After Angelina Jolie took a genetic test that revealed she carried the BRCA1 gene — which makes her prone to breast cancer — she knew she had to do something about it. The actress, 44, revealed that she “had a double mastectomy and later removed my ovaries and fallopian tubes” so that she could live longer and be around for her children.
“I’m often asked how my medical choices, and being public about them, have affected me,” she wrote in a candid essay for Time magazine, which was published on Thursday, October 24. “I simply feel I made choices to improve my odds of being here to see my children grow into adults, and of meeting my grandchildren.”
The California native — who shares six kids with her ex-husband Brad Pitt: Maddox, 18, Pax, 15, Zahara, 14, Shiloh, 13, and twins Vivienne and Knox, both 11 — continued to explain how she was sad that her mother couldn’t get to know her grandchildren due to her battle with cancer. “My hope is to give as many years as I can to their lives, and to be here for them,” she said. “I have lived over a decade now without a mom. She met only a few of her grandchildren and was often too sick to play with them. It’s hard now for me to consider anything in this life divinely guided when I think of how much their lives would have benefited from time with her and the protection of her love and grace.”
Angelina added, “My mother fought the disease for a decade and made it into her 50s. My grandmother died in her 40s. I’m hoping my choices allow me to live a bit longer.”
In May 2013, the Maleficient star announced she made the decision to get a double mastectomy. Then, in 2015, she removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes. Even though the Hollywood A-lister still has to get “regular health checkups,” she is grateful for a second chance. “I see and feel changes in my body, but I don’t mind,” she admitted. “I’m alive, and for now I am managing all the different issues I inherited. I feel more connected to other women, and I often have deeply personal conversations with strangers about health and family.”
At the end of the day, Angelina is happy she spoke out about her issues and hopes she can help others who may be struggling. “People also ask how I feel about the physical scars I carry,” she said. “I think our scars remind us of what we have overcome. They are part of what makes each of us unique. That diversity is one of the things that is most beautiful about human existence.”
Amen. You’re such an inspiration, Angelina.
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