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Julie Klein

Rachel Householder Family Photo It was September 30, 2011, and my genetic counselor walked into the exam room. "The good news is that your breast MRI is fine," she said. I knew right away as I replied, "But I have a BRCA mutation." She handed me paperwork which explained my positive test result for the BRCA1 deleterious genetic mutation. I asked her for a list of breast surgeons, plastic surgeons and gynecological oncologists. I was typical Julie - organized and methodical. I didn't cry. I felt no fear. I was now on a mission not to develop breast cancer (which my late mom and two late aunts survived) or ovarian cancer (which took my cousin's life). By January 17, 2012, I had undergone a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy and a bilateral double mastectomy with latissimus dorsi flaps. I chose not to have breast reconstruction.

Fast forward to April 2012. I am tired, but recovering well. While contemplating what I can do with my life to give it purpose, I remembered that my genetic counselor mentioned an organization called FORCE. I went on the website. Not only was I impressed with the wonderful information it offered, but I also felt a personal connection to what I was reading. When I read that FORCE was looking for volunteers, I immediately expressed an interest in being a helpline volunteer and began what has been the most personally rewarding experience of my life.

I have my BRCA journey to share with callers. I have information to answer many questions. I have humor to put people at ease. I have compassion so they know someone cares. I have empathy so they know they are not alone. I have FORCE and let callers know that they do, too.

I am a newlywed who, within the past year, began a second chapter in my life -- with a wonderful new husband and a purpose in my life called FORCE.


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