One year ago today, Angelina Jolie, most known for her roles in Hollywood movies and for her smokin' hot partner Brad Pitt, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled, "My Medical Choice." For those of you who have not read this piece, it details Jolie's decision to have a preventative double mastectomy because of her "faulty" BRCA gene. She explains very clearly that although she is happy that she made this decision, it was not an easy one. How I knew Angelina and I were such BFFs is in her reasoning for then going public about her surgery and process. Simply stated, she says "But 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."
^Amen, sister! And this is why I am choosing to write about my personal decisions now:
Four weeks and two days ago, I had a preventative double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction started at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, by two top-notch surgeons who continue to amaze me. It was because of the same reason Angelina started her journey that led me to mine.
In 2009 I had the initial blood test to check if I carried the genetic mutation, after my dad discovered he was a carrier. Since 2009, we lost my INCREDIBLY strong, intelligent and loving father to a disease they could never quite fully understand. What I did not initially grasp was the gift my dad gave me while he was still here to do so: the knowledge that I needed to be proactive and preventative - for my OWN health.
Coming to the decision to have this surgery was long and difficult to say the least, but now that I am on the other side of things, and can see the end in sight, I, along with my BFF Angelina, know that it was the right decision for me. So thank you, Angelina, for being cool enough to gain your own slogan, just because of your bravery and courage, and give me an easier way to explain to people what's been going on in my life. I am very, very grateful for that.
So - I hope this blog can be a place for learning and understanding the life of being at high-risk for breast cancer and ways to live healthy and thrive through life's difficult endeavors, for anyone.