There are some tests in life that you want to pass.
Honestly, those were the longest two weeks in the world waiting to get those test results back, recalled Anna Kuwada.
For Kuwada, this was not one of them. Because she knew that all the preparation in the world wouldn't make a difference.
You just feel like a ticking time bomb.
The bomb ticking inside her was the BRCA 1 gene - the same gene her mom carried through two bouts with breast cancer.
I remember the genetic counselor from Swedish called and I remember he said, 'Well this isn't the news we hoped for,' and I knew what that meant, said Kuwada.
It meant Kuwada had a decision to make.
It was a difficult decision, she said. You never know if you're making the right decision because you never know for sure you're going to get cancer.
Kuwada knew she didn't want to wait to find out.
It just seemed too likely to me.
So at 25, she underwent a double mastectomy.
I'm just so relieved to not be doing the mammograms, the MRIs, the biopsies, everything all the time. And there was no end to that, she said,
For her, it marked a new beginning. And now, thanks to Angelina Jolie, she hopes others who may be at risk come away with a better understanding.
It's almost a validation in some ways because it's not an easy cause to publicize because there's a lot of controversy over how far are we taking preventative medicine, said Kuwada. There are a lot of people out there saying why remove healthy body parts? And someone like her coming out and explaining in such an eloquent and powerful and visible way, it's wonderful for the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community.
The little star power Kuwada hopes goes long way.
When my husband asked me what I thought of it, I said it's wonderful. And he said, 'So that makes me Brad Pitt, right?' she said.
Kuwada is also an outreach coordinator for the Seattle chapter of FORCE, Facing Our Risk Of Cancer Empowered. Learn a lot more about the subject on the FORCE website.