Well, I just knew that Angelina Jolie and I had so much more in common than simply our ravishing beauty and the dazzling men with whom we share our lives! She let the cat out of the bag this morning in a New York Times op-ed:
• We both carry the BRCA1 gene.
• We both lost our beloved moms to cancer when they were in the prime of life.
• We both had preventative double mastectomies to reduce our own breast cancer risks.
• We both wanted to stick around for our kids, our honeys and our amazing friends.
• We both want to share our stories so other women may benefit from our experience.
It’s like we’re soul sistahs, me and Angie, doncha think?!
And there’s one more thing we have in common: as I’ve contended since my mastectomy more than six years ago, neither of us is remarkably brave or courageous. We’re merely sensible ladies who love life and were extremely blessed to have knowledge and options.
Having a preventative mastectomy is not an easy decision. But it’s an empowering one that provides at least a little peace of mind in our uncertain lives. My mastectomy was the springboard for incredible life changes: adopting an attitude of gratitude and living life with no regrets, our family’s move to a new community that has provided unimaginable opportunities and growth for all of us, and the birth of this blog.
I wrote about my preventative mastectomy in one of my earliest but most heartfelt posts back in 2008 on the first anniversary of my surgery. The piece, A Grateful Year Since My Preventative Mastectomy, is admittedly longer and a bit more serious than I’d write it today, but it’s personal and sincere, and I still live by every word. (For something a little lighter and more succinct, check out the reflection I wrote earlier this year: Be Nice To Me Today, It’s My Mammoversary.) I hope you’ll find a few minutes to read one of these pieces and perhaps share with someone who faces a high breast cancer risk or a friend who needs a boost of gratitude and perspective.
I’m grateful that this important women’s issue has a (stunningly beautiful) face raising awareness in the media today. If I can be of any help or support in a more personal way, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m more than happy to do whatever I can.