The Clock Stops Here...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Angelina Jolie Pitt: Woman to Woman

Angelina Jolie Pitt

I have thought a lot about Angelina's ovaries in the last two years...I know that sounds strange, but I have also worn her shoes and I have been worried about her.

Ever since this amazingly talented, remarkable woman publicly shared her familial breast and ovarian cancer history with the world and her decision to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, I've wondered when she would address the bigger problem--her ovaries.

Angelina did not ignore the fact that they were her next hurdle.  The fact is, that since her mother died of ovarian cancer, an insidious, recurrent disease, (that is often almost symptomless until diagnosed in late stages), her ovaries were the bigger problem.

It was never a question of "if", but "when".

With familial breast cancer, diagnosis often happens 10 years earlier in the next generation.  Angelina's late mother, Marcheline Bertand, who died at 56was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 49.  Angelina is 39. The clock was ticking...
Marcheline Bertrand and Angelina Jolie
Fortunately, she did inherit some of her good genes too :)

Angelina had a recent scare, The nebulous pre-screening tests for ovarian cancer, indicated she may be in trouble.  By the grace of God, her pathology was clean, but the decision at that point was crystal. Now was the time for her to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Like all the women before her, me included, who have made this difficult choice, the fear of premature menopause, being robbed of our hormones and ability to conceive is deep and daunting.

With great help, hormones can be managed.  Mine were, thankfully. Psychologically, even if a woman has completed her child bearing, it is still painful to know that the choice, no longer remains. Tough stuff, let me tell you.

I could not be more grateful, that once again, Angelina has bravely, intelligently and kindly, shared her very personal decisions, with all of us, for the greater good. She has shone a beacon on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  She is arguably, one of the most beautiful women in the world, and in my mind, she has become even more so.

Angelina Jolie will not defined by her lack of breasts or ovaries.  She is defined by her courage.  She is defined by the loss of her mother, the love of her children and her need to be here for them, as all mother's want to be, because they are needed.

Testing positively for a BrCa mutation is devastating. But there is power in having that knowledge.  The power of choice.  The power to live without fear.  The power to live...

All the best Ms. Jolie Pitt.  Wishing you peace, joy and a long, healthy life. You are an inspiration.


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