After my sister tested positive for BRCA 1, I went for a test too. Breast cancer runs in our family. Our mother, her mother and my sister were all diagnosed. So, I wasn’t surprised when I also tested positive. I started developing a plan to monitor my health. During a routine mammogram, a suspicious spot was discovered in my left breast and, upon further testing, the spot was diagnosed as cancer. Living near Atlanta at that time, I met with Dr. Grant Carlson, a leading expert in breast reconstructions and skin sparing mastectomy for patients with breast cancer at Emory.
While my cancer was small, I opted for a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with implants. Someone recommended FORCE to me to help with my decision. FORCE provided me with many support resources including the Post Mastectomy Gallery to see before and after pictures of breast reconstruction that helped me prepare for my surgery.
After my recovery I decided to volunteer and support other people who were going through the same difficult experience. As a Peer Navigator I have been able to talk to women whose journey are similar to mine. I try to help answer questions they may have and I also share my story.
I have recently taken lessons in American Sign Language and have offered to help organize virtual support meetings that FORCE with be offering to people who are D/deaf and hard of hearing. This is a wonderful and rewarding opportunity to provide support as a volunteer.