My maternal grandmother passed away in 1971 at the age of 49 from ovarian cancer. It wasn’t until my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 at the age of 64 that we learned of our family BRCA genetic mutation. My mother (BRCA2) and her sister (both BRCA1 and BRCA2), underwent bilateral mastectomies with reconstruction, both having already had complete hysterectomies and oophorectomies at the age of 40. In 2012, at the age of 37, I knew that I still wanted to try to have children, so I wasn’t ready to give up my ovaries just yet, however, I knew I wanted to be proactive and take control of my health where I could and I made the decision to have a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. After my son made his way into this world, I made the decision to have a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and hysterectomy with hormone replacement therapy.
A few months after my mastectomy I learned of FORCE as my aunt was starting the Portland, Oregon FORCE Support Group. I became aware of the opportunity to volunteer for the FORCE Helpline and later transitioned to become a Peer Navigator.
I am very grateful for the opportunities that FORCE has provided for me. I have connected with so many amazing men and women at conferences, group meetings, and through the Peer Navigation Program. This journey is special and unique and I am forever thankful for FORCE, as I have been able to share my experience and support others through their journey.