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Fighting hereditary breast and ovarian cancer
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Alice McCormack Osmers, Brick, NJ

     

 

Age: 42

I had preventative oophorectomy after learning of my BRCA 2 status.

I'm more than my risk… some fun facts about myself:

Favorite book / authors:
Augusten Burroughs/Running with Scissors

Favorite TV / Movies:
Modern Family

Favorite Quote:
We can do no great things, only small things with great love.

Favorite Song:
Landslide

Favorite Superhero:
Captain America

Other favorites?
Archipelago candles.

 

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My journey

I have always lead a blessed life. I come from a fun, kind family with a nice community. I always felt secure in myself. I married a great looking, hard-working, smart and fun man. I have two beautiful children and a beautiful home. About 5 years ago, I told my cousin that I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop because I honestly could not believe that someone could be as fortunate as me.
Then the shoe dropped.

The hardest part of my journey

The hardest part of my journey has been watching my mother become ill with pancreatic cancer, and then learning about my own risk. I spent years crying about losing my mom and worrying about not being here for my own children. Also, I worry that they will inherit my mutation.

If I could do it over again

When I learned about my genetic mutation, I should've entered weekly psychological counseling. I withdrew. I did not sleep. I picked fights with people. I had no patience for people. I didn't have enough energy to play with my kids like I used to. I tried antidepressants, I went to one therapy session, but I didn't have the money to pay $150.00 a week for therapy.

My participation with FORCE

When I was at my lowest points, I would log on to FORCE and learn about other people's journeys. It helped to know that other people know this language that I know. It seems like nobody in my world knew, except for my husband and one sister. I felt bad always dumping on them. On the FORCE website, I could see other people facing the same absurd challenges and questions as me.

Other people took action, I could too. It started to seem stupid the way I approached things, not sleeping and being short with everyone. Other people actually went to surgeons and worked on their problems. I began to learn what is involved with mastectomies, reconstruction and oophorectomies. I decided to remove my ovaries, but hold onto my breasts for awhile.

Other thoughts

I feel better now that I've had my ovaries removed. My mom's sister told me that she was proud of me for taking that step. I don't worry about getting ovarian cancer anymore. I used to have the thought flit through my head about 50 times a day. I can't say I sleep better, because hot flashes really mess up sleep. When I get a hot flash at work I silently tell myself, this is only going to last for one or two minutes.

 


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