We all remember when Angelina Jolie wrote the article two years ago for the New York Times about her double mastectomy. The article was posted May 14, 2013. In case you missed it you can read it here. The article chronicles her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy due to her high risk of developing cancer. It was a powerful and very moving article. It was not one that was written because she wanted to show off the trials and tribulations of being a celebrity. She was not seeking pity. She was not seeking accolades for being so strong in the face of her fame. She wrote the article to empower women who are facing, or may someday face, that same situation.
I have always had a lot of respect for Angelina Jolie. She is an amazing actress. God gave her a servant’s heart which she has embraced as a Special Envoy to the United Nations. Then when she wrote that article two years ago she opened herself up about such a private matter with the hope that women would hear her story and add it their arsenal when fighting their own cancer battles. She could have very easily turned the whole situation into a pity party like so many other celebrities do. “Give me attention! I need attention! LOVE ME!!!!!” But instead she said, “here is what I did, why I did it, what I learned, and what you can do also.” She gave us her story so that we would stronger should we face the same situation.
This morning I got into my studio at the station and the t.v. was on. Kathie Lee ad Hoda were smiling and laughing from the muted screen, but I could see a headline at the bottom of the screen that said, “Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery.” Surely they weren’t referring to the article from two years ago, so I Googled it and came across a new article. If you haven’t had a chance to read it I urge you to. It beautiful, and very moving, and adds another weapon to the arsenal of knowledge that women can use if fighting their own cancer battle.
I lost my grandmother to cancer in 2003. It started as lung cancer. She had a portion of one of her lungs removed, endured chemo and radiation, went into remission for a short while, and then the cancer came back. More chemo. More radiation. It eventually metastasized to her breasts and into her brain. I lost her in July, 2003. I still miss her to this day. She never got to meet the man who became my husband. She never got to meet my step-daughter or my son. I never got to tell her goodbye. When my grandmother was going through her own cancer battle she researched as much as she could and she never lost her faith in God. In the end the cancer was stronger than the treatment though.
Could her cancer have been caught early? Could it have been prevented? I don’t know. But how many women will read the articles written by Angelina Jolie and insist that their doctor look deeper into their blood work and family history? How many women will take control of their medical treatment and ask questions about things they didn’t know they could ask questions? How many women will be saved from cancer because of these two articles from Angelina Jolie? How many mothers, aunts, sisters, friends, cousins, granddaughters, wives, grandmothers? Losing even one woman is one woman too many.
I applaud Angelina Jolie on her courage and candor in writing both of these articles. I pray that somebody reads them both and goes to their doctor and says, “She did this and so can I!”
Until next time . . .