realization that her breasts were gone.
The days following were rough and Lesley shared that it wasn’t easy. While the scars are fairly large, Murphy says she is happy there is no horizontal scar, just one that goes from the base of her breast up to her nipple. On Easter, Lesley shared another photo on Instagram and in this one, her hair is hanging over where her breasts once were. Fans can partially see the four drain tubes that were placed during surgery. In part of her caption Lesley says the following.
“I feel lucky because my surgeons only made one vertical incision on the lower half of both breasts while saving skin & nipple. So while all breast tissue is (hopefully) gone, I retained some of the old me! Happy Sunday. God is good.”
My Sunday best, or what I could manage to put on today with limited arm movements.????????♀️My mom washed and dried my hair today. She dresses me in the mornings. She also measures my drains twice daily which are the tubes you see coming out of my lovely red apron I never take off. She's the freaking best. She slept in my hospital room and bed at home for the first few nights, helping me in and out of bed and giving me meds at horrid hours to control the pain. I have to sleep on my back in the exact same position every night. Sometimes when I make the wrong movements it feels like my chest is detaching from my body, but all in all, I think my upper half is healing nicely! Sure, it's sunken in and lumpy because what you see are deflated expanders that were put in which will gradually get filled every 2-3 weeks as I get ready for reconstructive surgery. Hopefully by then the permanent marker will be off my body????I feel lucky because my surgeons only made one vertical incision on the lower half of both breasts while saving skin & nipple. So while all breast tissue is (hopefully) gone, I retained some of the old me! Happy Sunday. God is good.???????????? #LesleysBreasties #LesNipsBRCAintheBud #BreastCancerAwareness #FightLikeAGirl
Two days later Lesley had two of her drain tubes removed, and in another week, the final two will come out. Lesley still has a lot of healing to do, but she is well on her way. Murphy reveals that she will have reconstructive surgery done and expanders were already placed at surgery to help prepare her body for future implants. While Lesley does not have an actual date set for her next surgery, she thinks it will be sometime late summer. In the meantime, Murphy is looking forward to getting back to traveling, which she can safely resume in May.
1 week post op: Today was a good day. I put on make-up and pants for my doc appt. Make-up and pants! And shoes! I actually left the house for the first time since surgery. I didn't even have to wear the dreaded pink cape for very long today either????They are always used on patient's so doctors can have easy access to check their handiwork. This one really wasn't so bad. It's very 2017 Hospital Spring Collection, if you will????????Maybe just fringe the sleeves and boom. Coachella Weekend no. 2 outfit is done. Anywho, I was so excited to wake up today because I was getting 2 out of the 4 drains removed! I wish everyone could know what that before-and-after felt like. Beforehand, 4 drains made my chest feel so tight. It hurt like hell to laugh and to cry. To cough and to sneeze. All of these common occurrences reminded ever fiber in my body of the recent trauma it just experienced. Now with 2 drains out, so much weigh feels lifted from my chest. I can breathe a bit deeper and sit up faster. I can't wait until next week when the final two come out, even though it truly felt like snakes were slithering through my body as the doctor pulled at them this morning.????BLAH. Gives me chills just thinking about it. Check my Insta story for more explanation. As always, I love you guys. I read every heart felt comment and truly feel the love of this incredible support system. I'm amazed by all the stories told in comments, emails and DMs. Young, old, sad, happy, preventative, or a fight of a lifetime. Each one is inspiring, so thanks for telling your story and being so open and vulnerable here with me????Together we are creating so much awareness for early detection, screenings, gene mutations and how to work with the options we have. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In her candid interview with People, Lesley also shared that she has been contacted by a few fellow Bachelor alumni. Murphy reveals that Catherine Lowe sent her pink pillows that came in handy to prop her arms on since she has to sleep in the same position every night since the surgery. Lesley says she has also been contacted by Daniella McBride and Robyn Howard.
Lesley has tons of support and has been inspired by the numerous stories that have emerged of women and their fight with breast cancer. Murphy hopes her experience will raise awareness of the options and testing that are available to women in the fight against breast cancer.
Stay tuned for further updates as Lesley continues on her journey.
[Featured Image by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Longines]