Sunday, June 27, 2010

5th Annual FORCE Conference

Another year come and gone in the blink of an eye; I have spent the last few days in the land of Disney attending the 5th annual FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered Conference. I would also like to mention that the Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa did a tremendous job again accommodating us for our ever growing BRCA community. It still amazes me that just a few years ago, 2006 more specifically; the FORCE community had a little over 200-registered participants for the conference that year and was located at a hotel about half the size of where we now hold the conference. I am happy to report that this year's conference our number of registered participants still increased (Now over 500 registered conference participants including women and men from countries other than the United States) and about 80% of conference attendees were new faces. Even with the economic downturn, it pleases me that people are still motivated to take care of their health history and spend their precious time and money to come out to the conference to learn more about BRCA and how it may affect them or their families.
I love being able to come down here and meet new faces and network within this community because it continually keeps me empowered to do more for my community and advocate for those who cannot. I will admit this year was a little bit of a struggle considering I had surgery two days prior to the start of the conference; my legs are black and blue from the fat that my doctor grafted to my breasts and the muscle feels like it has been torn from my leg so I am in quite some pain. I made it though! Thursday night was the reception night where I met another previvor like myself who is in the pre-production stages of filming a documentary of previvor's and their stories of how being BRCA positive has affected them. She was a doll with a bubbly personality so I will look forward to working with her in the future sharing my story of my breast reconstruction process.
If you would like to see a listing of the workshops that were held at the 2010 Annual FORCE Conference Click Here
Overall I spent a little more down time this year catching up with old friends and speaking with some younger women who were new to the community… this was only because my body is still recovering from surgery. One common theme that I always seem to come across as I reflect though is finding the humor in it all. You really have to be a strong person to be able to walk with confidence in a room knowing that your breasts are made of "after market accessories" as my brother liked to refer reconstructed breasts as. Having such a radical surgery such as a mastectomy (with or without cancer diagnosis) to some may seem like we are crazy people but to us it is our life... our survival.
Until next time….

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