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Sunday, June 30, 2013

My BRCA journey continues...

I think I'm back. I feel a deep desire in my life right now to connect with others and share my journey, knowledge and thoughts. I can not believe it has been over two years since I last wrote an entry in this blog. Especially since finding out I was BRCA positive has taken me on a path I never envisioned.
So where am I now and what do I want this blog to be?

Well the moment I woke up from my bilateral mastectomy I felt as if I had my life back. I can't really explain it. But the year leading up to my surgery was very difficult for me. I struggled with anxiety and depression and literally feared for my life. The thought of what would my kids do with out me occupied my mind. I felt like a ticking time bomb.

Although my surgical choice is not for everyone, it is what took the burden and weight off my shoulders. I woke up that day feeling ready to take on the world and get back to living life. My husband  and I moved our children closer to my family. Something I did not realize was actually quite important to me and something I needed back in my life.  I felt as if life is too short and we are not guaranteed tomorrow, so why are we trying to raise our kids and go through this uncertain life alone. The health of my parents and sister is not guaranteed either. I wanted to know my niece and her know me as her "favorite auntie". I wanted my kids to have what I did not, grandparents that they were part of their everyday.

Family was always important to me and friendships that were like family. I think my husband and I were longing for a connection, a community, and I am happy to say I think we have found that in the town we moved to. We are still not completely settled, it has been over two years too, so up and moving was a bit risky. But I see the light !

I also took on a new job. My passion has always been oncology nursing. I have been a nurse for 15 years and a nurse practitioner for almost 6 yrs. I have spent these years devoted to helping patients and families who have been through what I have and what I know. Growing up with a brother with cancer and having seen what the disease can do, I have always been drawn to this specialty.

When I found out my husband had gotten a new job and we could actually move closer to family I pretty much freaked. I had not even been looking for a job. I remember the fear and anxiety about changing my job and what would I do. And there it was. As if it had just fallen in my lap; Calling out my name. Breast Health nurse practitioner and Navigator.

So here I am now taking care of women who are just like me. I talk to women everyday and I feel as if I am talking to myself in a mirror. Women who have family history of breast cancer, BRCA positive, newly diagnosed with breast cancer and long term survivors.  This job has challenged me in so many ways, but has taught me and helped me more than any other support group or anyone ever could. I learn of so many women's amazing stories daily and I am inspired by there own bravery, challenges and journey.

I have not told, but one or two, patients in my practice that I am BRCA positive. It seems to be something I feel is a fine line. I have to know that me sharing such a personal thing with a patient will benefit them. I do not want my decisions to impact them either, I would want them only to know they are not alone. Each decision one makes with this is an individual one and not for everyone. But we are not alone in the world. In fact we are a small, but outspoken, strong, empowered community that has a story to tell and we are eager to learn more and change this course.

So here I am, almost three years later. Still wanting to spread my thoughts and share my journey. It is not alway easy. I still have fear, I still see doctors, I'm in physical therapy, I am insecure, and I still have big decisions to make. I think about what is to come in my future. How will my genes affect my kids and what will they be faced with.

So read on my friends!
Thanks for listening!

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