I discovered I was BRCA 1 positive when I was 31. At the time, I was newly engaged and should have been fully occupied with planning a wedding. Instead, I found myself terrified about my hereditary cancer risk and what this would mean for the future. I felt alone, angry and scared. I didn't have cancer, on the contrary, I was healthy and young... yet I was visiting one doctor after another to talk about surgeries and other medical interventions. They all came with risks. But of course, so did surveillance. I felt like my life was completely out of my control.
Then, my genetic counselor told me about FORCE. Almost overnight, my frightening and isolated journey turned into a story about friendship, discovery, and empowerment. Through connecting with others in similar situations, on the FORCE message boards and in person at the 1st annual FORCE conference, I was able to find my strength and take back some control. I became grateful for having options and saw the gift in being able to be proactive, knowing that many of my BRCA positive friends, including my mother, were not afforded the same ability to choose.
FORCE was there for me when I needed it most and 14 years later, continues to be there at different stages in this lifelong journey. It is for precisely this reason that I am most grateful to FORCE... compassion and understanding is always within reach. And it is also for this reason that I became an outreach leader volunteer so that high-risk New Mexicans have a place to go to see familiar faces and know that they are not alone.
When I look to the future now, I am comforted to know that medical science is advancing, and I find peace in knowing that the support of FORCE will carry my daughters through what may lie ahead in their own individual journeys. They will never feel alone, and that is worth more than words can say.