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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Theresa Larson, Stockton, California

Quick Info About Me

 

Age: 56

6-year breast cancer survivor, BRCA1+ May 1010, Fallopian Tube CA October 2010

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

Favorite book / authors:
Diana Gabaldon

Favorite TV / Movies:
Anything with CSI in the title!

Favorite Quote:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but the things that take your breath away

Favorite Song:
I Will Survive

Favorite Superhero:
All my fellow survivors!

Other favorites?
My husband, my four children, my six grandchildren! Cleavage Creek Cellars wine. Kayaking and traveling. A margarita on a hot summer day.

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My journey

I was devastated with my diagnosis of Her2neu +, ER/PR negative, Stage II, grade 3 breast cancer in May 2004. The dose dense treatment I received was particularly difficult. I also received radiation treatment and Herceptin for 52 weeks. The end of treatment was a victory in many ways. I wrote an award-winning series for our newspaper about fighting breast cancer called "My Fight For Life", became a speaker on the subject, and have given away nearly 10,000 reprinted copies of my series to women all over the US. I went on with my life, determined not to look back.

Then in March 2010, my sister was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer and she tested BRCA1+. Although I had tested negative in 2004, I was re-tested using the BART test and found I had the same mutation as my sister.

Since September 2010, I've undergone a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and laprascopically assisted vaginal hysterectomy in an attempt to avoid getting the disease again. Wouldn't you know? The pathology from the hysterectomy showed cancer in my fallopian tubes.

The hardest part of my journey

Watching my sister endure the treatments for ovarian cancer, seeing her fear, and knowing the odds has been terribly difficult for me and the rest of our family. She is doing so well, and today, after treatment, she is cancer free.

I am most likely going to need more chemo now that I have been diagnosed with fallopian tube cancer and my stomach rolls at the thought. But I've gotten through it once, I'll get through it again.

If I could do it over again

I would do nothing differently, I feel as though I've made good decisions all these years - with a lot of help and research. I do wish I had paid closer attention to the availability of the BART test. My sister and I could have known earlier we were BRCA1+ and saved us some of the headaches we are experiencing now.

My participation with FORCE

I keep abreast (no pun intended) with news and information, especially the sharing of thoughts, questions and answers from other members. Support of any kind is so crucial. FORCE us great about getting the word out, educating and enlightening the public about this hereditary condition. I still find many doctors (mostly primary care docs) to be very naiive about this mutation and their lack of knowledge could have deadly consequences.

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.