For me, as I imagine it is for most writers, it is impossible to separate my own life experiences from the stories I write. That is not to sat that my novels are autobiographical as people often ask. They are not. But my stories do reflect what I’ve lived, how I think, how I see the world.

With that said, I must tell you that my 23-year-old daughter is in the operating room right now having a bilateral nipple-sparing prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction. Two years she was determined to have a BRCA 1 mutation – in others words – her lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is somewhere between 85 and 90 percent. Well, until today. When I see her next, her lifetime risk will have been reduced to less than 5 percent.

So this really is a day of celebration.

Claudia asked me to update her friends on FB while she is the operating room. I thought I would be too nervous to do that, and yet I have found it oddly comforting to write emails and updates, send texts, and even write a blog post.

I doubt I will write specifically about this experience. Then again, never say never. But I do know that the feelings I have experienced today – pride, fear, anxiety, compassion, tenderness, gratitude, peace – all of these will, at the right time, surface in my work.

For now though, my thoughts are with my baby girl, Claudia, who has been such an advocate for young women who carry the BRCA 1 or 2 mutation. She was born at this Georgetown University hospital 23 years ago this March, and she will leave this hospital in a day or two even more empowered, even more beautiful than ever before.

Love to you sweetie,


Posted January 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm · 5 comments · Leave a Comment


  1. Kelly O'Connor McNees, January 11th, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Susan, my thoughts are with you and your brave daughter.
  2. Tweets that mention THE O.R. WAITING ROOM | Susan Gregg Gilmore: Official Author Site --, January 11th, 2011, 1:09 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by susangilmore, susangilmore. susangilmore said: New blog post:: THE O.R. WAITING ROOM [...]
  3. Joanna, January 11th, 2011, 2:35 pm

    My thoughts are with you & Claudia. I hadn't visited her site until now & I missed the interview on NBC. Will be poring over her posts & the webisodes, not to mention finding video of her interview on "real" TV. Tearing up a bit at her immense courage today!
  4. Jenn's Bookshelves, January 11th, 2011, 2:38 pm

    Susan, My thoughts & prayers are with you and your daughter.
  5. bermudaonion (Kathy), January 11th, 2011, 4:30 pm

    I'm praying like crazy for Claudia and you. She is one brave young woman - I have a feeling she'll be blazing trails for years.

Leave a Comment

Susan Gregg Gilmore