"We Are A FORCE"
Like every new venture, there’s some spark that starts things rolling. This project was no different. My spark came in the form of a request. This request really was more of a statement. To be exact it was "We need our own song!"
Initially, "we" refers to my sisters and brothers who share the same BReast CAncer genetic mutations referred to as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genetic mutations increase our risk of breast and ovarian cancer. There are many choices we have to make, and many options we can take to fight this risk of cancer, and everybody has an opinion... whether we like it or not.
Let me back up a minute. I already said these mutations are genetic. That means you have to find out about them through your family. I am adopted.
Whether you call it luck, fate, faith, karma, or any other word you can use for something unexplainable, I call it being blessed. Actually, I am doubly blessed.
I was adopted and raised by a wonderful family. They love me as their own as I love them. Having said this, I learned of my adoption when I was in college and I actually met my biological family. My family tree just keeps growing. It’s amazing.
So, why am I so blessed? Well, as I sat in my doctor’s office filling out forms she asked, "Is there any cancer in your family?" I couldn’t answer. I didn’t have my biological medical history. I just didn’t know. I was at a stage in my life where everything was improving exponentially and the thought of having to put my family through the fears and treatments that come along with "pre-cancerous" cells and other issues was devastating. Not knowing was horrendous.
My cousin, who was dealing with breast cancer and treatment options of her own, had the test to verify a genetic mutation for cancer. She had BRCA2. She sent me a note just to let me know it was "in the family" and gave me the information "just in case" I ever needed it. The day she sent the note was the day I came home from the doctor’s office. I was already scheduled to have surgery to remove a cyst. To be safe, the doctor had me tested and, as we found out, I too have the BRCA2 gene.
The risk of me getting breast cancer was 80+ percent. Due to this high percentage and the strong family history of breast cancer, decisions had to be made. There are a couple of other genetic mutations I already have that severely limited my options if or when cancer cells decide to invade.
My husband and my children are the world to me. Here’s where my selfishness steps in -- I want to be around for my children and my grandchildren. I want to be present. I want to do whatever it takes to reduce my risk. I want to have a full, active, happy and productive existence. And so, I took the steps that were right for me to achieve that existence.
When I made my choices, I didn’t know about FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) or the BRCA Sisterhood, both of which are tremendous on-line support groups. My cousin shared them with me and, of course, I promptly became a member. It was empowering to know that there are options and choices and it was and is inspiring meeting the women and men who are dealing with the same day-to-day issues I am. I am not alone and my cousin shared that with me. Really, she saved me. She gave me the knowledge I needed to make the choices I made. She is my Angel.
She said again "We need our own song - why don’t you write one?" How could I say no? Now I just needed to pull together something that would reflect what we go through and empower and inspire others to keep working for a solution.
In all honesty, when I put pen to paper (Yes, I still write everything out in a notebook), the song wrote itself. I presented it to Sue Friedman and Barbara Pfeiffer of FORCE (www.facingourrisk.org). They liked it. Now I had to make it work!
As you know, nothing is ever all done by one person, and that was absolutely true with this project.
My producer, Michael Ferenci (Los Angeles, CA), gave his time and talent in writing the music and arranging and producing the song. Robert Carruthers and Mathew Hogan of AAD Media in Australia mastered the music. David Dial took care of the artwork and website.
All of the people involved in this project have been touched by cancer in some way. From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all.
This song was written to empower and inspire anyone facing any risks in their lives.
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