Q: Why are you going against doctor’s orders?
A: The doctors agree with me. They never disagreed, just made sure I knew that the surgery could be put off for a few years. My surgeons and team of doctors have met and discussed the procedure, they have also conducted a meeting with the ethics board, where everyone unanimously agreed that I am a) well informed of my options, b) mature enough to handle the surgery (mandatory genetic counseling), c) certain in my decision.
Q: Don’t you think this is a hasty decision?
A: I made this decision 2.5 years ago, when I found out my test results. I have been up nights researching, getting in contact with other women, and thinking about myself and what I want for my future.
Q: Why don’t you wait a few years?
A: My age is what seems to be the cause of the controversy here. But for me, that hardly matters. I’d have to have the surgery eventually, so what’s stopping me from doing it now? While I’m fully insured, have a wonderful support system, and have the ability to take recovery time off of work and school? Also, this surgery is just as much about my mental health preservation than it is physical health. I don’t expect anyone that has not walked in my shoes to understand that, but it’ll be nice to finally feel like I’m not waiting for my life to start.
Q: Aren’t you worried about men not liking you?
Q: Why did you decide to go public?
A: I want my story out there to let people know about the gene (many don’t), and have a face with the name (not just the knowledge of Angelina Jolie’s procedure). I want the women (and men) that have tested positive for this gene to know that it’s not the end of the world, just the beginning of a slightly different one.
Q: Are you getting reconstruction?
A: Yes, the surgery to put the implants in place is in August. My breasts are too big for the implants to be put in right away, the chest muscles need to be stretched, which is a process that takes a couple of months.
Q: Will you remove your ovaries as well?
A: Yes, but the diagnosis of ovarian cancer in my family is not until much later in life, so I plan on keeping them until I’ve finished having children. No later than 35, though.
Q: Are you going to adopt your kids?
A: I want to have both biological and adoptive children.
Q: But isn’t there a chance they could have this gene as well?
A: Yes. Life doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle, and this gene is not a death sentence. It’s hardly reason enough for me not to mother children.
Q: Did Angelina Jolie influence your decision?
A: No. I made my decision over a year before she went public.
Q: What does your family think?
A: They’re 500% supportive. I couldn’t ask for a better support system.
Q: How old were you when your mom died?
A: 9 years old.
Q: Are you nervous for the surgery?
A: No, I’m looking forward to it. I’m sure I’ll be nervous the day of, though.
Q: What are you in school for?
A: I’m a Special Education: CI major with a minor in Theatre Ed.
Q: You have a sister, what is she going to do?
A: She’s too young to test right now, but she will when she can.
Q: How old was your mom when she died?
A: 43 years old
Q: Don’t you want to breastfeed your children?
A: There’s a wonderful organization called Human Milk 4 Human Babies that I plan on using
Q: Who is the photographer you are working with, and what are the pictures for?
A: I’m working with the wonderful and generous Susan Campbell, based in Ann Arbor, MI. She’s doing a series of photos about my life, and will be there to capture all the important moments every step of the way, including surgery day. She’s also shooting the before pictures for Under The Red Dress campaign which is based in Australia. When the funding for the project finally picks up, the photographer from the campaign and I will work together for the “after” shots.
Thanks to everyone for reading, be in touch soon!
63 days to go!