A Personal Choice

by Leila Dayne


Today an article came out in the New York Times written by Angelina Jolie discussing her journey in the last year to undergo a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. If you haven’t read the article you can view it here.

She speaks about losing her mother at a young 56 after years of battling cancer for years and how after realizing, through blood testing, that she was also carrying the mutated gene that raises her cancer risks significantly she chose to preemptively go ahead with the preventative surgeries reducing her risk from 85% down to a mere 5%.

But this was not “new” news to me. Yes, it was new knowledge that THIS particular woman had gone through this and I think it’s great that someone with her type of media reach is speaking out in a positive way about it. I read a very similar article written by a woman who had lost nearly all her older female relatives to breast cancer and felt that she was just waiting for it to come for her. She began researching and decided to go with this same choice of having a preventative double mastectomy and breast reconstruction. I remember how hard that article hit me, having lost members of my own family to it. I became vigilant about my health and keeping an eye on all tests and always told myself that as I got older I would always keep this option open.

The thing that set me off the most today was the miseducated backlash from people, especially women, saying they couldn’t believe someone would ever do that to their body.

First of all: I believe it’s everyone’s right to have free will about what they chose to do. Whether it’s cosmetic or reconstructive surgeries, body modifications or tattoos it’s so ridiculous that in this day in age we still conform to such absurd social stereotypes. And second, I can’t believe how people would just dismiss a potentially life saving procedure because of the off chance that it may not have been needed. I may never have a calcium deficiency but I still take vitamins for it because I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I think it’s great that more information about all of this is coming out so that now when I explain it, maybe more people will understand. Thank you Angelina Jolie for giving a voice to the cause!!

All My Love,

LD