Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vacation Vixen: Angelina Jolie

So much has been written and gossiped and mythologized about Angelina Jolie over the years it’s hard to remember sometimes that she is a real human person leading a real human life. But yesterday, at midnight, when her essay about getting a preventative double mastectomy posted to The New York Times, it was impossible to think of her as anything but human. A real, honest, brave human.

I have known women who decided to have preventative double mastectomies because they carry the so-called breast cancer gene, BRCA1. And I know it is a very difficult, very personal, very courageous choice. Women should never be judged for wanting to control their own bodies or trying to save their own lives. The sad reality is too few women have the option Angelina had. The test for the gene is expensive and the surgery and breast reconstruction afterward even more so, if your health insurance will even allow it. Or if you have health insurance in the first place. But all women should have the opportunity she had. Shouldn’t a smart health care system want to prevent fires before they start instead of only rushing in after we are engulfed in flames?

What Angelina Jolie did was her choice. Though when you hear that having the procedure made her go from having an 87 percent to an under 5 percent chance of developing breast cancer, it seems like a no brainer. Still she did not have to tell the world of her decision, but did so to raise awareness, create change, express solidarity. So much of our body image as women can be wrapped up in our breasts. But our bodies never define us, only describe us – and even that is just the superficial that the eyes can see. We are, all of us, just humans. Humans who want to stay healthy and be around for the people we love and who love us for as long as we can. Even one of the most beautiful, rich, famous women in the world. Only human, also brave.

13 comments:

Fred said...

I actually cried reading this. Heck, I'm still crying now. She's been such an influence and inspiration for me when I was a kid, she made me feel strong, and badass, and beautiful. She actually made me feel like it was ok to be me, when I was a lonely, awkward, mocked little girl. So right now I feel sad, and relieved, and concerned, and confident that she's gonna be ok, and this just made me love her a little more. Anymay, I just needed to get this off my chest somehow, thanks for posting this, now I'm off to find someone to hug me...

Rachelle said...

Thank you for writing this beautiful and substantial read, as always.

k8 said...

...u got to respect this woman ... this will be read by millions and same millions will think about it and check it and google it and it might be a life changing decision not only for Jolie herself...

adAstra said...

Dorothy! Dorothy! Did you see what we did in MN!!! Eeee! I keep checking to see if a post will come up here, knowing full well your blog isn't just a political one. :D I am shocked, impressed, and proud. And maybe I bawled my eyes out, a little: http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/22238078/marriage-equality-minn-senate-passes-freedom-to-marry-act

Carmen SanDiego said...

Nothing but respect for Ms Jolie.

Anonymous said...

I have always loved that Angelina although beautiful she wore her flaws out & proud. My respect for her has grown for the dignity & strength she has shown & also the desire to help others in telling her story.

Thx for posting Karen

Anonymous said...

A note about testing cost: while the full (sequencing-based) test from Myriad is expensive, the 23andMe personal genotyping kit - https://www.23andme.com - includes 3 of the most common BRCA1/2 mutations (the ones linked to Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry), which together account for a large portion of hereditary cancers.

Of course you would want the full test if those are present, but if your insurance does cover it (which they must under the Affordable Care Act), that would be a good reason for your provider to recommend it.

The kit is currently $99.

Gift Baskets said...

She's one of the great actress in Hollywood and one brave woman to fight breast cancer.

mehndi design said...

Superb post and nice blog, I saw excellent news about Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie

tlsintx said...

Angie just rocks it every time. Love love love her.

Alaska Bear Adventures said...

Reading this post makes me admire more of Angelina. She is really great.

Probate Lawyer said...

It was great reading this about Angelina she really is a great actress.

Westport Fishing said...

You're great for having an article about Angelina. I was looking for it almost ages.