Angelina Jolie is not known for shying away from tough choices.
When she found out she had the ‘faulty’ BRCA1 gene that could significantly increase the likelihood of getting breast cancer to 87%, and ovarian cancer to 50%, she decided she will have to make some drastic decisions for her six children and partner Brad Pitt.
…I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.
Spurred no doubt by her mother’s early death from ovarian cancer at age 56 (Angelina is 37 herself), she chose to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction to decrease as much as possible her chance of getting breast cancer, which stands only at 5 % now.
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.
She also credits her partner Brad Pitt for standing by her “for every minute of the surgeries” and that they even managed “to find moments to laugh together”.
Not The Right Decision For Everyone
Writing in the New York Times, her article “My Medical Choice” is personal, thoughtful and strong.
Although she understands that this is not an option for all women, she encourages those who have family histories of breast and ovarian cancer to seek appropriate advice and help, and to ‘take control’ of their bodies and their lives.
In fact, Dr. Mercola thinks they sort of “preventive” surgery is misleading at best.
We have always admired Angelina Jolie.
Her work as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (see pictures here of her visiting Syrian refugees in Iraq), her acting career, her commitment to her children and family, her beauty, her grace and of course her very delectable partner!
Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.
We couldn’t agree more but make sure it is the right thing for you.