Educating Patients

A big part of why I started this blog was to encourage health care providers to educate high-risk patients about hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. As a nursing student, I see firsthand what an impact heath care providers can make with educating their patients. I got really lucky that the OBGYN I randomly found in undergrad (I used the very good research technique of, “what OBGYN is closest to campus and covered by my insurance) happened to be a BRCA specialist. In the huge clipboard of forms I filled out at the start of the appointment, there was a questionnaire about family history of breast and ovarian cancers. Little did I know as I checked off yes boxes on the form (are you of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, do you have a close relative who was diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer), that my OBGYN would recommend I get the BRCA test.

I want to give a big shoutout to CDC Cancer for starting the #KNOWBRCA campaign, which aims to educate the public about the gene. I also can never express my gratitude enough to Dr. Lofquist, for having that BRCA questionnaire in her packet and for encouraging a girl in her early 20s to get the genetic test that could ultimately save her life.


Getting Something off my Chest (No Pun Intended)

I have something to get off my chest (no pun intended). I am having a prophylactic (preventative) mastectomy at the end of this summer due to my high hereditary risk of breast cancer.  I am BRCA2 positive, aka the Angelina Jolie gene.  What this means is that I have a ridiculously high risk of getting breast cancer, so I’m having my breasts surgically removed to make sure I don’t get effing cancer. But then, I’ll be getting fake breasts, since my real ones may be trying to kill me.

But there is a lot more to me than my ticking time bomb breasts.  I am a graduate nursing student at UCLA, which is a huge benefit since my friends will actually want to help me clean my drainage tubes (yes, in this blog I’ll talk about some stuff that may sound gross – but I’m just being real, dude). I am a health education and advocacy nut, so I’ll be sharing lots of research, innovations, and prevention/screening resources with this online community. I’m also married to an incredible guy who is fully supportive of my decision and realistic enough to discourage me from getting Nikki Bella sized implants (yes, I am a Total Divas fan).

I’m a pop culture fanatic and movie buff. In my pre-nursing life, I was an editor for Rotten Tomatoes and got to do lots of awesome interviews.  I also love bad movies. One time, I even got to interview The Room‘s Tommy Wisseau under a pseudonym. I’m hoping to use my interviewing skillz on this site and talk to women who have funky genes.

Most importantly, if I can help one person through making my story public, I will feel really great about spilling my guts. So, thanks for sharing this journey with me – I’ll be sharing the good, bad, and ugly. Click here to learn more about me and my story.