That’s a Wrap

By on April 26, 2011 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 7 Comments
That’s a Wrap

I never thought I’d be able to say this, but I’m DONE!!  At 9:30am on Wednesday morning I finished what I started planning over a year ago, and now it’s all behind me.  There are no more decisions to make, no more surgeries to plan.  Now it’s time to let the incisions heal and watch the scars fade away. Read more …

Becoming Whole Again

By on March 16, 2011 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 8 Comments
Becoming Whole Again

Months before my mastectomy, I made a very big decision.  Actually, I made a LOT of decisions once I finally decided to have my surgery.  I had to choose doctors, a surgery date, how long to leave work, where to recover, how to document my story, and how to savor the time I had left with my natural breasts.  I’m usually the last one to order at a restaurant – taking every menu item into careful and deliberate consideration – so you can imagine how painstaking it was to make so many big, life-changing decisions within a matter of months!  But there was one decision in particular that would make a very significant difference for me – my reconstruction. Read more …

The Most Attractive Week of My Life

By on March 3, 2011 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 3 Comments
The Most Attractive Week of My Life

Time always moves very quickly.  Just a few days ago I was celebrating the new year, now spring is almost here.  On one hand, 2011 seems to be moving at lightning speed, as if Jeff Gordon is at the wheel and we’re all buckled in for the ride.  But so much has happened over these past seven weeks.  It seems like ages ago when I was baking holiday cookies by the dozen, clinging to any distraction I could before the big day.  Then, on January 11th, someone finally knocked me out, and I woke up with brand new breasts and a brand new lease on life.  This marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life, and the pages are already filling fast. Read more …

A Previvor at Last!

By on January 27, 2011 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 10 Comments
A Previvor at Last!

After months and months of preparation, I can hardly believe the surgery is done and I’m recovering!   I could never conceive of anything after January 11th.  That Tuesday stood out to me as the biggest, most insurmountable day of all time.  Even though the New Year just began, my calendar abruptly ended on January 11th.  It was going to be a very short year. Read more …

Here Goes Nothing

By on January 11, 2011 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 12 Comments
Here Goes Nothing

I can’t believe it’s here. It’s hard to believe I’ve been planning this day for nearly 10 months. I remember meeting with my friend Ali Weinberg for lunch on March 20th. I remember this day because it was one day before my 23rd birthday, the same Sunday when the Early Act passed.  Ali was my age and had a prophylactic mastectomy done a year before.  She regretted absolutely nothing and loved her new breasts.  After hearing her story and seeing her beautiful new breasts, I was brought to tears at the relief of knowing that a mastectomy was a viable option for a 23-year-old woman with a BRCA-1 mutation, that I didn’t have to wait until 35 to do away with the anxiety and cancer risk associated with this defective gene, and that other 23-year-olds had already paved the way for me.  If Ali could do it then so could I. Read more …

Getting Festive, Nervous and Downright Crazy

By on December 22, 2010 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 9 Comments
Getting Festive, Nervous and Downright Crazy

I don’t want to write, not while I’m feeling sad. Usually I share bits and pieces of my story when I’m excited about my decision, when I’m feeling particularly empowered and elated about lopping off my breasts to prevent cancer. I mean, who wouldn’t be, if it meant finally putting your anxiety and fear to rest?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic that in 21 days I’ll never have to worry about this disease again, at least not as much. During the first three hours of my mastectomy, my lifetime risk will go from around 90% to approximately 1-3%. That’s pretty cool! But right now I’m not feeling so peachy about the whole thing. Actually, I’m kinda scared. Read more …

Going Live!

By on October 24, 2010 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 2 Comments
Going Live!

It began three weeks ago when I got a phone call from Georgetown University Hospital. I can still hear the voicemail clear as day. There was so much excitement bursting in her voice, she couldn’t get the words out fast enough. “The TODAY Show wants the story!” said Marianne Worley, head of media and public relations at the hospital. “You’ll be on October 7th, call me immediately.” Read more …

Three Months Away and the Media Begins

By on October 3, 2010 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 35 Comments
Three Months Away and the Media Begins

My surgery is only three months away now. It’s beginning to really sink in, or is it? Do I truly understand what I’ve volunteered myself to do? I find myself clutching my chest more often, feeling for the breast tissue that will soon be sliced up and frozen in a tissue bank. I even had a dream the other night that the doctors found cancer and had to operate immediately, reconstruction had to wait. In my dream, I felt completely unprepared to go under the knife and cried my eyes out. The magnitude of my decision is definitely hitting me. Read more …

PREVIVE: The Movement

By on September 3, 2010 | Category: Claudia's Blog | No Comments
PREVIVE: The Movement

Storytelling has always been my passion.  Not just any storytelling, but stories that make a difference and compel people to action.  For a long time I thought journalism would be my calling.  But I never enjoyed writing in school, so I picked up my camera instead.  A picture says a thousand words, they say.  And I dreamed that I could capture the world and tell its stories in such a way that would evoke enough empathy and urgency to change our lives for the better.  I would fight injustice with my camera as my weapon. Read more …

My First Screenings

By on August 17, 2010 | Category: Claudia's Blog | 3 Comments
My First Screenings

Since the day I got my drivers license, I’ve always looked forward to my 25th birthday.  Sure, 18 was a pretty big deal because I could vote or, if I did wrong, be thrown into prison.  And 21 was a big feat, for obvious reasons.  But at 25 society would finally initiate me into the adult community.  On March 21, 2012, I could rent a car, which is the final rite of passage in this country.

Read more …

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