Angelina Jolie had a preventive double mastectomy...read her brave essay

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by dardar1126, May 14, 2013.

  1. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry but hearing everywhere how 'brave' Angelina Jolie is, is probably the most annoying piece of 'news' to have surfaced recently.

    Oh so brave to remove her breasts, given she can afford the best plastic surgeons who can then reconstruct them to probably look even better than before.

    Yes, it's still a pretty big thing psychologically because you are removing a part of your own body, and one associated with both your sexuality and motherhood. But I find that a lot of the praise, awe and adoration really is lacking perspective.

    It's like people praising 'philanthropists' who are spending 0.000001% of their huge incomes on charity.
     
  2. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    I disagree. Health scares are scary, period. While Jolie may have access to better medical care than most people, so did her mother, and so did any number of other people who had the resources to get the best medical care, and it still wasn't enough. If something happens to Jolie, her kids will be well taken care of, but they will still have lost their mother. Jolie may have had all the help in the world during her medical treatment, but she still underwent major surgeries, lost her breasts - and we know what kind of importance our culture attaches to those, plus reconstructed breasts will not feel the same - will lose her ovaries and go into early menopause, and knows that there is a very real likelihood that she will have passed on this gene to her biological children; all scary, difficult stuff. To diminish the challenges she has faced and will face because she is financially comfortable strikes me as unfair and inappropriate. This is not a competition about who has it worst. This is one woman who got a very bad piece of news, made an informed decision about her own health, and is now sharing a story that might help others.

    And Ziggy, yes, it's brave. It's brave to make your private health issues public like this, it's brave for someone in a business where success if often tied to appearance to make this announcement, and it's brave to do it knowing she'd be criticized by many who feel that she should have made a different choice. This has nothing to do with whether she will end up with nicer looking breasts; what a stupid, insensitive thing to suggest.
     
  3. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    There are dozens of factors that impact my opinion and lack of financial concerns is certainly one of them. The overriding factor for me, however, is the ability to make the trade-off. Would Annette Funicello have been thankful for the choice? What about Michael J. Fox? If I could trade MS or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, going blind, being a quadriplegic, even Rheumatoid Arthritis, for boobs that don’t jiggle – or even no boobs at all – I would do it in a heartbeat of nanosecond. And I would be exceedingly grateful that I could.
     
  4. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Yes, my SIL and BF both had to have hysterectomies. It is no fun at all. The hormone replacement, alone, is awful. In addition, going through forced menopause, at a young age, puts you at a much higher risk for osteoporosis (especially in someone very thin).

    I don't understand what AJ's wealth has to do with any of this. Can she afford it? Sure. Is knowing you have an 80%-90% chance of developing cancer terrifying? Absolutely, regardless of whether or not you can afford treatment. There is always a risk, in any surgery. Breast loss can be devastating to a woman, it is part of her identity. Add to that uterine loss. Anyone who would have to make this kind of life altering decision is going through hell. Emotionally and physically. AS I said, I know people who have gone through it, it can take years to feel normal.

    But, snoopy, that is not the issue here. Are there some diseases or injuries that are worse/less curable? Yes. The 22 year old with Lynch syndrome, I mentioned up thread, is in a far worse situation. But we are talking about breast cancer, with a controversial way of prevention. How does that make what Jolie has and has done less terrifying for her or anyone else faced with it?
     
  5. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I agree that going public with it is brave and WRT this issue and many others, I give Angelina big props because I appreciate that she recognizes her blessings, and I very much appreciate that she acts incredibly responsibly in light of them.
     
  6. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    And yet, I'm sure a lot of charities and people who need the services are glad to have it. It reminds me of a friend of mine who is so angry at people who "pad" their resumes by volunteering and taking part in public interest just so they may have a better job getting into a school or a job in the future compared to him who actually cares about these things, and yet when I asked him what has he done in terms of volunteer work or services, the answer was zilch.

    I may agree with you that some of the praise might be a bit overkill, but lacking perspective goes both ways, don't you think? Some times people just think people with money simply don't suffer compared to some of us "regular" people, so they don't give them any credit for anything.
     
  7. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I hope that those of you who are criticizing AJ so much, never have to experience what she is now going through.
    The response here from those who have gone through similar diagnosis' make it clear that it is a "life-altering" event, whatever the outcome.
    To say that it is less traumatic for her because she is "Angelina Jolie" is an insult.
    Everything she chooses, from this time forward, will be affected by this.

    She made it very clear that she knows that she has options and resources, that most do not.
    One of the reasons she made her story public is that she wanted others to have better access to diagnosis and treatment,
     
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  8. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    The key with Lynch and with BRCA1 and 2 (as well as other genetic conditions) is to be diagnosed early enough to be able to take preventive action (surgery/screenings) and make decisions regarding future testing and care. Often times people don't get this sort of genetic testing, and then the first they hear about it is when they already have cancer, sometimes advanced cancer. If Jolie's actions raise awareness regarding the importance of genetic testing, I am all for it. Not everyone needs to be tested, but people need to be aware whether they are at risk, and if so, the testing should be available.
     
  9. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I've said it before in other threads, but comparing miseries is ridiculous. "Yeah, but AJ has money, fame, the best doctors in the world." OK. So, I suppose that makes her suffering less? Who knows. We certainly don't. I will never, ever judge anyone who has to fight a health-related battle. I have had my share, and they are far from ordinary. If I shared them here, I think you wouldn't even believe me. In any event, I'm not AJ, I don't have her money, but I am so grateful for my friends, family, my now-healthy body, and just to still be alive. I can't even begin to go down a "whoah is me" road.

    Maybe AJ doesn't have the inner peace I have and has suffered a whole lot more despite her good fortune.

    Who am I to judge.

    O-
     
  10. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    I have no career experience and barely any formal education in design and I love helping charities/non-profits, so I'm doing pro bono work to get more samples and help organizations improve their websites. It's a win/win for me, as far as I'm concerned. If someone is too lazy to get off their duff to do the same, that's their own fault. :p

    Exactly. Know your family history (for adopted children, this is admittedly difficult :( ), and if you have risks, take ownership of them. Pretending those risks don't exist, isn't productive.
     
  11. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Being tested is absolutely key. Though with Lynch, having the "at risk" parts removed is not really an option. The risk is most high for colon cancer, but it can involve the stomach, breasts, ovaries, pancreas, urinary tract, liver, kidneys, uterus. You can't remove all of those things prophylactically. The person I know, had no family history of Lynch. So, when she started showing symptoms the doctors thought it was IBS, Crone's, Celiac. They put her on a bunch of different diets and meds. It wasn't until she was in excruciating pain, one night, and taken to the ER that a pelvic scan was done. Because she was so young, no colonoscopy had been done either. The scan showed a mass, then the colonoscopy was finally done. She had to have 80% of her colon removed. Fortunately, her young age made it possible for them to reattach her intestines and she did not have to have a bag. And, thank goodness no lymph nodes were involved. But, she has frequent gastro problems. She has to be tested for all of the above cancers frequently. And she is fearful of having children. Pretty tough thing for a virtual child to have to go through. Her insurance company argued about the frequency, but eventually allowed it. Believe me, if this girl could have had the "at risk" parts removed before the cancer happened, she would have. The problem, for her, was that she didn't know she had Lynch, you can't be certain where it will show up, and you can't just take out the colon, stomach, liver, kidneys. She is one of the bravest people I know.
     
  12. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know - that's why I wrote surgery (more relevant for BRCA, though there are some options for Lynch) or screenings (for the various cancers people with these conditions are at risk for). Obviously preventive surgery is not an option when there are so many organs at risk, but frequent screenings at a younger age mean better odds of catching things early on, so it is important to get the testing and diagnosis as soon as possible.
     
  13. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I guessed you knew all of that, I just wanted to give more info for anyone who might not :). I so, so wish that my friend knew she had Lynch. It is devastating when you don't even know to test for it, and find out you have it at 22, when you get cancer.
     
  14. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    crusin, ((((hugs and support)))) to your friend.
     
  15. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, she is very dear to me. She, in the middle of all of this, has managed to go to law school (on a huge merit scholarship), not miss a class, work to support herself, and graduate in the top of her class. Talk about strength! And, she is one of the sweetest people anyone could have the good fortune to know.
     
  16. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Wow!
    :respec: to her.
    She is fortunate to have you, too
     
  17. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    The part I do is easy. I get to love her. And, when she lets me, spoil her a little. Amazing, how you can grow to care so much about a person you've only known for about 3 years. I feel like she is one of my own kids.

    Oh, and she was managing editor of her school's circuit review. And she got a fantastic clerkship for this fall!
     
  18. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    It's lose/lose for celebrities. They donate, and it's not enough or they're only doing it for the publicity, if they don't (or do so privately), they're mean since they're so rich and it would be a drop in the ocean for them. I say that ANYONE who gives their time or resources to those less fortunate should be praised, regardless of how rich they are, or how much they give. But it's a personal choice, their money is theirs to do what they wish, just like mine is. I'm glad no one scrutinises and judges my giving, or my health choices.
     
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  19. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I'm not aiming to defend Snoopy, but it's possible that what she said didn't mean the same thing to her as it did to those who read it. Or, that she chose her words poorly. I'll give her a chance to explain before I jump down her throat.

    And no, being rich and famous doesn't mean you 'deserve' less sympathy. Evidence also shows that it doesn't make people happy (although struggling to survive does make people unhappy). The rich and famous can be miserable.

    And no again, being rich doesn't compensate for a double masectomy and reconstruction. But it sure can makes the experience easier to deal with and lower the stress involved. I'm sure AJ would acknowledge that.

    And AF has her circle of loved ones who support her, just as most people do. Members of the public aren't required to have a certain amount of sympathy for her, we don't even know her.. There are many in far worse circumstances than she is - women die of breast cancer because they couldn't afford the test, or the health care, or the treatment - or didn't have access to health care. In some ways, she is blessed. And I've no doubt she would - again- acknowledge that herself.
     
  20. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    Scary, bad, sad, difficult, they all are gradable adjectives.
    You say though that being in a position where you have access to the best care and support system for you and your family doesn't make a difference.
    Clever: society just made the ultimate progress, people are finally equal.
     
  21. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I think you took Zemgirl's quote out of context.

    Also, I don't think anybody denies that having resources and wealth would make one in a better position to deal with the consequences of having a high risk of a potentially terminal medical condition (such as having the best doctors, knowing your kids will be taken care of, etc.), but ultimately the fear of dying is still the fear of dying. Also, I think Jolie is cognizant about her situation regarding her young kids, and I bet she was very worried about leaving them even though Brad Pitt has the resources to care for them and they can hire the best nannies in the world. I mean, no matter what, she's their mother and having all the money in the world can't replace your mother.
     
  22. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Indeed.

    Another issue that I mentioned in the earlier post, and I imagine would be a concern for anyone who receives such a diagnosis, is that she's likely worried about the possibility that she's passed this genetic mutation on to her biological children; obviously not the sort of thing a mother would want for her kids, even with the hope that there will be medical breakthroughs that will allow for better outcomes in the future.
     
  23. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely!
     
  24. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Sex appeal is largely mental. She has changed our mental image of her. I am sure her publicists hashed this out and she was given advice not to go public for fear it would change our image of her from at least one person, it not multiple.

    Now when the young boys see her on screen, they may be thinking of cancer and disease when they look at her boobs or "oh those are fake". Maybe not. But it's a risk and a fear and it is part of what makes her actions brave. No, not as brave as rescuing a kid from a burning building but braver than staying silent, which she was perfectly within her rights to do. It's her medical issues and those don't belong to the public.

    Personally I think it would be great if those things didn't happen and her career thrives because it would advance society and help other women in this situation.

    She doesn't know she can beat death. Or that she didn't pass this down to her kids.

    I actually think it's a bit naive to think that money somehow isolates you from fear in these situations. I am pretty sure the first thing that went through Jolie's head when she found out she had the gene wasn't "Thank god, I'm rich and it won't be as bad as if I was poor." I'm pretty sure it was something along the lines of "OMG, I hope I don't die!" And the next big fear was probably "Crap, I've probably given this to my kids. I suck."

    The money thing is more of a silver lining. It's how you console yourself when you get some of the worst news of your life. And it comes later. Often much later. And sometimes is not much consolation. Especially in this case when she is going to have a hysterectomy and lose her ability to have more biological children. She's had her choice taken away from her through no fault of her own and being rich didn't protect her from that either.
     
  25. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Not to mention: "OMG, I am losing my womanhood!" Breasts and ovaries, that is. No mention of a hysterectomy but likely that too. As some had said, surgical menopause is tough, whether you are rich or not.

    Is she brave? I don't know. But it's nice of her to use her name to make people aware of this and to help patients in the same boat to feel perhaps a smidgen less isolated.
     
  26. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I suspect that Jolie picked the timing of her procedures to coincide with the decision to not have any more biological children. This would not be unheard of with women who have certain types of cancer, and have some flexibility and knowledge, like Jolie, to set their schedules. Doctors usually advise such things. IME, lots of decisions and options offered to patients wrt any ob/gyn issues revolve around the patients desire (or not) to have children.
     
  27. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe, just maybe, AJ doesn't know whether or not she wants to have more children, but her fear of cancer is overshadowing her regret about making this decision. Forced menopause does not simply mean the inability to bear more children; it has wide-ranging, far-reaching effects that literally change a woman's life -- especially one as young as AJ (37). I know many women who thought they didn't want to have children or thought they didn't want to have more children, and changed their mind in their 40s.

    O-
     
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  28. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    If she wants more children she seems very comfortable with adopting.
     
  29. OliviaPug

    OliviaPug Well-Known Member

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    Yes, she does, and that's a beautiful thing. But, AJ did choose to have biological children as well, and perhaps she'd like to experience that again, but won't be able to? None of us really know.

    O-
     
  30. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Épaulement!!!

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    Very good points.
     
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