Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I'm keeping my breasts...

Or at least I'm keeping them for as long as I can. This may be for my whole life... or it may not. Who knows what the future holds?

You may wonder why I've decided to make such a statement. This post is in response to Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy, the reasons behind her decision, the world's reaction to her decision and most importantly my own feelings about the need for such surgery. 

It is a tough decision to make and I'm sure that she considered all options - medical and otherwise. I'm sure she thought about what her future would look like for herself and her family if she were to develop cancer or not. I'm sure she did, not only because she said so, but because it's what I'm doing as well. 

Readers of this blog would know that my mom recently passed away... She was diagnosed with breast cancer seventeen (17) years ago and fought against it for the rest of her life. I've been with her the entire time. I know what she went through with her initial diagnosis, with radiation and chemotherapy treatments, with trying to find alternative treatments, with hoping for the best and finding out the worst... repeatedly. I know that through it all she was [mostly] positive and tried her best to honour the body that she was blessed with. 

As her daughter there is the possibility that I may someday be diagnosed with cancer. I don't know what the statistics are - I haven't taken the test... nor am I sure that I want to. Is it better to take the test and know what may be the possibilities? Or is it better to just live life? Day by day, moment by moment... who knows what is the right choice?

I've been reading some of the articles online - it's what I do when I'm not sure of stuff... There were a lot of positive articles; these two stood out for me:
  • Dvora Koelling wrote a thank you message to Angelina - for sharing her story because it helps the rest of us... makes us think and consider what choices we want to make. 
  • Lissa Ranking wrote an article entitled 'Was Angelina Jolie medically hexed?' - there are a lot of points in her article that resonate with me especially these two: 
    • what you believe about your health is likely to come true
    • we are not victims of our genes
There is also a lot of negative talk happening which surprised me at first and then didn't when I thought about it. The world can be a very mean place. Two bloggers highlighted some of the negative here and here - I'm including them because they're both well written and because to see the whole we must see both the dark and light sides. 

I think it was a very brave thing that Angelina did, finding out and then deciding what she wanted to do about her health. I'm giving myself time to figure it out. Do I take the test? What do I do with the results if I do? Decisions to be made but one of them I've already done. I'm keeping my breasts as long as they're healthy. If at some point they aren't I'll review my decision. 


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