By now, all of you have heard about Angelina Jolie's controversial (for some reason) decision to have prophylactic mastectomies, after learning she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation. She made a difficult, personal choice -- personal being the operative word here.
If Jolie had had a genetic mutation that caused, I don't know, spleen cancer (is that a thing?), no one would be saying SHIT about prophylactic removal of the body part. In the question of a not entirely essential internal organ against a life, there is absolutely no doubt what the "correct" choice is.
But because she elected to remove her breasts, to certain segment of the population, that seems to be akin to death. To them, "her breasts or her life?" is actually a conundrum.
Some women would not make the same choice as Jolie, some would. The wonderful thing about that is that there is a choice.
Jolie is incredibly brave to share this with the world, and open herself up to such intense criticism. I received a few idiotic comments about my own prophylactic mastectomy of my right breast, and I was crushed.
A mastectomy fucking sucks. It's painful for weeks. Even when the pain is gone, there are odd sensations -- the fact of your skin being numb, having implants that move up and down every time your pec muscles flex. Then there are the endless complications -- seromas, infections, frozen shoulder, lymphedema... the list goes on and on.
And I do feel sad about my mastectomies. For a while, I went through a period of self doubt, and wasn't sure I had made the right choice to remove the healthy breast. Then I realized that every time I had a sad thought about my disappeared breasts, I was thinking about the left side. The cancer side, not the healthy side. My sadness comes from having had cancer, not from my decision.
I was going to end with a list of the awful comments made about Jolie, but there's not much point. (If you're interested, you can do a Twitter or Google search.) I get the sense that many of these people have no personal experience with cancer. And they are lucky. But so am I, and so is Jolie. Even without proper titties.