Angelina Jolie’s New York Times article about electing to have a double mastectomy has been all over the news today. Here is Tari’s response:
You are lucky indeed. Your femininity has not be been damaged and your kids are not seeing anything that makes them uncomfortable.
But you are wrong to say “mommy is the same as she always was”.
When one is really touched by cancer in this way, you are not the same. You have been changed.
You are different because:
You have been touched by the terror of thinking you could get cancer. Imagine what it feels like to be told, “You have cancer”.
You are now aware of the risks and struggles others who do not have access to the testing for this faulty gene.
You are indebted to a supportive husband, fine doctors and the best modern Western medicine, and adequate insurance coverage.
And you are now happy you are not a cancer survivor.
You are a lucky one but you are changed forever.
Thank you for sharing your story to inspire other women to make this difficult decision. You are also lucky that there has been so much research on the faulty genes that can cause this type of breast cancer to help you make this decision.
Would the same amount of money that is poured into breast cancer diagnostic tools and treatments be available for other cancers, there would be many more lucky souls like yourself and fewer cancer survivors living with the life-long threat of their cancer returning. (Victims of this Emperor of Maladies)
But you still are at risk of cancer… all the other kinds of cancer, not just breast cancer. Your job is not over. What you did was prevention on one level. What you must do for yourself and your children every day to prevent any cancer is to keep your immune system strong and alert, eat smart, exercise, be happy, and of course, do yoga.