At the age of forty-two, Joi learned that she has a genetic mutation on a gene known as BRCA2. The test results meant that her risk of getting breast cancer could be as high as 84 percent by age seventy and that her risk for ovarian cancer was also high. Compounding her risk was the fact that her mother had developed breast cancer in her forties. After much research and consultation, the result of which is this book, Joi made the difficult decision to undergo prophylactic mastectomies.
Joi has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years and is now a certified city dweller. She grew up on a farm in rural Missouri with cattle, horses, chickens, ducks, dogs, cats, and even rabbits. Following high school, Joi enrolled in the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri but quickly discovered her love of writing and moved to the study of journalism. During Joi's junior year of college, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 43. Joi's mom had a mastectomy and battled her cancer with nearly a year of chemotherapy all while helping care for the family farm and for Joi's younger brother.
Joi went to law school in Nashville at Vanderbilt University then moved to Los Angeles in 1989 to launch her legal career. After practicing law in Los Angeles for 13 years, Joi took the leap to become a stay-at-home mom. Never one to be idle, she immediately replaced paying work with volunteer work. Joi now devotes her time to raising her children and to breast cancer advocacy, including providing peer support for women who are struggling to decide what to do about their genetically inherited breast and ovarian cancer risk. She is a Board member of FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered -- the national organization for women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer -- in Los Angeles, California and is an Advocate in Science for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.