Archive for November, 2010

The FORCE is with us!

This year I was blessed to be given a scholarship to attend FORCE’S annual conference in Orlando, Florida. I laugh now when I think back to arriving at LA airport. The questionaire card asked your purpose of visit, holiday, work, study, conference…well I was attending a conference so that’s what I put! I was pulled to the side and asked a barrage of questions, was I a medical student? what was I studying? and so on and so on.  Who would give scholarships to people who are not even studying? and what type of things would I possibly learn from this conference? (yes it was a man asking me these questions!) This on top of a VERY long flight, and being sick the ENTIRE way, was just enough for me to want to scream, but in a very calm manner, I simply said “I am here to meet other mutants just like me, I am attending a conference to learn about HBOC and how to deal with the fact that I have had all my insides ripped out and my boobs cut off, and hope to be able to educate others about it as well”! funny enough he didn’t want to hear about it and ushered me through!

When I arrived at the conference, tears are welling in my eyes now, I was greeted by the most sincere and wonderful women I have ever met, I was in a place where I wasn’t going to be judged, where everyone had the same goal, where I knew deep down that everything was going to be alright.  One women had made that possible, Sue Friedman.

When I left the conference, I left with a heavy heart, but I also left with new spark, a new sense of worth and I really felt empowered. I also felt that I needed to bring the love and compassion and support home with me. So when I became an outreach coordinator for FORCE New Zealand, something inside me changed. I remember how lost and lonely I felt when I was first diagnosed with BRCA and didn’t want anyone else to feel that way.

Yesterday was our first community support meeting, I tossed and turned Saturday night worrying that no one would show up or that I hadn’t planned it properly! by Sunday morning though, I was ready, even if only one person showed up then that is one person who isn’t going to feel alone in her journey. By the time the meeting started there were 7 of us, and it was as if we had been friends for years. The conversations started quickly and there were even a few tears. These were women who were starting the BRCA journey, deciding on which options better suited them and for a moment I just looked around the room in awe, it felt so good to be able to bring everyone together, to laugh and cry and most importantly to not feel alone.

After everyone had left I shed some tears, of happiness and of thankfulness to Sue for all the great work she does, for how much she changed my life and gave me a motivation.

I am Karin Aguirre, I am a previvor… I have had my ovaries and fallopian tubes out at age 30, I have had my healthy breasts removed and kind of reconstructed!  I am a mother of 3 and a wife of a man whom is my best friend and soul mate. I am also the outreach coordinator for FORCE New Zealand



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