On June 23rd, I had surgery #3/4 for the BRCA mutation. I always thought being proactive and saying, “Goodbye” to the girls was the way to go. Surgery went well.

The “Team Boobies” picture was taken 10 years ago at The Relay for Life. As an Oncology Nurse, I have participated in Relay multiple times. My sister, Kim, participated as a breast cancer survivor. Her team consisted of her students from the middle school classes she taught. She was originally diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, an early age for a breast cancer diagnosis. When genetic testing became available, she tested positive for the BRCA mutation. My younger sister and I have tested positive as well. I had always planned on having a prophylactic mastectomy; life has got in the way so it was postponed until this year. What was supposed to be 2 surgeries has turned into 4 but that’s OK; I know I have made the best decision for me and my family. While BRCA is known as the breast cancer mutation, it actually puts the carrier at risk for several different cancers: ovarian and pancreatic, and in men, testicular and prostate.

Kim passed away a couple years ago from a BRCA positive pancreatic cancer. The second picture was taken approximately one month before she passed. We both have passed on the mutation to at least one of our children. I passed it on to my son and Kim passed it on to at least 1 of her 4 daughters (3 have chosen not to be tested yet).

I love the mission of BRCAStrong; both on a personal level because of how the mutation has changed my life, but also on a professional level as an oncology nurse. This is where I see patients who could benefit from the services that BRCAStrong provides.