There are so many stories on FORCE and so many members willing to share their experiences. We hope these profiles can help you connect with our community and get advice from people like you!
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While loosing my mother in 2008 in my arms was unquestionably unbearable. I pondered how many more generations in our family where going to continue to be inflicted with this disease. For persons like me it is not if, but when it will happen.
Watching such a beautiful piece of anatomy become such a powerful source of destruction; was undoubtfully the hardest consequences I would ever face, as a woman of many knowledgeable years.
My family tree branches out not only giving me a family history; but furthermore,the genetic roots that determine your destiny. Given that information was the same as being given a crystal ball full of knowledge of future possibilites that lie a head of you; health wise, and that can be over whelming. I had been give just that.
So my journey began after making a choice to sacrifice my two best friends to save my life. I made that choice with a truck load of advice and blessings. My loss was very personal with many tears of grief. Grieving is a loss that no one can define for you (not even an insurance company). How can a dollar value be put on a part of your body? I pondered the question of insurance while breast cancer continued to feed it's destruction on every generation of woman in my family. Unfortunately it took my mother from my arms to the heavens to take me on a journey to become more than a survivor, but a previvor.
While mother was ill we discussed this trail of destruction and it's role in our family lives. The losses were becoming unbearable. My mother confided saying " If I had known this was going to happen to me I would have told them to remove my breast before cancer and I would have beaten the odds." She told me of her desire to live here on earth with her family longer. She expressed her wishes for me to take charge and do what needed to be done for our family to put a stop to this horrible culprit once and for all.
Loosing my mother was a great loss to the world. She lossed her life despite surveillance. I was hurting in my right breast and nothing was detected on a mammogram either. With my mother in mind and her persistance: I pushed forward into the healthcare system and an MRI was ordered. That MRI detected to large tumors on the surface and is what led me to make the hardest choice in my life.
I had to decide what to do not only about me, but lay down choices in the future for my family that surrounds and follows me. That is when I pursued genetic counseling and researched my choices. My family history alone was enough to warrant a serious life altering decision. I had been told of a unidentifiable gene existing. I could choose surveillance, but after having my mother's life slip away through my arms this would not be a practical one for me.
I needed to make a choice that I could live with and that choice turned out to be at NorthShore University in Evanston,IL. I was given the choice of a Bilateral Nipple-Sparring Mastectomy and Bilateral Oopherectomy. That was a choice not given in Wisconsin, so for me my journey would be to travel three hours to Chicago for this wonderful procedure that would offer me a better outcome. That is exactly what I did. I was to be blessed with a procedure that would allow me to be desirable inside and out. As the time grew near I knew I would miss my life long friends; however, I was not stupid enough to miss the opportunity to celebrate my new life without my old calling cards. I would embrace the new girls and allow them to call out to the world. That is exactly what my story is saying to all the women out there faced with this choice in life.
What I think of my body image after a mastectomy has been thought of by many before me. This will be contemplated by those who take this journey after me. When you are faced with a major decision in life: take the time to make sure it is right for you. You are going to have to live with that decision the rest of your life. Not anyone else, so get it right.
How You are sculpted physically will unquestionably affect you emotionally. Take charge of your health and treatment; by not only screening, but through education and prevention.
I would not do anything different. I can truly say if I would have done my procedure anywhere else my outcome would be different. I would not of had the choices I had a NorthShore University in Evanston, IL.
I was operated on September 18, 2009. A Bilateral Prophylactic Nipple-Sparing Mastectomy with a Bilateral Oopherectomy was completed as a patient in the Gutowski Study. Contacting NorthShore was the best decision I have ever made. My surgery was performed at Evanston Hospital in Illinois. The staff has been very informative, compassionate, and professional in every way.
I was given information on contacting FORCE for support and more. That was a God send in helping make my choice to become a previvor. Dr. Karol Gutowski, Dr. Katherine Yoa, and Dr. Sangeeta Senapati guided me every step of the way with all the information I needed. Whenever I had a question they were always glad to answer with the utmost care.
Doctor Gutowski operates his profession with a passion for the patient to have the utmost positive psychological outcome possible. He is defined even more in his actions to take the utmost precautions to every detail of his operations on his patients. I can honestly say if I would have been operated on anywhere else my outcome would be different. I would not have had the choices or the treatments I received at NorthShore.
Yes, Facing our risk of cancer empowerment has given my guidance and the ability to speak about my journey with not only others, but the world. I know I am not alone. Woman need to know about there choices and FORCE gives them just that-a truck load of information. Exactly what is needed to put the brakes on this horrible devasting disease called breast cancer. We continue to unite with FORCE being a contributing factor...
I will not say this journey will always be easy. Climbing mountains to reach the Amazing Grace has always been a team effort.