Before leaving for the hospital the next morning, René wrote notes to her children, Cole and Casey, and assured them that she would be okay…but even she didn't know what to expect.
"I have no idea what tomorrow morning's going to be like," she said on the way to the hospital. "I would like to think that there's going to be this immediate sense of relief, in terms of I don't have to worry about ever being diagnosed with breast cancer."
What she did know was that she couldn't continue to live in fear. "My gut tells me I've had enough," she said. "I can't keep doing this to my family. I can't keep doing this to myself."
After René and her husband, Buff, arrived at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, reality set in. One hour before surgery, René's emotions came pouring out. Through her tears, she asked Buff if she was making the right decision. "I was fine until [the doctor] said we were ready to go to surgery, and then I got scared," she said. "It's just so hard to be sure."