Angelina Jolie’s Horrible, Generous Choice

May 17, 2013 § 1 Comment

We were sitting on our back terrace.  I am so very bored with the greenspace around us, the fields, the quiet.  I was thinking about change, any change.  And my husband, reading his cell phone news feed, was chuckling over reported shortages of toilet paper in Venezuela.

He asked if I’d blogged about the wonderful phone chats I had with my children on Mother’s Day.  I said, in my bored-with-greenspace voice, “no.”

They are back in my good graces.  I feel like Mick Jagger’s proud mother, by the way.

“Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy,” my husband read out loud.

No.

The fields around me flared up hot green.  The gnats disappeared.  I looked over at him.

“NO WAY.”

Her Op- Ed piece appeared in the New York Times on 14 May:  My Medical Choice by Angelina Jolie – NYTimes.com.

In making her choice, given an 87% chance she’d develop breast cancer, she put foremost in her thoughts the death of her mother from breast cancer and the pain a child suffers watching and losing someone that way.  Mother and child were the reasons she chose radical surgery.

I took the news as a gut hit.  I realized I considered her epic beauty MY possession, MY right, my joy.  Meaning that, of all the breasts in the world, the idea that these very public and perfect ones had just been cut off filled MY world with sadness.

And then the sorrow- deep, ache filled- for the woman who’d had to make that choice, overcame me.  I stared out at my Disney-esque verdant farm fields without comment.

My husband kept reading.  He reached the part where “reconstruction” and “three months of surgeries” suggested Angelina’d been able to maintain her physique, not end up with flat, ripped and scarred, war torn skin over chest bone results typical for women years ago.  Thank god, and surgeons.

And her ability to pay.  That’s part of the point she makes in her Op-Ed piece.  The test alone for a cancer-likely gene costs $3000.

We are not guaranteed perfect health as humans experiencing life.  Neither are we guaranteed access to perfect health care.  “Health” and “perfect” themselves take on varying meanings for each of us, worldwide, I’d bet.

But pain is guaranteed us all in some form or other.  And all women know the pleasure, the pride, perhaps the affirmation of identity itself which their breasts offer them.  To lose them; to lose your source of pleasure, your pride, your identity, to fear the onslaught of death; this, unfortunately, is part of human life.   But so, too, is change.

Read Ms. Jolie’s Op-Ed piece.

Feel the power brewing, the potential for better and more options for women hissing like steam as an engine starts, the world of medicine and philanthropy suddenly listening, simply because such a superstar as ANGELINA JOLIE, actress, director, wife and mother, has suffered.

And decided to go public with her own story.

She is now in my prayers, as a friend.

All women suffering are.

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§ One Response to Angelina Jolie’s Horrible, Generous Choice

  • I have a friend locally who made the same choice, and has no regrets. Have you read Dr. Andrew Weil’s comments on AJ’s decision? Offers options. It’s a very personal decision. No judgment whatsoever. Nor from me. I have never identified with her epic beauty, not as “my possession”. An interesting concept, though.

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