about jackie

So, you want to know my story, huh?

How it began...

I was born the eleventh child in an Irish Catholic Boston-area family and tend to live every day like I'm still fighting for the last cookie. When I was three, my mother was taken much too soon after a short bout with breast cancer -- an event that has not only defined who I am but shaped how I saw my own family from an early age. I was given a second chance when my father remarried and my ten siblings and I were legally adopted, eventually joined by two more siblings to complete our tiny family of 15.

Weeks before my 24th birthday, I drove cross country with $700 in my pocket and all of my belongings crammed into a compact car, looking to break into the television industry. After years of late nights -- filled with both work and play -- I discovered the ultimate surprise, I was in love with my best friend. We married, had two boys back-to-back and balanced life as a two-income family. But shortly after I gave birth to our second son, I discovered I carried the same genetic mutation as my mother, which gave me an 87% lifetime chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer (50% for ovarian). Not one to do anything half-way, a lump was found soon after.

Declining a surgical biopsy, I knew what had to be done in order to ensure my boys would grow up with me and not also suffer the devastating loss of their mother. With the unwavering support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy. (Note: the lump was not cancerous but pre-cancer was found in my other breast, which doctors said meant 1-5 years away from a breast cancer diagnosis.)

A year later, my husband and I made the decision to follow our hearts and adopt from Taiwan. After a exhausting and emotional journey, our daughter arrived home forever in September, 2008. You can read about our adoption journey here.

While you'll definitely get a glimpse into the life of our family, The Silver Whining isn't about my kids, even though our daily experiences with childhood asthma, adoption and autism can't help but sneak in there. It's my personal vehicle to express thoughts, rants and things I can't just shut up about. (You know, the stuff my husband and friends are tired of hearing about daily.)

Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment and let me know you're here -- your feedback and opinions (whether they're right or not) are always welcome!

Am  I Dying? The Untold Story
Am I Dying? Part 2
Part 3: Was It Cancer?