The Power of the FORCE

The FORCE is strong with this one – I’m sure it’s a pun many BRCA+ bloggers have made at some point if they’ve talked about the FORCE organization and they’ve seen Star Wars (who hasn’t?).  I just think it’s amazing how thorough, informative, and extensive this organization is, when really the BRCA community is quite small.  But the outcome of what this organization does in terms of educating BRCA carriers is huge – FORCE saves lives on a daily basis by informing women of their options so they can actually prevent cancer.  They also help by putting BRCA mutants in touch with other mutants.

This afternoon, I had coffee with my friend, Robin. When I moved back to Pittsburgh (after a 15 year hiatus), one of the first things I did was contact the outreach coordinators of the local FORCE chapter.  Robin wrote back to me almost immediately.  We met for lunch soon after and immediately hit it off.  Since then, we’ve met for coffee a couple of times, kept in touch via email, and I went to a FORCE meeting she organized at her home.  Robin started an email list with all of the women from the meeting, and we’ve been writing to each other through that list.  Several of the women have surgeries coming up in the next few months, and I hope we’ll be able to support them.

I always find it a relief to spend time with Robin because she gets it!  I can talk about being nipple-less, I can talk about incisions, I can talk about having a hysterectomy – she knows what I’m talking about because she’s gone through it too; she’s not just listening like my friends do (and thank god for them too) but secretly they’re a bit weirded out by the whole thing.  And Robin is way more informed about BRCA than I am (even after spending the last seven years reading about it), so she knows a lot!  While I do have cousins who have gone through this, they’re not local, so we don’t talk that frequently.  It’s just nice to have someone local to talk with.  I hope I’m able to give her a bit of the same.

The latest on my recovery: last night I started having this weird pain in the vertical incision on my right breast.  It is very tender smack in the middle of the incision (between the pseudo-areola and the crease underneath my breast) and it hurts to just touch it.  Pressing on it is obviously worse.  It’s not so bad if nothing touches it, but it’s definitely frustrating since my son spends a lot of time sitting on my lap and he often likes to head-boob me (this is like head-butting, but instead of butting heads, he is butting the back of his skull into my boob).  I won’t give up that lap time though!  I don’t see anything visible in the spot, and when I press on it I don’t feel anything solid or different than when I press on the incision on my left breast.  I’m trying to remember if I bumped into something or leaned against something at some point; basically it feels like I’ve been stabbed there, but I don’t remember ramming anything pointy into my boob recently.  Oh well.  Each day, it’s a little pain in a different place, but it’s all manageable.  I should count myself lucky for not having any major problems.  The left breast open incision area is almost closed – I think I might be able to get back in the pool again on Tuesday.


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