I was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer in December of 2012. Even though I had mammograms every year and sometimes sonograms it was not detected until I had bone metastasis. At this point I had bone lesions on hip, vertebrae, both femurs and skull. This situation caused me so much pain and discomfort that I could not get into bed without help, needed a cane, then walker and then a wheelchair. I needed radiation to heal the pain in my bones. It did a great job but the radiation wiped out the good bacteria in my gastro tract and I had digestion problems for months afterward while eating a bland diet and taking probiotics. I now take anti estrogen treatment and injections to heal bone. I live knowing there is no cure for stage IV breast cancer and wait to see when I will get more metastasis in my lungs, liver, or brain. This is now a chronic condition and with it comes fear and vigilance at best. I did not lose my mother at an early age with breast cancer but if I had a warning like that perhaps I would have had my tissue removed and then reconstruction to give me perky new breasts. After all I breast fed my children for four years.


I could not respond using the link provided on the prevention of breast CA via mastectomy. I am writing because I was disturbed by the commentary which asserts that Jolie's choice was somehow unnatural. She probably made a personal choice empowered by her mother's medical history and early death, her own risk, her lifestyle, and her desires for the future. Doctors do not go around lopping off women's breasts, but give patients the risks and benefits of treatment options so that they can make the best choice in the context of personalized care. As a physician and a woman with a strong family history of breast cancer, I understand the experience of going to a high risk breast cancer clinic for genetic counseling and undergoing procedures to ensure my health for myself and the family that counts on me. People at high risk who do not yet have evidence of the disease are asked to make tough decisions about their own lives based on probabilities. The last thing they need to do is worry about what people who have not walked in their shoes think about their. Jolie is a working wife and mother with six children. The practical need to retain her own breast tissue for biological reasons is now limited. Further, she has sufficient resources to have breast reconstruction. She is smart because she make the decision for herself, brave not because she had the mastectomy-- but was willing to show other women that they have choices, and hopefully loved by her husband and children because of it an not in spite of it.

As women, we need to see all sides and support each other. I expected something different.......


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