Angelina Jolie shocked many of us early Tuesday when she announced her decision to undergo a double mastectomy earlier this year. The reason? To decrease her risk of developing breast cancer.
"My mother [Marcheline Bertrand] fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56," she wrote in a New York Times op-ed. "We often speak of 'Mommy’s mommy,' and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us."
Jolie is a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, giving her an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent of developing ovarian cancer. She didn't want to play the odds, so she opted to remove her breasts and drastically cut her chances.
Such a decision is life altering for any woman but especially for a mother of six children. Luckily, she had fiancé Brad Pitt through the whole ordeal — and he can't stop talking about her strength through the journey.
"Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie's choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic. I thank our medical team for their care and focus," he told the U.K. Daily Standard on Tuesday. "All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family."
The actress — who opted to have her breasts reconstructed with implants — added that she only has "small scars" left.
And Pitt likely has something to do with that. While we don't doubt that Jolie could have triumphed over this on her own, having love in her life probably helped her heal.
"I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive," Jolie wrote. "So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition."
And Jolie is right: Dr. Jennifer Landa, chief medical officer of BodyLogicMD and author of The Sex Drive Solution for Women, says that love promotes the release of oxytocin, an essential hormone that promotes growth and repair.
"Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together," Jolie added. "We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer.
"And it has."
A real-life happy ending!
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