Voices of FORCE

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Jools (AKA Alice What's The Matter), Bedford, UK

Quick Info About Me


Age: 39

Diagnosed w/ stage II breast cancer April 2012, Lumpectomy May 2012, chemo June-Nov 2012, BRCA2 diagnosis Dec 2012, PBM February 2013. Future BSO?

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

Favorite book / authors:
Sheri S Tepper, Dean Koontz, Trudi Canavan...

Favorite TV / Movies:
Notting Hill

Favorite Quote:
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. ...The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl ~

Favorite Song:
Dancing Queen - Abba

Favorite Superhero:
Wonder Woman

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My journey

Diagnosed w/ stage II breast cancer April 2012.

Had a lumpectomy May 2012, a lovely neat job - shame I couldn't keep it...

Got through 8 cycles of FEC-T chemo from June-Nov 2012. It was hard going but I had the support of my family and friends, which made all the difference. I also had my blog, http://www.alicewhatsthematter.com to talk about some of the things I experienced.

Rather than start Radiotherapy I asked my oncologist to refer me to a private genetic counsellor and got a blood test done. It was at that point I got the confirmation I expected in Dec 2012 - hereditary risk of cancer due to a positive BRCA2 diagnosis.

With that knowledge that I am BRCA2 it made sense to have a Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy February 2013, and I had reconstruction at the same time, with Becker expanders (they are permanent).

Knowledge of the risks of ovarian cancer means I've been advised to have a Bilateral Oophrectomy - I need to go back and find out whether it will be a Bilateral Salpingo-Oophrectomy or hysterectomy (assume not) or whatever.

The hardest part of my journey

I never had children. We tried, and I lost one via an ectopic pregnancy because of my endometriosis. It put a lot of emotional strain on my marriage and I was apart from my husband whilst I went through my horrible year last year.

If I could do it over again

No. I don't look back, only forward.

My participation with FORCE

I think it's helping me to understand the potential side-effects of a surgical menopause.

Other thoughts

Thanks to everyone who I've already interacted with - everyone's very supportive.

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered