Over the past couple of weeks, a lot of people have been asking me my opinion on the op-ed that Angelina Jolie wrote about her preventative double mastectomy. First of all, it’s awesome that any of you care about my opinion, so thank you! Second, I think she’s a God damn rockstar and the op-ed ruled.
Let me start by pointing out what I think is its single flaw: She really glossed over the whole mastectomy part of it. I don’t want to scare those of you who may one day need this procedure – it’s saved millions of lives and obviously I am doing fine these days (and looking pretty damn good if I do say so myself, tried on a bikini the other day and my new boobs are rockin’) – but seriously, she covered the whole thing in one sentence, like it was a cavity filling. Maybe my experience was more extreme than others, but I literally couldn’t sit up for nearly a week after my mastectomy. I didn’t shower for like nine days because I couldn’t stand up long enough, and I wasn’t allowed to take a bath. I wore the same pair of pajamas for a fortnight.
And don’t even get me started on the drains. THE DRAINS. They’re like a medieval torture device designed to be as painful and inconvenient as possible, all while also being unbearably disgusting. While I had my drains in, I was on Skype with my friend Danielle and her roommate Megan, and I lifted up my pajama top to show them where the drain went into my skin, and MEGAN FAINTED AND HAD TO GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. True story. That’s how disgusting these drains are.
I hope Angie had an easier time with her procedure than I did, but assuming she had an experience even remotely similar to mine which included a lot of pain, vomiting and Law & Order, I think she’d do us all a favor by just admitting that it really sucked balls there for a few weeks. It’s all fine now and I don’t regret my choice even for one second, but I don’t want to lie to you all. It was miserable for a little while. But 100% worth it.
I also want to take this opportunity to clear up a little confusion about what a mastectomy is these days. When people hear the word – and certainly when I first did – they imagine a scarred, pitted crater where a breast used to be. But Angie and I actually had the same procedure (twinsies! BFFs!), which is a skin-sparing and nipple-sparing mastectomy with immediate implant-based reconstruction. With this option, my new breasts look natural. And awesome. The only thing indicating that they’ve been tampered with is a thin, light scar that runs from the outer side of my nipple to just before my armpit. So when you picture Angie and I as mastectomy survivors, think less sad cancer coffee table book portrait and more Pamela Anderson.
My favorite thing about Angelina Jolie’s op-ed, though, was this line:
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.
It’s hard to struggle with a cancer that messes with your sexuality, especially when you’re in your sexual prime (me) or the sexiest woman in the world (also me. Just kidding. Obviously that’s Angelina). And it’s weird to think about my future as a woman when I’m missing one of the defining parts of being a woman, even if no one knows I’m missing it but me. I think Angelina Jolie very eloquently captured the idea that those of us who make this choice do so because we are strong, empowered and determined – qualities that are far more important than breasts when it comes to defining fierce, beautiful, inspiring women.
By the way, my second favorite thing about the op-ed is when she just casually mentions that Brad Pitt is her partner, like we didn’t know. DUH BRANGELINA WE KNOW YOU GUYS ARE ADORABLE.