I don't know what to think about Angelina Jolie.
It's not really my place to think about her, or have an opinion about what she's done... except that she's made it public that she had both breasts removed which invites the public into her private life. Now of course there is buzz all over the place with feature acticles on breast cancer and genetics and prevention and so on. There are opinions offered on both sides: she was brave; she was foolish.
Jolie discovered she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer due to a defective gene and decided to take the offensive approach. What would you have done in her place? Would you roll the dice that you'd live out your life in the 13% free and clear margin?
I honestly don't know. I don't know how I feel about a woman taking such drastic action. Is it drastic action to take? Or is it smart? I don't know my family medical history very well - one of the negative results of moving as much as we have - but I think every grandparent and aunt and uncle has died of some form of cancer or other (my dad's condition had to do with his blood and wasn't cancerous) so I suppose it's a near certainty I'll find myself getting the same diagnosis eventually. So should I resign myself to it now? Remove my womb or my breasts or my lungs so I wont develop that dread disease later? Even with her breasts gone, she still has a 5% chance of getting cancer so her drastic action doesn't net her a guarantee.
Part of me feels that is a defeatist approach to life. I don't see it as brave or wise. But I also don't wish the experience of cancer and cancer treatments on anyone, especially not a mother of young children.
Part of me feels it is a denial of faith. Not because I believe that since I have faith God will spare me from cancer or that faith alone will cure me of cancer. I am a rational being. I know that God expects us to make use of our gifts and talents to help ourselves and that making use of medical treatments is not a denial of God Himself.
But my faith also tells me that there is nothing to fear from suffering or death. If the choice were up to me, I definitely wouldn't choose to endure cancer, but I know that if it came to be, I would endure. Even death cannot take from me the most important thing: my eternal soul. My goal is not to get through life with my body in one piece with as little inconvenience as possible; my goal is to get through life with my soul intact and hopefully be granted a place in the Presence of God. I believe even in the terrible circumstance of cancer, God would bring some good from it, for me or for someone else.
I don't seek out death. I'm not deliberately putting myself at risk of cancer or other diseases. I believe health is a gift and a responsibility. Where I'm torn is at the question of whether removal of significant parts of the body with the hope staving off a future condition - a possible, not a certain condition is wise and responsible or not. Has Jolie forged a new path for women in the fight against breast cancer? Will full, double mastectomies become common preventative action?
I'm rambling without intent. I don't know what it is I want to say, if anything at all. I guess I'm just sharing my confusion with you.