“Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.” And so ends Angelina Jolie‘s 5.14 N.Y. Times Op-Ed piece, “My Medical Choice,” in which she reveals she underwent a double mastectomy operation last February. The motive was to guard against a high likelihood that she would one day succumb to breast cancer due to a “faulty” inherited gene called BRCA1.
“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy,” Jolie explains. “But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
“[In mid February] I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life.
“Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.”