Voices of FORCE

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Kim, Marysville, Michigan

Quick Info About Me

  Voices of Force

Age: 45

I'm 45, and married with two kids, Sam, 19 and Sarah, 17. I am BRCA1 and BRCA2 positive.

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

Other favorites?
Superhero: I am the Knitting Avenger. I can work knots out with my hands. Knitting has got me through my journey. My knitting friends keep me laughing when I really feel like crying.

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My journey

Found out about BRCA1+, BRCA2+ status more than 2 years ago. I was tested because I had breast cancer at 39; then 15 months later ovarian. I have had breast and ovarian cancer. Pancreatic cancer also runs in my family. I have managed my risk with increased surveillance, an OOPH/ hysterectomy and a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction - expanders, replaced by silicone implants. Also surgi-mend was used repair adhesions and scar tissue that had to be removed.

In January 2009, a reoccurrence of the ovarian cancer was found. A tumor formed in a lymph node and it wrapped itself around my large colon. Seven inches of my colon along with the tumor was removed. I chose not to take chemo against my doctor’s recommendations. I wanted to be monitored with CT scans and blood tests for tumor markers. In May, another mass was found in the adenexal space of my right ovary. So chemo is back in my life. I am a cancer warrior, not just a survivor.

The hardest part of my journey

Getting to the ages when my mother and brother died. Mike at 29 - passed that mile marker and Mom at 48 - waiting for that one to pass.

If I could do it over again

To not feel that I have to be strong all the time, and trying not to be scared. The world sees me as a strong, positive person. Little do they know that inside I am a quivering little girl who misses her Mother.

My participation with FORCE

Knowing that there are other people like me. Well, kinda. I am BRCA1 and BRCA2 positive -- receiving one mutation from each parent. As my genetic counselor says, "you're just specialer."

Other thoughts

Wife, mother, teacher, KNITTER, then...cancer survivor.

Is there anyone else out there like me -- with two mutations? And almost five years after the first diagnosis, why am I still scared?

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered