My public journey into surgery was inspired by a courageous young woman I've never met. I read about her, like so many of us did, in the New York Times.
Deborah Lindner tested positive, like I have, for BRCA1, and decided to undergo a mastectomy to head off cancer before it had a chance to take hold. But in the process of ridding her body of breasts, she did so much more. By choosing to share her journey with strangers, she empowered countless women who are facing similar life and death choices. Including me.
On November 28th, I'm getting my ovaries removed and will also be undergoing a complete hysterectomy. My mom died of ovarian cancer and I will do anything - including elective surgery - not to go down that same, horrific path.
31-year-old actress Kris Carr also convinced me that announcing my upcoming operation to the world was a good idea. I've never met her either, but boy, would I love to. I'd like to thank her.
Kris is responsible for something I recently saw on TV. Actually, I didn't just see it, I was glued to it. I couldn't take my eyes off of it. The message was that important.
The show was on the Learning Channel and it was a documentary called, Crazy Sexy Cancer.
Crazy Sexy Cancer is about Kris' battle with a rare cancer that also happens to be incurable. She made the decision to use her creativity as an actress to serve a higher purpose. Kris chose - after that diagnosis -- to take her tragic situation and turn it into something else. Something better. Kris started filming her pursuit for experimental medicines and holistic, non-Western cures.
She not only turned her story into Crazy Sexy Cancer but she's also written a book, writes a blog and continues to inspire men and women living with cancer around the globe to live beyond their diseases, too.
My surgery is now 40 days away. It's coming. And every day I am at once scared and relieved. I am lucky to have the chance to control what seems so out of my control. But I'm also terrified of what surgical menopause will mean to my body and mood. I'm scared that I'll be a different mom to my children. But, I'm even more frightened not to have the operation. I'm afraid of not being around to be moody in the first place.
By talking about my surgery to anyone who will listen, and by writing about it in this blog, I feel emboldened. And, perhaps by sharing my journey I can help you, like Deborah and Kris have helped me. There's power in letting people know they're not alone.