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Voices of FORCE

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Sarah P, Dakota Dunes, SD

Quick Info About Me

  Voices of Force

Age: 40

Positive genetic testing for Rad51c, a more recent one on the OvaNext panel. Opted for TAH/BSO and double mastectomy, along with my sister and mom.

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

Favorite book / authors:
Ken Follett

Favorite TV / Movies:
Doctor Zhivago

Favorite Quote:
"So I've got that going for me" - Caddyshack

Favorite Song:
Bring it on Home - Little Big Town

Favorite Superhero:
Superman

Other favorites?
Sisters are the best, especially when you share something as intimate as similar genetics and you get to go through surgery together. My sister has been y rock through this since she did all her procedures first.

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My journey

My aunt had stage 3 ovarian cancer at the age of 50 and tested BRCA negative. When my mom was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer her testing showed a newer gene, Rad51c. My sisters and I got tested - 2 of us positive, one negative. Doctors weren't sure what to tell me because it is a newer one and they just don't have enough information yet. The genetic counselor looked arm mothers side of the family tree and 80% of the women had breast or ovarian cancer, several men with prostrate cancer and 2 melanoma diagnoses - she couldn't believe we were all BRCA negative. That was enough for me. I just turned 40, recently had my last child and always hated my very large breasts therefore surgery was an easy decision. I had a total hysterectomy with oophorectomy in November 2014 and January 2015 double mastectomies with 1st stage breast reconstruction. I'm so relieved and excited to be on this journey, and I get to share it with my sister and mother!

The hardest part of my journey

Waiting for surgery. On. Made the decision I just wanted to do it right then. Because of my own schedule, I had to wait to 3 months for my mastectomies. By the time it finally came I was so tired of talking about it, I just wanted to do it!

Right now, one week after surgery, the hardest part is my limited interaction with my one year old. She doesn't snuggle on my lap long and I can't lift her or carry her yet!

If I could do it over again

Not a thing - I would do everything again in a heartbeat. Otherwise I felt I was just waiting for a cancer diagnosis. I would rather go through this surgery and recovery now than surgery, chemo and radiation later.

My participation with FORCE

I'm just getting involved with FORCE. I hope it will be a good support network for women like me, especially the non-BRCA hereditary cancer families that feel like they are in limbo since they don't quite know their overall risk as these genes are being discovered.

Other thoughts

Be an advocate for yourself. My insurance initially denied the surgery for mastectomies string I needed other serious findings besides positive genetic testing. I fought it and the insurance company continued to put up roadblocks. I was fortunate to be able to switch from my husbands employer to my own for our insurance coverage and it went right through. What an extra stress though. I think I would still be fighting to have it covered if I wasn't able to switch insurance plans. I hope this doesn't become more difficult for women to get covered going forward with higher deductible plans and less coverage.

Connect with others.

Our Chat Room

Our chat room allows you to communicate in real-time with others who have faced similar challenges. Check our chat room schedule to find out which weekly chat is right for you. Or, visit our Message Boards.

Join a Local Group

FORCE has outreach groups throughout the United States and in Essex, United Kingdom that meet periodically to offer peer support, and share resources.

FORCE:Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered