Thank you for visiting my fundraising page! I am planning to run the Gynecological Cancer Foundation (GCF) Half-Marathon to raise money for a wonderful organization that has been a source of strength during my breast cancer odyssey - FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. I appreciate your support and visit to this website.
As many of you know, my mother passed away from metastatic Breast Cancer on Sept. 28, 2000. Because of this, I spent years requesting genetic testing for breast cancer only to be told I wasn't eligible because I didn't have significant family history and not to worry because my mother was diagnosed post menopausal, when most women get breast cancer. Never mind my mother was an only child and it would be impossible to prove satisfactory history without another family case.
Fast forward to July 2007 when my sister IM's me that she has found a lump. Everything came flooding back. Luckily she had educated herself, knew what to do and moved quickly for a biopsy. Her biopsy showed cancer. She had a mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and more surgery and is doing well. Thankfully, she was advised to test for the BRCA mutation and discovered she is BRCA2+. I was then eligible to be tested and discovered I am also BRCA2+. This means that I have a 50-85% risk of breast cancer and a 20-40% chance of ovarian cancer. During my genetic counseling I also learned I am at risk for pancreatic cancer and melanoma.
My surveillance started with an MRi which showed several hotspots. NOTHING was seen on a mammogram and only one spot with ultrasound. After a biospy showed Atypical Hyperplasia I knew it was time for a Mastectomy. This was a very easy decision for me. I had the opportunity to greatly reduce my risk of breast cancer and I was going to take it. While I was hospitalized for an infection I received the results of the mastectomy. I had DCIS which stands for Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. This is cancer that is confined to the ducts. I was very lucky that it had not spread and I did not need chemo.
In order to reduce my chance of Ovarian Cancer, I also had a prophylactic oopherectomy. This is removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. I also had a total hysterectomy at the same time. The pathology for this surgery came back clear, which was a huge relief!
I did have a scare in May, the day before Paul was due to leave for an overseas trip. I felt a lump that was exactly like a hard pea. Even though I had a mastectomy, there is always some breast tissue left behind, and I am still at risk. Thankfully I had a stitch granulnoma, which is when tissue surrounds a stitch that did not dissolve following my surgery.
When my sister found out she was BRCA2+ I did some searching online and found a group called FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). FORCE is a non-profit organization who's Mission is:
To improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
I thought I knew a lot about breast cancer but once I read the message boards on FORCE, I realized I knew very little. I am so thankful there is a website dedicated to this.
Please donate if you can, no amount is too small.
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.
Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!