I Totally Get Why Angelina Jolie Had Her Breasts Removed

I totally get why Angela Jolie removed her breasts. Totally.

The woman’s mother died from ovarian cancer (which is related to breast cancer). She DIED from it.

Over the past day I’ve seen some very critical comments about Angelina’s choice to alter her body in such a drastic way.

These critics come mostly from natural living circles, who feel they can shake their heads and point their fingers and become impassioned about Jolie’s “rash” decision to jump to surgery when so many less invasive cancer preventive measures are available to her.

  • She could have switched to a whole foods diet.
  • She could have cut out all meat and become a vegan, raw foodie.
  • She could have taken this or that “magic,” all-natural herb or oil or supplement.
  • She could have just waited to see if she would even develop cancer, for goodness sake. 
  • She could have just trusted God with her health.

These same critics throw around the fact that Angelina’s personal choice has implications for the rest of us. How many of the young women who look up to her will rush off to their OBGYNs and request similar testing and the same procedure now?

But it is those people who put her on a pedestal. I cannot imagine this choice was a publicity stunt. Surely she put a lot of thought into it.

Like so many of us, Angelina has been made an example. But can’t she just be real for once?

I don’t claim to be an Angelina Jolie fan. I don’t watch her movies, and, undoubtedly, I disagree with much, if not most, of her beliefs.

But she’s a mother to six precious children. She’s a person.

Image by jennifrog

 Can we give her a little grace?

The woman’s mom died of ovarian cancer. How many of us can claim to know what that feels like?

She got tested for the BRCA gene, and she has it. In fact, according to reports, she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer. 87! That’s a huge risk!!

If a doctor told you you had that big of a risk of developing cancer, what would you do?

Was it drastic? Perhaps. Was it unreasonable? Considering her risk factors, I don’t think it was.

My mom holding her 7th grandchild–15 years post-cancer diagnosis

My Story

When I was 17, my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

It was a shock to my family. It was a grueling, emotional season in our lives.

We found out a week before I left on a 6-week overseas mission trip. I didn’t know much about cancer back then. When I boarded the plane, I really thought I may be saying goodbye to my mother for forever.

My parents dropped me off at the airport and drove right to the hospital for her to get a full hysterectomy. She was 46.

Six months of chemo later and she went into remission.

Four years later, the cancer came back. Same song, second verse.

This time I was a 21-year-old college student. I braced myself for the worst and hoped for the best and resolved to be strong for my family.

I drove home from college to be there for my mother’s surgery to remove the tumor beside her bladder. I’ll never forget following behind my parents’ car on the 45-minute drive to the hospital.

Avalon’s “Testify to Love” came on the radio. My parents were listening to it as well:

For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I’ll be a witness in the silences
When words are not enough
With every breath I take
I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love

Since my dad works for the hospital, he and I were able to sit in the head surgeon’s office and watch them wheel my mom away to surgery from the glass window.

He paced and wrung his hands and sat on pins and needles.

I prayed and read aloud from Psalms.

A few hours later, the surgeon himself gave us the news: They got it.

He took me and my dad to the lab to see the tumor ourselves. (Yes, I’ve seen cancer. It’s not pretty.)

One year of chemo later, she was declared in remission.

That was 11 years ago.

Praise God, she’s now considered cured.

But because of my experience, I’ve had a small glimpse (emphasis on small) into what Angelina Jolie must have been thinking. Her mom died of cancer at age 56–leaving Angelina motherless. If there is anything remotely possible for her to prevent her children from suffering the same, she was willing to do it.

Let’s give her some grace, ladies. Let’s give her some grace.

Loaded question: What do you think of Angelina Jolie’s decision to remove her breasts?

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Comments

  1. says

    I think it was a beautiful decision. What an expression of love for her family. My grandmother and great-grandmother died of breast cancer. My husband’s mother died of breast cancer. Each before the age of 50. My husband and I have already discussed that if a similar decision came up in my life, I wouldn’t hesitate to have my breasts removed. What a small thing compared to cancer treatment, even if it were successful. Each woman must make her own health decisions, but Jolie’s makes sense to me, too.
    Amanda recently posted..Finding BalanceMy Profile

  2. Jessica Aherin says

    What a great post! I whole-heartedly agree. As an oncology nurse I have seen alot of pain, suffering, and triumph and until facing this personally, I would never judge anyone else’s decisions when facing cancer! It’s easy to run your mouth when you are not the one who is facing cancer.

  3. says

    I havn’t given the topic much thought and I don’t have all of the information but I really apprecaited your balanced approch. I read a negative article (on a supposed Christian site) and was very appalled, so much so that I did not finish the article.

    I appreciate you giving this kind perspective.

  4. says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing! This was beautifully written. I have a mother and grandmother with breast cancer who survived and cannot imagine if I knew I was a carrier. I would definitely take the preventative measure. After all, they’re just breasts. I would rather have 20+ years with Emma than my breast. No doubt!
    Erinn Linkous recently posted..Clean Living BathroomMy Profile

  5. theresa hays says

    Okay ladies, I’m the mother of a 19 year old girl who is facing being tested for the BRAC1 gene because I have ovarian cancer. Ms. Jolie’s story is very real and personal to both of us and the old adage “until you have walked a mile in someone’s shoes” is most applicable here. My daughter and I respect her decision AND her privacy.

  6. Marilyn says

    I told my mother, the way I look at it…if CANCER is discovered in my breast, at that point, it’s a wart on my body, cut it off. My breasts don’t define WHO I am.

    Reconstruction or even a padded bra is better than my children being raised by anyone but me.

    Marilyn in MS

  7. Kim says

    I have lost an a great grandmother, grandmother and aunt to breast cancer, and have a cousin who beat it. I was tested 2 years ago for the gene. I am negative, but have fought tooth and nail to get mammograms yearly since before I was 30. I “used to be” too old, but now they don’t argue as I am 36. Had I been positive for the gene I would have considered this option very heavily. I have seen what cancer does to folks. I lost my mom to lung cancer 8 years ago and still have the last images of her final day etched in my brain. We shouldn’t be judging people – we are not in their shoes and have no right to judge. I just lost my dad to what we assume was a heart attach 2 weeks ago. I have been through the slow, drawn out illnesses where you are begging God to take them as they are suffering so terribly as well as the sudden unexpected passing as well. Both plain SUCK! I truly believe if there was a way to prevent something from possibly occurring I would partake. I have a smoke alarm to help me prevent my house from burning to the ground. I am all about preventative than I am about reactive. Thank you for writing a well balanced article – don’t judge folks – we are all going through something! Blessings!

  8. Nicole says

    I feel very sad for her. If she knew the true nature of God she would know that God provided for all of our healings on the cross of calvary and that she could have been healed and whole. There are some great healing testimonies on this site, too http://www.awmi.net. There are free teachings about the truth in the bible. God does not use disease or illlness to teach us a lesson and Jesus destroyed all generational curses. So, I don’t believe in anything being passed on like that. Jesus is bigger than that! God made us, so he can switch up our DNA. Have faith, spend more time in God’s word and less time researching and listening to the doctors about the disease and the results will be more favorable, too.

    • says

      That is a total load of crap. No offence to you at all – my angst is purely directed toward your extremely misguided theology. God has promised us physical wholeness and healing when we reach eternity, but he never guaranteed it while we’re still living on earth. Spiritual healing from sin is much different than physical healing from all illness. Declaring that if someone is sick that they should just “have faith and spend more time in God’s word” is ridiculously condescending, patronizing, and theologically dangerous. There are very godly men and women throughout history that have died from illnesses and disease that God, in his infinite wisdom and omniscience, allowed to be (not caused, but allowed, and there is a big difference). Your statement says that they just didn’t have enough faith. That is flat out wrong and offensive. I hope you or anyone close to you never gets sick and dies from any illness because you’ll have to give up your faith entirely, and that would be unfortunate.
      beth@redandhoney recently posted..Easy Homemade Burger PattiesMy Profile

    • Lesley says

      How sad that you think you are being kind, while spouting such hate.

      My father died a few months ago from an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer. We had the tumor DNA-tested to find out if he qualified for an experimental therapy. Unfortunately, we learned that he had the most aggressive form of the cancer, as revealed by its genetics.

      My aunt said many of the same things you did. She chided my mother – whose husband of 47 years way DYING – that she just needed to pray and have more faith. Like somehow “believing” would change the fact that nobody – NOBODY – with my father’s diagnosis lives longer than 18 months.

      I am a Christian. And God gave me a brain to use. He also gave me doctors to consult, and provided them with the means to learn and strive to cure diseases. To imply that this is somehow wrong and unfaithful? Horrible and disgusting.

      • says

        I am so sorry to hear about your father’s death. And I agree…those remarks are not sound theologically–at best. Job trusted in God yet suffered greatly. I think it’s easy to forget those examples from Scripture.

    • Alicia says

      I have Ovarian cancer. I only have a 10% chance of living. I have 7 children and have lead a good life. But I still have things to do. My youngest is only 7 years old. If I had known that removing my ovaries would have spared our family this craziness, I would gladly have had an opharectomy. When you are stage 4, you only have a 10% chance of living. What I have is hereditary, not environmental. I do not have ANY of the risk factors. And percentage wise, the numbers aren’t changing. It has stayed consistent for the last 40 years.

      It is insulting that anyone is so blind to believe that God goes around zapping people because they didn’t pray hard enough or didn’t have a positive attitude. I will pray that you never have to deal with this too, because no one deserves this slow brutal death sentence.

      I think that what Angelina Jolie did was very brave and a very positive step. I think that opening her own personal battle to the public was even more brave. And I hope that it opens people’s eyes. 46% of women with Ovarian Cancer are misdiagnosed the first time, I was one of them. When I was finally diagnosed, I actually laughed at the doctor. I didn’t even know Ovarian cancer was a thing. Now it’s consuming my world. Please pay attention to subtle changes, and take time to go to a doctor. I had symptoms for almost 2 years before diagnosis. If I had been diagnosed at stage 1, I would have a 90% chance of survival.

      Bravo to Angelina Jolie for sharing such a personal and scary journey of survival!!!

  9. says

    My best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer roughly 2 years ago. Yesterday morning, she passed away. She was only in her 20s. She had an aggressive form of breast cancer that was technically genetic which is why she got it at such a young age. I don’t know how I would have answered your question before I witnessed my friend go through her battle with cancer, but I think right now, I can say I understand why Julie did what she did. Yes we can trust God, but doesn’t he want us to take initiative as well. Yes we can wait to see if it actually happens, but by then it might be too late. Yes we can try alternative medicine (and that’s the route my friend took at first) but it might not work, the cancer might be too aggressive. Breasts don’t define us as woman. They are a major part of us, but they don’t define us. I am not typically a Jolie fan but I don’t think this is something she should be receiving flack or judgment for.
    Elizabeth N. recently posted..To My Best FriendMy Profile

  10. Barbara says

    I also am not an Angelina Jolie fan, so this is hard to say. What a great decision she made for her family. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an old saying my grandmother would tell me when she was eating natural foods and making sure she had her vitamins. One look at my children would be all the answer I needed. WHY TAKE A CHANCE when the are so precious?

  11. AineMistig says

    I haven’t been following it, but I can’t believe she’s getting flack for this! Really? Are you kidding? The woman did the ONLY THING that could 99% prevent breast cancer, when she knew she was at high risk – which is scary enough when you’re Jane Doe, let alone an actress, where your looks really are scrutinized every minute (unlike the rest of us) — which is one of the most selfless things she could have done for her family AND SHE’S GETTING GRIEF FOR IT???? Goodness, people, go put your soapbox somewhere else.

    They interviewed Christina Applegate on Oprah over this same decision and issue, Oprah interviewed multiple women who had done this in fact for the same reasons, and all I saw was positive feedback from the audience. Guess it’s too bad for Angelina that Oprah doesn’t have her show anymore!

    Either way, I’m with you 100% on this Erin!

    • AineMistig says

      *when I said “(unlike the rest of us)” I meant that most women FEEL like people are judging the way we look, but the reality is they probably don’t notice at all. But that’s not the case for an actress like Angelina Jolie — she really IS being scrutinized over her looks. Even when she’s just taking out the trash. All things considered, she made a big statement for our culture and media: “BREASTS DO NOT EQUAL BEAUTIFUL. WHO I AM AS A WOMAN, A VALUABLE MEMBER OF MY FAMILY, MAKES ME BEAUTIFUL. BEING HEALTHY MAKES ME BEAUTIFUL.” We ought to be thanking her!

  12. Nicole says

    It is heart breaking to watch a loved one be broken down and eaten away by such an awful thing like cancer. I could not imagine my children having to go through that. If thats what it takes to keep her here for her family than so be it. She is still a woman without breasts. We are not define by whats on the outside.

  13. says

    I totally get her decision. I lost my Mom to breast cancer in 2006. She was 58, I was 26. I’ll never forget the doctor looking at me straight in the eye across her hospital bed, pointing his finger at me saying “you get your first mammogram at age 35 and every single year after that…do you understand me?” I talked with my doctor about this and he agreed, and we will begin those soon.

    By the time we found out my Mom even had it, it was already stage 4. Her entire body was consumed by it at that point. They gave her only 3-4 months to live, but she fought it out for 10 months. She was willing to give up anything (breasts, lymphnodes, etc) in order to survive, but it was too late at that point. If she had known ahead of time she would have gladly given up her breasts in order to have a fighting chance.

    I commend Angelina for her decision, especially being a celebrity. It is quite possible that some celebrities would have chosen not to have their breasts removed because their appearance is so important in the industry they are in.
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  14. Rust says

    I admire her strength and respect her privacy and her right to do what she did without being judged by the world.

    Your post touched me, and is just perfect. :)

  15. says

    What a brave woman. I think she made a wise decision in caring for her family…she was being proactive. I’m not a fan of her either, but she made an excellent choice. Good for her! And shame on those who would say otherwise.
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  16. Joetta Witkowski says

    I was disappointed in this post. I, too, have had family members, including my mom, diagnosed with breast, ovarian, etc., cancer, and some succumbed to it. But to make such a decision totally out of fear is wrong if you are a Christian. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind. If we are operating out of fear of cancer, we may not be operating out of the conviction that earth is not our home. I pray that I, or any other follower of Christ, would take these truths into consideration at such a time.

    • says

      Fear and being proactive are two different things. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in ONE breast and had BOTH removed. It wasn’t due to fear, it was out of the knowledge she had it in one breast so the odds were it would eventually show up in the other (my grandmother had breast cancer, too). My mother is a STRONG Christian woman who used her breast cancer to share her faith in God and knew that ultimately, if it was her time, she was ready. I try not to comment back and forth but I did want to make it clear that just because she did it doesn’t mean it was driven by fear. :-)
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  17. sabrina says

    Thanks for reminding me that I shouldn’t judge, lest I be judged.
    Insightful post. I believe I would put my trust in the Lord.
    From what I gather Angelina is not a believer in Christ so why is everyone so quick to judge her?

  18. says

    I personally don’t even understand why someone’s personal choices about their reproductive system is considered news nowadays.
    If I had the choice between potentially getting cancer/leaving my kids without their mother and getting rid of my boobs, I wouldn’t need to over-think it. My husband would never forgive me for leaving him stranded with our 3 children, either! =)
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  19. says

    Excellent post, excellent perspective and one that I believe is Biblical. I am really saddened by what I have seen from the real foods and natural living groups, (even Christian ones!) that are criticizing and condemning Jolie’s decision.

    Until we walk in her shoes, we cannot know or understand her actions, let alone criticize them. How arrogant of people to think they have all the answers for everyone else. Truth is, we can only make decisions for ourselves based on how G-d leads US.

    I totally get why she did it and why others have done the same.
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  20. says

    I think Jolie deserves grace for sure. But I do think that the medical field’s perspective on this is flawed and motivated by money. The genetics field is very profitable and there is so much genetic profiling going on already that this is a really slippery slope. They are profiling babies for Downs and autism and this is already leading to abortions.

    The study of genetics and how it lead to disease is full of difficulties. If cancer is caused by genetics to that great of an extent, then the question has to be asked why there is so much more cancer these days than in previous decades. The same goes for autism. The reason is that most of cancer and autism, etc. is caused by environmental factors.

    So—I think that her making a public stance about this adds to the slippery slope and that is why I am frustrated by it. Jolie gets grace for sure and I understand why she did it. But–the reasoning was flawed b/c the true cause of cancer is the expression of the genes, which is effected by environmental causes; not the genes themselves.

    Here is a post by a PhD showing how the environment, and not the BRAC gene, is the cause. I would love to hear what others think about this: http://articlesofhealth.blogspot.com/2013/05/acids-from-lifestyle-and-dietary-choice.html
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    • says

      Adrienne,

      I cannot agree on the generalities in your post.

      The “medical field’s perspective on this is flawed and motivated by money.”
      Not true of many of the doctors we’ve worked with, however, each doctor is a person first, and each person is different and you cannot pigeon-hole the entire medical community.

      “The study of genetics and how it lead to disease is full of difficulties.”
      Not true of the doctors we’ve worked with, who tirelessly searched for the reason for the death of our 3 1/2 year old son and finding the genetic reason, helped the rest of us get life-saving treatment. The geneticist we’ve worked with since 1996 has never recommended anything other than wise counsel. I’m really dismayed at the wide brush you are painting medical professionals with. It’s simply untrue.

      Genetics has helped many many families in many many ways.

      No, I don’t believe environment is solely responsible for cancer, as a cancer survivor and the sister of a breast cancer patient who died AND good genetic information, it has been shown to us to be mainly genetic predisposition.

      We really need to slower to pass judgment and quicker to be compassionate and supporting of people who make these very tough decisions about their health.
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      • says

        Thank you for sharing your story. I agree that not every doctor is out for money. Many went into the profession to help people. One of my very good friends is a naturally-minded, holistic MD. She’s a MD who is not out for money. Genetics has it’s place & can be life saving. God uses modern medicine.

    • says

      I agree that the enviornment does play a part, on the other hand cancer has been in my family for at least 5 generations; every single type of cancer you can imagine. My mom who had breast cancer is the first to survive. That being said I am not going to get genetic testing done at this point, I don’t need a test to tell me that I have very high chance of getting any type of cancer.
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  21. says

    I should add that I am so sorry for what happened in your life, Erin. In my family we’ve had cancer as well and diabetes and now other issues. Health troubles are horrendous and wreak havoc on families. I hope that my comment comes across as I meant it to. The problem isn’t her individual decision, but the publicizing of it and the science that it is based on.
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  22. Rose says

    I understand why she did it, and even though I probably would *not* make the same choice, I don’t judge her for her decision. The problem I have is that she is now a “hero”. The true hero is the everyday woman who goes through this, whether as a preventative measure or through cancer, who can’t afford the reconstructive surgery *after* the breasts are removed–and can *then* say that breasts don’t define her as a woman. To me, it’s almost a glib comment, coming from someone who has the money to get “new” breasts afterwards. Angelina does not have to go through life living with the emotional scarring that can come with the physical reality of having no breasts.

  23. Lesley says

    Loved your blog about this. I’m not an Angelina fan at all. But I support the brave decision she made for her children.

    Frankly, I’m stunned that anyone would publicly criticize her for this. Just bizarre. If you had a ticket for an airplane that had an 87 percent chance of crashing, would you get on board? I think not.

    • says

      Thank you…and good analogy. I don’t see how anyone can truly say what they would do unless they were in her shoes.

  24. says

    I would have to disagree with you on this one. I can even say that with a personal history of cancer in our family. My Grandma had colon and breast cancer later dying of a stroke, and my Grandpa died of cancer. Two of my aunts have had breast cancer. My mother had brain cancer and died when my sister was only 13 and I was in my 20′s, left to raise her. Evey time any of us get a headache, we immediately think we might have brain cancer, but that doesn’t mean we have had our brains cut out. We have faith in God, to protect us and our families. I do however feel that if I ever had breast cancer in one breast, I would have both removed and reconstructed, just to even things out since I’m lopsided anyway. Despite the way I feel about Angelina’s decision, it is just that, her choice and it doesn’t mean I would stop watching her movies. I think she has a great heart for children, she just hasn’t found God.
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    • says

      Wouldn’t it be cool if she could come to The Lord through this? I’m so sorry to hear about all the cancer in your family!

  25. Katie says

    Back in the nineties, a family friend of ours lost both her mom and her sister (who was only in her twenties) to breast cancer. The gene test wasn’t available then, so she couldn’t be tested for it, but she did the same thing–took ‘em both off. She had just lost her mother, she saw her sister’s children left motherless, and she had small children herself.

    It’s not as simple as just waiting to see if you do actually get cancer; by the time cancer presents itself in one place it may have already spread, and at that point a mastectomy wouldn’t do any good.

    I can’t imagine how it must have felt to make that decision before the genetic test. At least with the test, you have a better idea of what your odds actually are. It’s a fallen world, and we all, believers or not, are subject to the results of sin. That includes illness and pain and death. To say that the faithful are somehow exempt from the trials and tribulations of this world is directly contrary to Scripture. Not to mention really obnoxious. -_-

  26. says

    Thanks for this post…I think the other thing that bothers me about all the criticism is that none of us actually knows her! We don’t know what the details of her diet or what supplements she takes. We don’t know how long it took her to come to that decision. We don’t know how many people she consulted with. We only know what Angelina chose to share with the public. Why does anyone feel as though they even have a right to an opinion about what she chose to do? We’re all total strangers!
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    • says

      Very true. A lot of celebrities seem to lean toward the healthier food side…so for all we know she’s already made those changes.

  27. Julie says

    I think it’s her body and her right to make her own decision. I would expect though, that if I were in the same situation and I made a different decision, a lot of judgement would come down on me.

    I think we should all be free to make our own choices without criticism.

    • says

      I agree…just as many people can be critical of those who take a more natural route. It would be nice if we could all just support, encourage and give out more grace all around.

  28. says

    A great post! I think that she made the best decision she could make with the information she had. She has the gene. There is a great chance it would happen to her. She had the capabilities and resources to make a big decision like that and did!

    My mom, aunt, and their parents (my maternal grandparents) all got cancer (various forms) within 4 years of each other. My grandfather passed away first…and the week of his death, my mom learned of her positive breast cancer biopsy. She had a mastectomy and then changed her diet to be a cancer fighting one. But she knew that if she needed to, she’d have the other one taken. While mom was in her first few months of remission my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer…she died in 2004. My aunt was diagnosed that same year and she is STILL trying to fight it as it came back after a few years in remission. She’s had both breasts removed…but its in her organs now.

    My aunt tested for the gene–and they gave my mom a free test too. Neither had it.
    (turns out theirs is environmentally related as 8 people on their old childhood street died of cancer within 2 years of each other–and 13 of them got cancer within 4 years of each other)

    Where am I going with this? Well, cancer is in my family. My dad’s mother had it too–but she’s going on twenty years of remission now. What will I do? Stay on top of my testing (which will start in a few years), eat as healthy as I can and then put myself in God’s hands.

    We all can say what we’d do in Angelina’s situation…but until we are IN her shoes we really don’t know…
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  29. says

    Wonderful post Erin! I can’t belive so many people are giving her grief for having her breasts removed. I have to admit I debate the question of what I would (will) do. I haven’t actualy been tested but there is little doubt in my family that my brother, cousins and I have cancer genes. Cancer has run rampant in my family for at least five generations. My mom who had stage 3 breast cancer is the first to servive of 12 plus people. She was diagnosed when I was 16, thankfully she has been “cancer free” for 11 years. There was scare a few years ago that it had returned but thanfully it has not! I love the picture of your mom and daughter together!

  30. Amy Lindsay says

    I liked what you said, “But because of my experience, I’ve had a small glimpse (emphasis on small) into what Angelina Jolie must have been thinking. Her mom died of cancer at age 56–leaving Angelina motherless. If there is anything remotely possible for her to prevent her children from suffering the same, she was willing to do it.”
    I believe we should be allowing of whatever someone decides to do as it is THEIR experience. We each decide our own experience in this world, these decisions may seem like they are made for us, but they are not. These choices come from our beliefs (in God or not), our morals, how we treat each other and ourselves and also how we respond to someone else’s experience.
    That being said, I’d like to point out a couple of things: 1) Angelina is a public figure and although her personal life should not be on display for people to judge, she made her personal decision a public one. She didn’t have to announce this, but she felt moved to do so, for whatever reason. Again, I do not believe she should be judged, we should allow her to make her own decisions that will create her own experience. 2) All the reasons you mentioned regarding preventative health measures are actually TRUE. My husband has done a lot of research into Cancer and Cancer fighting methods. There are many ways to prevent and actually get rid of the disease. I feel very passionate about this and it tears me up every time I hear someone has either passed away or elected surgery for something that can be completely eliminated. For that reason alone I felt moved to respond.
    You wrote an interesting piece, thank you for sharing your viewpoint.
    I’d also like to share some independent research on Cancer via the website http://www.cancertutor.com.

    • says

      I would agree with you that those things ARE true, but to throw them out there in a critical manner and totally dismiss the logic behind her doing so is inappropriate at best and insensitive at worst. And, thus far, that is how I’ve seen people react to this. Instead, I admonish other commentators to look at what she did, acknowledge why she did it and come up with alternatives in a kind and sympathetic way. I think that is possible. :)

      Thanks for your input!

  31. Stephanie W. says

    This is a very emotional subject, indeed. I’m concerned about the free use of the word “judging,” because we all form opinions about the decisions of others, whether we know them personally or not. It was her decision, of course, but she did make it public as others have pointed out. And, I would not in any way want to discredit the pain of watching her mom suffer and then pass away, so she deserve grace. Too, does Angelina smoke and drink? Those habits definitely increase the potential risk of disease and cancer and should be considered for the sake of her family.

    My husband and I went through a very emotional and stressful time with our sweet daughter, who was born with a heart defect and passed away when she was 20 months old. Because I wasn’t satisfied with just “oh, defects can happen…” and because of my own autoimmune issue, I became passionate about finding real answers. Conventional medicine does not have them and did not help me. Gradually, I learned more about food, toxins, and gene expression (epigenetics). We all have thousands of genes and methylation processes that hold potential risk of going awry and causing problems with any part of our body. So, just because someone has the C677T MTHFR, does that mean that he should immediately sign up for a heart transplant? No, we don’t have to worry about genes in themselves; it’s the *expression* of those genes. We don’t need to start whittling away at the only body God gave us to be a good steward of, because disease can show up in any area; it usually is the weakest area. But, our body is a whole and works together.

    I would encourage those who are worried about a family history of a certain disease/cancer to watch this short video about gene expression. It uses the example of *identical* twins (genetically closer than a mother and daughter); one had cancer and the other does not. God made our bodies to heal! Let’s acknowledge His ways and not man’s ways. Man’s ways should be our last resort. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xjq5eEslJhw

    • says

      Thanks so much for all of these good tips, and I think it’s wonderful that you became impassioned about research after your daughter passed away. I truly cannot even begin to imagine. I applaud you for making that effort to educate yourself and others! I am very, very sorry for your daughter’s death.

      I do think it’s important to pass out that I didn’t once use the words “judging,” “judgement,” or “judge,” in this post. ;)

      • Stephanie W. says

        Thank you, Erin! And, I’m sorry for what you had to go through with your mom, too. Yes, I’m sorry if I seemed to accuse you of overusing “judging.” (I really didn’t mean you.) :) I’ve actually seen it mainly in comments here and elsewhere quite a bit. Take care.

    • Amy Lindsay says

      Good post, Stephanie. I especially like “God made our bodies to heal! Let’s acknowledge His ways and not man’s ways. Man’s ways should be our last resort. “

  32. Paula says

    I agree that this is her choice and it’s not about right or wrong. Just a personal preference. But look into it a little more deeply sometimes. Website below
    ttp://www.naturalnews.com/040365_Angelina_Jolie_gene_patents_Supreme_Court_decision.html

    • lyss says

      Hmm…very interesting. I have my doubts as to whether she actually had this done. Sorry, I don’t trust the media. Not sure what to believe. Who knows if this naturalnews article is true either, but I don’t doubt that it could be true. I mean if they can get a celebrity to convince more people to get a test, more money for them!
      Cancer is real, and I think prevention is needful, but I’m finding it harder and harder to know what to believe. Mammograms are pushed for preventing cancer, but I’m also hearing that it causes more than it prevents! On the same note, and in answer to Erin’s question, I don’t think that removing body parts and replacing them with artificial ones is good prevention from disease. But if she really did have this done, well, that was her decision.

      • says

        I have to agree with you that sometimes I just don’t know who to trust. :( if I were ever to get this done, I don’t think I would get implants. That’s just artificial to me.

      • Paula says

        I also agree that mammograms cause more than it prevents, Thermography is a better way for breast exams. Good comments.

  33. Celeste says

    Ladies ~ I used to work at a job where I watched hundreds of people have their radiation and chemotherapy and please believe me when I tell you that cancer is a huge business that makes an enormous amount of money. Most people died and never healed from their cancer, however the cancer industry won’t tell you about them. The chemo is worse than the cancer itself, and I honestly believe that was what ended up killing them. You have no idea the suffering I witnessed. Mammograms as prevention? No thank you. Why do you think there is such urgency placed on women getting mammograms? It’s not for prevention. (think about it for awhile).

    As far as this campaign about women with the cancer gene and getting their breasts removed….if a man was found to have a testicular cancer gene, would his doctor strongly and publicly recommend him to have his testicles removed as a preventative measure? Would a male celebrity do so and then tell the whole world about it like Jolie has? Would there then be a public campaign encouraging testicle removal for men that would support their brave and heroic decision??? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Because apparently it’s okay for the cancer industry to encourage women to take their breasts off for cancer they don’t have – but for a man to electively remove his testicles for the same reason is unthinkable.

    • says

      Celeste, my point in this post was that people need to think twice before criticizing someone whose pain cannot be comprehended unless in the same position–not to start a chemo vs. natural alternatives debate.

      I’m a natural living blogger. I think it’s wise to look into natural preventative measures first. But who is to say Ms. Jolie didn’t? That had been largely ignored.

      I watched my mom go through chemo–twice. She’s a 15-yr cancer survivor. Chemo wasn’t pretty.

      I do not know what I would do in Ms. Jolie’s position, but I can say that the thought would cross my mind to get my breasts removed before going through chemo if I were facing an actual chemo diagnosis. (I have not been tested for the gene, but my mom’s test for it came back negative.)

      Which would you prefer of faced with mastectomy or a year of chemo? I’d choose the lesser of the two. In this case–surgery.

  34. says

    She made the right decision for her so I say give her a farging break. Yes I am a fan and have seen most of the movies she has stared in. This could not have been an easy decision for her or her family.

  35. Kelly says

    I’ve had cancer. Stage 1b Kidney cancer. I had my kidney removed. Had I not discovered it when I did, chances are it would’ve progressed to Stage III and kidney cancer doesn’t respond to traditional chemo and radiation like breast or lung cancer does. I might not be here typing this response right now. I KNOW God allowed my cancer to be diagnosed that early because He has plans for me.

    I applaud Angelina Jolie for being proactive. She tested positive. BIG chance of developing breast cancer. Double mastectomy. Good for her! I approve of what she is doing much more than my coworker who is fighting stage III or IV breast cancer and was recommended to have a bilateral mastectomy followed by a hysterectomy and then radiation with preventative chemo in case it’s spread elsewhere because her lymph nodes were positive. She has always maintained a healthy weight and gotten plenty of exercise.
    Since her diagnosis, she has chosen the naturopathic route in treating her cancer. Eating Vegan and 100% organic foods. She is the sole provider for her family as her husband has no job by his choice. She has lost about 30lbs, is very weak, emits a stink from her pores that is very off-putting in the mornings due to her organic diet and cleansing enemas. She also has two young kids, 7 & 6. We are both RN’s and I just don’t see this ending well for her. her coworkers, myself included would not have chosen the route she has.

    I pray I’m wrong because her kids NEED their mother.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your story. I just have to say: WOW–your story and the one of your co-worker. I just said a prayer for her. WOW. I just feel speechless beyond that. :/

  36. Rebecca says

    So many amazing stories in these comments! Thank you all for posting. As far as the situation at hand, I am no Angelina Jolie fan, but I will not say she was wrong for being courageous enough to take a proactive step and doing what she thought was best for herself and her family.

    I can’t say that, if I were in her shoes (which I am thankfully not), I would have done the same thing. All I know is: I would definitely have to be led by Godly counsel and the Spirit of God, in making a serious decision like removing body parts. I can’t put God in a box–perhaps He would lead a woman to have her breasts removed if the cancer risk was so high…. Or perhaps He would desire her to wait on Him so He could heal her sovereignly. God heals in many ways, sometimes miraculously, sometimes through diet/lifestyle changes or doctors, which healings are in their own right miraculous. So I have no strong opinion on the subject. For me, I think the decision that is made based on the mind of God in my personal life is the right decision! :-)

  37. says

    Kudos to Angelina Jolie to not only being proactive but by going public and sharing her story. I would give up my breasts in a nano second if it meant I would be here longer to share my life with those I love.

  38. Autumn says

    Thank you for writing this. I am a breast cancer survivor of seven years. I was diagnosed at age 25 when I was pregnant with our fourth child. I was a stage four. We truly prepared for me to die…not many tests can be run on a pregnant woman and I was only 17 weeks along so I couldn’t delivery the baby early. God was gracious and spared my life and my daughters. If I could spare my girls the pain and fear that happens when you find out you have cancer I would…even if that means I encourage them to have preventive measures done!

  39. Carla says

    When this initially happened, I thought she was crazy. I felt it was too extreme. Then, in December, I was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma. I spent 5 days in January with a “bandaid” of radiation sewn to my eyeball, and several long AGONIZING weeks, waiting for the tumor to be classified. Thanking God every day that it is Class 1A, which carries only a 2% chance of spreading in the next five years(100% fatal if it does). I went in to my first appointment after diagnosis ready to hand them my eyeball and anything else they could take, if only I could live. I am 40 and have a 5yo, 2yo and 6mo. I was ready to cut Amy and every single thing from my person necessary. So…. I get it. I get it, Angelina.

  40. Keely says

    I say it is her personal choice and it is none of anybodies business to judge her. Our world would be a much better choice if we watched how we treat other people and did not judge so much. It was a tough decision and I applaud her for her courage and strength. The End!!!

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