PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lights, Camera, MASTECTOMY

Wait, what?

Back in 2009 when I first heard of preventative mastectomy as an option to manage my breast cancer risk, I hadn't really heard of anyone else who had the surgery. It seemed like such a radical option at the time and I was sure that if I did have it that I would be one of the few (like with Cowden's)

Fast forward to 2010 when I made the decision to have the mastectomy. I found great resources! Namely the FORCE message boards. But there was really still no one making headlines for having this surgery.

In 2011, I discovered and became  part of a group called Young Previvors   on Facebook. We've grown, have a public page and loads of daughter group now. But WOW. People my age and YOUNGER were having this surgery. But still, no celebrity behind it.

But that would soon change.

Let's see if I can remember all of the people: Christina Applegate, Sharon Osbourne, Giulana Rancic, Trisha Frick, Allyn Rose, Kara Dioguardi, E.D. Hill, Robin Roberts (the list goes on..)

But I was most surprised to see this:

My Medical Choice that by Angelina Jolie? As in the woman who was so sexy that with one smoldering look she broke up Jennifer Aniston's marriage to Brad Pitt (The gorgeous man he is?) The woman who is arguably still one of the sexiest women alive? SHE cut her breasts off?

Yep. And didn't even have cancer.

Now, this is an awesome move by her to raise awareness for our community. If someone like her cuts off her breasts to save her life....I mean I doubt she's really losing any of her looks. To me, now she's not only a gorgeous woman and a sub-par....ehhh she's ok...actress. She's a fellow previvor. And that makes her a tad bit more human.

However I would like to point out that there have been women for years struggling with the same choices and decisions Ms. Jolie-Pitt herself struggled with. WE set the trend on this one :)

My hope is that having a preventative mastectomy isn't glamorized now. I've already heard the word trend thrown around (yes I used it jokinhgly above). Like last season it was a Coach purse, this season it's foobs. And that makes me cringe. Having a mastectomy is a gut wrenching, soul crushing decision. But those of us who choose that route, make the decision with our heads held high, taking a deep breath, and plunging in. Regardless of what could happen. There are those of us who make it seem like a breeze and those of us (like me) who have every complication known to man.But, in the words of a fellow previvor friend, take heart. We now have the same scars as the sexiest woman alive.

**Please take a few minutes to check out: Young Previvors and read a collection of stories of women who have decided to take control of their destiny. You may even see a familiar face... me not Angelina ;) ***