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The Angelina Challenge

GRRLS: Kat & Kris

The internet is abuzz with the recent news of super sexy mom of six, Angelina Jolie, and her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy. In her opinion piece for the New York Times, Jolie goes into the nitty gritty details of the three-month-long process of removing both of her breasts to prevent cancer. You see, Jolie has a very specific hereditary gene BRCA1 that increases the chances of breast and ovarian cancer by 87%, and having her own mother pass away from ovarian cancer at 53, she decided to take no risks. And she reminds the world that this choice is not vain or selfish, it’s yours.

“I do not feel any less of a woman,” Jolie writes. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

Femininity. What does it mean to be feminine? If we continue to measure ourselves against the ever-shifting standards of what it means to be a woman, we’re bound to come up short every time. Angelina’s drastic move to remove her breast tissue may not make sense to some people, especially those who admire her naturally amazing tatas. You know us, we love a good set of boobs. Conversely, it is also important to recognize that health comes first. It’s not easy going against the grain, but when your health is on the brink of being jeopardized, you gotta do what feels right for you. No one’s opinion should matter, besides yours and maybe, of course, your doctors. If you have that pinching gut feeling that maybe something your doctor said or didn’t say isn’t sitting right with you, YOU can take the reigns and get a second opinion. Nonetheless, Ms. Jolie encourages women that the standard of being a woman resides solely within you.

Using her celeb-power, Angelina humanizes breast and ovarian cancer. This is a big moment for women’s health. This has sparked a public discourse about women’s health and will hopefully debunk the worries that cloud the dreaded c-word. If there is a family history of it, the chances of you getting cancer are clearly escalated. This situation hit close to home to our grrls Kat and Kris, better known as Katriss.  Having had her grandmother pass away at the early age of 43 from breast cancer, Kat knows all too well how frightening it is to have that black genetic cloud lingering in the distance. Always walking into a doctor’s appointment thinking: is this the day they will find a lump? A piece of tissue that could end my life? Is it simply inevitable? The C word is terrifying for many reasons, but mostly because it can happen to anyone at any time in your life. Kat often thinks about her future and if that situation will be a part of it, and how she would handle it. And if in the foreseeable future, preventative measures become readily available to every working-class home, would she take the risk to avoid the risk?

The threat of cancer is downright scary. Angelina took preventative action and is fortunate enough to afford top notch health care. As empowering as it is, it is also frustrating for the lower to middle class women who do not have access to quality health care. Even if they do have access to health care, to call it quality can often times be a stretch. In Kristen’s post bidding farewell to her ovarian cyst baby Zordon, she was put in the position to challenge her doctor and seek a second opinion, because the clinic was treating her more like a number and less like a patient.

Even if you may not be able to afford a $3,000 gene test or costly breast reconstructive surgery, you can take other proactive measures for your health to minimize the risk of cancer and other illnesses. Look at Kris Carr for example. After being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer nearly a decade ago she turned her lifestyle around and made some major improvements on her health. She’s a true inspiration and through positivity, healthy diet, and taking full ownership over her health she is living a fun, crazy, sexy life with cancer.

At the end of the day, whether you’re Angelina Jolie, Kris Carr or just a gal in the world doing your thang, support is the utmost important factor when confronting any potentially major life threatening challenge. If you know someone experiencing health concerns be it physical or mental, the best thing to do is to make sure that you stand by their side and help them to get the help they need. It can be a very emotionally taxing period. Positivity and laughter truly are the best remedies. Surround yourself with loved ones, positive thoughts, and lots of laughter (maybe even a kitten or two).

Ultimately, the take away message here is that you are in control of your health. You owe it to yourself to be in the driver seat of your health Be proactive. If you’re worried or simply want to learn more about your health, making an appointment is the first step and don’t worry you’re never alone. No one is immune to health concerns, not even Laura Croft. Living in a dark hole of uncertainty and anxiety isn’t the best way to live. Angie put it best,

“Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”

What do you think about Angie’s choice for a double masectomy? Read her article in full here.

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