“Growing up at home it was my father, Mike, my mother, Virginia, my older sister, Jamie and myself.”
We moved around NY a few times but as far back as I can remember we spent holidays either with my dad’s large family of 8 brothers, wives and cousins or my mom’s family of 5 children, their spouses and our cousins.
There was a lot of faith, laughter, playing, performing and most definitely plenty of food! Our family was close, big and very beautiful on all sides.
At the age of 19 I heard the words, “she has breast cancer” for the first time and many more after that. The day in 2006 that I heard these words they came out a little different…She said, “ I have breast cancer.”
My mom, Virginia was telling me these words as she had just recently been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma Stage 2. Heartbroken and in faith I walked through this with my mom. (Unfortunately my mom passed away in 2015).
In 2010 I made the hard choice to have a preventative double mastectomy becoming a previvor to lessen my chances of having breast cancer from a 90% chance to 10% chance.
This was a hard choice because you can talk about it with others, pray about it but nothing prepares you like actually walking through it personally. I struggled with the loss of my Aunt Katherine in 2012 and my grandmother shortly after, as well as body image and depression.
It almost ended my marriage and started me down a destructive path, but I chose to get help and move forward on making better choices and using my struggles to help others.