Angelina Jolie has revealed she has had a double mastectomy and is urging other women to seek information about their own risk of breast cancer.
She said her mother died from cancer at 56 and she wanted to be able to reassure her own children they didn't have to worry.
She said the surgery had decreased her chances of developing breast cancer from 87 percent to five percent.
MY MOTHER fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.
We often speak of "Mommy's mommy," and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a "faulty" gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.
Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.
Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.
On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work.
But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people's hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.
My own process began on Feb. 2 with a procedure known as a "nipple delay," which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area. This causes some pain and a lot of bruising, but it increases the chance of saving the nipple.
Two weeks later I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life.
Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that's it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.
I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. 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. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has.
For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.
I acknowledge that there are many wonderful holistic doctors working on alternatives to surgery. My own regimen will be posted in due course on the Web site of the Pink Lotus Breast Center. I hope that this will be helpful to other women.
Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.
I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.
Before I Was A Mom... Before I was a Mom... I made and ate hot meals. I had unstained clothing. I had quiet conversations on the phone. Before I was a Mom I slept as late as I wanted And never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and teeth every day. Before I was a Mom I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations. Before I was a Mom I had never been: Puked on Pooped on Spit on Chewed on Peed on Or pinched by tiny fingers. Before I was a Mom I had complete control of: My thoughts My body And my mind. I slept all night. Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child So that doctors could do tests or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep. Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just Because I didn't want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces When I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom. Before I was a Mom I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know that bond between a mother and a child. I didn't know something so small could make me feel so important. Before I was a Mom I had never gotten up in the middle of the night To make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth The love The heartache The joy Or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much Before I was a Mom.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival announced some schedule changes on its two largest stages for Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5. On Saturday, Fleetwood Mac's start time moves up from 5:10 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. Little Big Town also moves up 30 minutes (from 3:10 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.) and the earlier shows move up by shorter increments.
On Sunday at the Gentilly Stage, Hall & Oates' start time moves up from 4 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., and Irma Thomas' set begins at 2 p.m. instead of 2:10 p.m. There are also minor adjustments to every act on the Acura Stage except Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue's closing set.
Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several resources that may help.
Recognize the warning signs that your child is involved in bullying. They could be being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing bullying. Although these signs could signal other issues, you should talk to your child if they display any sort of behavioral or emotional changes. Many times kids won’t ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for. If your child is at immediate risk of harming himself or others, get help right away.
Learn what bullying is and what it is not. Understanding what bullying is is the first step in forming a plan to prevent or respond to bullying with your child. Many behaviors that look like bullying may be just as serious, but may require different response strategies. You can also learn about:
Utilize tips and tools to talk to your child about bullying. Opening lines of communication before your child is involved in bullying makes it easier for them to tell you when something happens. It is also important to work with a school to help prevent bullying before it starts.
If you know or suspect bullying has occurred, learn how to find out what has happened with your child. Understanding what has happened can also help in communicating with school or community officials about the situation.
If bullying is occurring at school, learn about what your state requires schools to do in your state’s anti-bullying law. Learn also about federal laws that require schools to address harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, and disabilities and ways to report situations that have not been adequately addressed to the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.
If you have worked with your child and your school and need additional assistance, find resources to help address the situation.
Recently we got to visit teh Arc Of St. Charles winner of our Magic Offcie Stress break a organization that helps special needs and disabled people reach there full potential and was touched by the people there so I'd like to promote the 9th ANNUAL WALK FOR AUTISM AWARENESS to be held on April 20, 2013, at First Baptist New Orleans (5290 Canal Blvd., New Orleans, LA). This is a wonderful new venue which can accommodate our Walk even if it rains! And we are very excited to have Mike Hoss of WWL-TV return as our honorary Emcee! We will also have music, food, a silent auction, lots of fun activities, and a wide variety of representatives from agencies who serve individuals with Autism.
Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, This selection is a huge surprise. Pope Francis is the first Latin American pope, for one thing. For another, he was not among the front runners. The cardinals made a bold choice! Here's what we know about former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio so far.
As we said, this is the first Catholic pope from Latin America. He was born in Buenos Aires in 1936.
He is 76 years old.
He is the first to take the name "Francis." The name symbolizes "poverty, humility, simplicity, and rebuilding the Catholic church," says CNN Vatican expert John Allen.
He lives simply. He reportedly cooks his own meals and gave up the chauffeured limo cardinals are entitled to. Instead, he takes a bus to work. He gave up a lavish cardinal's residence and lives in a small apartment.
In college Pope Francis studied chemistry. He worked as a professor, teaching philosophy, literature, and psychology.
He is known for his commitment to social justice.
On the other hand, he is also known as a doctrinal conservative who opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, and euthanasia.
Like I always say, I still miss the Saenger but saw "Flashdance the Musical" at the Mahalia Jackson last night. Yes was a fan of the movie back in 83 and yes big crush on Jennifer Beals. So the play follow's the movie. Alex works in a steel mill as a welder by day and at night dances in a bar that's more dance than a Bourbon St. bar if you know what i mean. She dreams of being accepted at a prestigious dance school. Meanwhile she gets involved with her boss, working for his grandfather, the owner of the company. Like the movie it’s a likable story, a pure Cinderella story where the rebel girl gets the prince and lives happily ever after. What I loved was the lead role Alex is very pretty young girl and to me looked alot like Jennifer Beals from the movie and she can move like Magic and yes the movie "water" dance is in the play. Her supporting cast is great; the other girl dancers are scantily clad and very muscular but very talented dancing and singing. And her love interest (The Boss) sings really great, enjoyed the duets.
Then there are some side stories with another couple which was good for the storyline and like in the movie we get to see Alex's elderly and most trusted friend die. (Much sadder and more crying in the movie). There are a lot of side stories that might distract some but it can’t be all dancing. A lot of the songs are not from the movie (it wasn't a musical of course) but you’ll recognize the big ones like, "Maniac" and “What a Feeling” and the song “Gloria," which was a popular 80’s song not in the movie. But the star of the show is the dancing. They really dance thier hearts out the whole show and along with a great storyline make Flashdance very entertaining.
Tickets: On Sale Now for $32 - $90
Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 8:00pm
Friday, March 1, 2013 at 8:00pm
Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm