Saturday, October 29, 2011

FORCE Fridays: Community Artwork

FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered): FORCE Community Artwork:

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Never it be said that this cancer and previvor journey lessens anyone's desire to express themselves. Some through writing. Others through their art.

FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered has its share of very talented people! On this page I have bookmarked on the link above, the artists shine.

I also have a poem on there and my friend Carol is pictured with me on the left. The poem was featured in the FORCE 10th Anniversary book. I have to say, I was honored and very proud!

Please enjoy viewing all of the wonderful presentations. Items of artwork have been incorporated into various gift and stationery that are available for purchase in the FORCE Partner Shops,

Love and hugs,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween 2011

Mike looks hungry!

Our Annual Game Night Group Halloween Party, 2011

We were missing some of the gang...maybe they were waylayed by a zombie or ghoul!
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Friday, October 21, 2011

FRIDAYS FOR FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered): About Us

FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered): About Us:

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Just browsing through the FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered Website and was reminded of a very important segment that is offered, The Patient Experience Tool.

Ask yourself, how many times do you ask about a good book to read or which restaurant to try? Always asking for referrals from family and for important and inconsequential matters? Of course you do! So what would make choosing a Breast or Plastic Surgeon, hospital or genetics counselor any different?

This service is provided for and by volunteers and members of FORCE. Their personal opinions are there for anyone to take with them in helping to make an informed decision about their next step in dealing with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancers. I myself have also provided information and very glad to share through my blog as well:

Fox Chase Cancer Center and Margaret Dyson/FRAP (Family Risk Assessment Program) is where I went for my BRCA testing (tested positive for BRCA2 in 1996) with Dr. Mary Daly.
( for more info)

Abington Memorial Hospital (AMH) is my choice for surgery, especially since my doctors are on staff there. (

Dr. Christopher Pezzi, also at AMH, Oncologic Surgeon, also a friend of mine. When he suggested surgery, I listened up since I knew he really had my best interest at heart. Moreover, he is a brilliant surgeon and has a wonderful reputation. (

Dr. Brian Buinewicz, Chief of Plastic Surgery at AMH. I cannot say enough about Dr. B! I had a rough journey with lots of setbacks and he and his staff were supportive and professional. (

Betty Cummings, RN: She is the light of AMH in connection with Breast Cancer Support. She appeared at my hospital room door one morning and reached out to me with advice and help. Her information can be found on this url: Also on this page are links to "Look Good Feel Better" program by American Cancer Society, Gilda's Club at AMH and plenty of other information.

Remember, all these recommendations are totally subjective. Please! Remember this caveat for me and especially FORCE:

This website and the Registry service are for individual educational use only. Nothing on this site is or should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or other information that could only be obtained by a face to face interview with a health care service provider. Any listing of a health care service provider’s information and/or views expressed in connection with submission of such information is solely the view of the Submitter and does not reflect the position of FORCE nor is anything on this website to be deemed an endorsement of any such doctor or health care service provider by FORCE. Use of any such doctor or health care service provider is engaged in by you at your own risk.
Love and hugs,


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Five Movie - Official Site -

Five Movie - Official Site -

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I am watching the movie, "Five". I am on the third segment as I write this. As usual, I am crying. But I wonder if I am crying over the characters on the small screen. Am I crying over the loss of my father who passed away from breast cancer in 1989? Am I crying over the battles fought and won and lost by my friends? Some are more than likely happy tears for those that have survived chemo, radiation, surgeries and pain but are still here to tell their own tales.

There are times that I wonder if breast cancer is just lurking under the surface. I am at the same age my father was battling his breast cancer. So are the surgeries and chemo-prevention enough to chase away that genetic and hereditary predisposition? I am so full of doubts. I find myself volunteering for anything I can do with FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. This is in some way, a reaction to my fears. FORCE helped me through the worst of the times when I had my mastectomies. So giving back is what I need to do.

I also find myself very short-tempered. I erupt, mildly at times and others when lava seems to flow venomously out of my head out loud and also on paper. I have this dread lurking. I should be celebrating the fact I am here and alive and have a beautiful family. And one of my friends from FORCE, Caryn, told me once I am feeling survivor guilt. It is beginning to really invade my thoughts on a regular basis.

Survivors have this feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for breast cancer to rear its ugly head as a metastasis in another part of their body. And it is deemed OK. But is it OK for someone who "dodged the bullet" to wonder if it really is not going to happen? It has struck in a straight line from my paternal great-grandmother, grandmother and then my father. Every one of my family members who opted to be tested for the BRCA gene mutation, has tested positive. It seems to run very strong in our family, even one of my dad's cousins died from ovarian cancer. Our chances are higher than the average person's of developing cancer. The average woman's chance of developing breast cancer is one in 8. As my son just asked me, "Does that mean if you lined up 64 women, 8 of them would have cancer?" More than likely yes.

Because I carry the BRCA2 genetic mutation, my son has a 50% chance he will carry it too. He is now 18 and can make the choice himself to test or not. He has indicated that he wants to. But before he does, I will make sure he has genetic counseling at Fox Chase Cancer Center which is where we were all tested at the Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program (FRAP). I am the only female in my generation and my niece is the only one in hers. She is way too young to be tested yet. I feel guilt over this as well, that I may have passed the gene on to my son and perhaps my brother on to his children.

As I ramble on, I am reminded of the last line of the tile on the wall in the last segment, "Hope for the future." This needs to slowly replace my doubts and concerns. I will never stop helping to Spread the Word and Save a Life through FORCE. Men and women both need to be aware of their family history. Get genetic counseling to see whether or not there is a need for testing and if there is, listen to what they have to say. Better yet, take your significant other or friend to help absorb what you hear. Because like in the "Lily" segment of the movie, sometimes you don't hear the doctor and you need that support to help you! And remember FORCE is here too,!

Thank you to the directors and producers who made this movie with taste and warmth!

The wall as shown in the last segment, "Pearl".

Love and hugs,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Instead of Buying PINK This Month...Consider This!

I know that there are many companies that have PINK merchandise and with the proceeds, there are Breast Cancer avenues that are funded.  I am up to my eyeballs in Pink! There is a veritable sea of PINK stuff out there starting in August, revs up in September and goes full tilt in October. Although it is agreed to be a "girly" color, I think over the years, I have had enough. And to top that off, my own father passed away after a valiant battle with Breast Cancer and I know he would rather have had another color to designate the disease.Yes, men get breast cancer but this fodder for another blog post!

Wonder how many of the other survivors feel the same way. Fortunately, FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered supports both Ovarian and Breast Cancer so we have the offset with teal and pink. Thank goodness! 

But imagine what good the monies used to buy the pink duck slippers, or pink mouse, or pink alarm pad and many other accessories and clothing, was to be donated instead of lining the purses of the big corporations. 

FORCE has broken down where the funds go within the organization. I myself have benefited from a scholarship to the Annual JoiningFORCE's Conference twice. Please review the list and head to the link above as well as below the list, to send what your heart moves you.

Through monies donated by corporations and individuals, the following can be done:

$1,000 delivers the latest in BRCA research and information to 500 families.

$500 gives 60,000 visitors access to our website for one month.

$300 provides a scholarship to our conference to one person that could not otherwise attend.

$200 provides life-saving information to 100 people through our newsletter.

$100 provides phone-based support and resources via our Helpline for one month.

$50 provides a package of informational brochures to doctors offices and hospitals.

Donations to FORCE are tax-deductible. 100% of the funds go to the organization to continue our mission. Many companies will also match donations made by their employees.

Please ask your employer if your company has a matching gifts policy. 


Once again, here is the link to the donation page:

I appreciate any and all you can do!

Love and hugs,


Get Involved with GoodSearch

Get Involved with GoodSearch:

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This is going to be the easiest thing we’ve ever asked you to do! To date, $149.89 has been raised! 
We just signed up with and now every time you shop online or search the Internet, a donation will be made to FORCE - Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (Tampa FL)
Here’s how: works with more than 2,500 stores (including Target, Apple, Petsmart etc..) and every time you purchase something, a percentage will be donated to us! And, even more exciting, GoodShop also offers over 100,000 of the most up-to-date coupons and free shipping offers so you can save money at the same time. It’s win win.
GoodSearch is a Yahoo powered search engine which makes a donation to us each time you do a search.
Join the rest of our community in using these sites to help us easily raise money for our mission. Get started by clicking the “Become a Supporter” button on our profile page here!

As always, for information, support and where to meet your local FORCE members go to!
The local Philadelphia, PA Outreach Fan Page on Facebook:

Visit and click "LIKE"! Also follow us via Twitter:

Thank you for helping raise much needed funds throughout the year!
Love and hugs,