Saturday, May 25, 2013

A letter to Angelina Jolie

My dear Angelina,

The world is singing paeans to your bravery and heroism……..but I am struggling to find meaning in your actions. You have willingly chosen to have a double mastectomy as a preventive measure against breast cancer. A double mastectomy……any woman’s worst nightmare. When you tested positive for the BRCA1 gene and were told that you had a 87% chance of getting breast cancer, did the doctor not spell out the other non-invasive monitoring mechanisms? Like regular breast self-examination and screening both clinically and technologically at periodic intervals? Were you not told that breast cancer can be cured if detected sufficiently early? Were you aware that if you did not chop off your breasts and were at some stage to contract the disease, the treatment would have involved surgical removal of the lump only (if detected early) and at worst the whole breast?

So what have you done? You have put yourself through an agonising procedure even WITHOUT the disease.  For all you know you could have been in the lucky 13% but you messed it up big time. You did not give yourself a chance. Poor misguided soul……..I feel really sorry for you. Only a person of sound mind is allowed to take decisions… were you allowed to…….because a mind gripped and paralysed by fear is not sound.

I am wondering how far this fear and insecurity will take you.  Which organ goes next? The ovaries of course and then I suppose the uterus and definitely the appendix and the gall bladder and perhaps stents in the arteries before they get clogged or even better a bypass surgery. And, then, I suppose you, Angelina Jolie, (or whatever is left of you) expect to live happily ever after. Amen!

You may say that it is your body and your life. So go ahead, but why glorify it? Aided and abetted by the media which is putting you on a pedestal and making poor gullible individuals out there wishing they had the money to safeguard themselves in similar fashion.

You seem to have forgotten that we are all mortal. While we are alive, we should live healthy and eat healthy,  and revere our body, but where is the wisdom in trying to fix something before it is broken and at what cost? You may feel that by removal of your breasts you have eliminated the possibility of suffering associated with cancer. You may think you have outsmarted the Creator who wrote your destiny………but He is having the last laugh…….He can see that, breast cancer or not, …… have inflicted on yourself all the physical and mental trauma that breast cancer diagnosis brings - dis-figuration of the body and fear of suffering and death. You will be fine, yes, till you are consumed by the next fear.

There is a very thin line between heroism and foolhardiness……depends on where you are looking from. Your actions remind me of the story of Don Quixote and the Windmills.

May God bless you with good sense and faith.

Yours affectionately,


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. Its important to remind people of the need for preventive care and also not to fear cancer so much that its viewed as a death sentence. So much illiteracy and misinformation floats around and especially in developing countries like India people dont even bother to get treated early for cancer - believing in their pre-ordained destiny to die - and fear-sparked actions like "nitwit" Angelina only add to all the misconceptions and fears....

    A two time cancer survivor!