Voices of FORCE

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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Tara O., New York, New York

Quick Info About Me


Age: 45

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

Favorite TV / Movies:
Law and Order. Just because it is so cut and dry, so fair, but sometimes there is no justice. (Like our situations.) I like the Irony and the clarity and the resolution, even if it isn’t just.

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My journey

Found out about BRCA2+ status on July 18, 2004. Tested because Maternal Grandmother died at 39 of Breast cancer in 1941, Mother had breast cancer TWICE BRCA2 positive, Aunt had breast cancer once BRCA2 negative. I have not had cancer. Had a prophylactic mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction on November 2, 2004. Love it!!! Completed BSO/LAVH on December 19, 2008. I have no regrets

The hardest part of my journey

I guess anger associated with the choices I am forced to make. Fear is a great motivator but it doesn't make this pill easier to swallow. Also, seeing myself on the other side of this. Being finished. Coping with loss of body parts yet being grateful to not have cancer. It is a fine line to walk.

If I could do it over again

Nothing different, even though I have some pain from the surgery. (Lucky me to have ACNES, but I would still do this again, exactly the same way with the same surgical team. Only this time, I wouldn't be so scared of the outcome. I love my new breasts, just wish I could feel them... lol

My participation with FORCE

All of these AMAZING women doing the best thing for their lives, family and future. Courageous, Brave and Beautiful. It helps me to feel and know that I am not alone in this overwhelming journey.

Other thoughts

I am a professional musician. I play the flute in major concert halls and festivals all over the world. The thing I am most proud of through this all, was 6 weeks to the day of my 14 hour DIEP flap surgery, I walked on stage at New York's Alice Tully Hall and played TWO concertos BACK to BACK with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. It was the hardest thing, but the most rewarding. My surgeons came and could NOT believe that I was able to do this. It was a total victory. Doing this concert proved to me that I was not defined by what happened to me.

I have an incredible husband who supports my every decision and has been with me every step of the way. Daily, I tell him, he makes this life worth living. He is wonderful and I adore and respect him. And I thankful EVERY DAY, that I get to share my life with him. Seriously. My husband says “this was a profound and moving experience that only served to bring us closer.”

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered