Angelina Jolie underwent the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes last week after receiving news that she could be displaying the early signs of cancer. And in hope of raising awareness for other women similarly at risk, she's written another revealing and highly moving op-ed for today's New York Times entitled "Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery." It chronicles her decision to undergo the operation after a blood test two weeks ago highlighted "a number of inflammatory markers" that, when combined, could be indicative of early signs of cancer.
Jolie wrote a similar piece when she underwent a preventative double mastectomy two years ago. Her latest operation will prevent the mother of six from having any more children.
In the candid letter she outlines her emotions after receiving the call telling her of her blood test results: "I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn't live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren."
Jolie has a history of cancer in her family—ovarian cancer caused her mother's death and her aunt and grandmother also died of the disease. Jolie also carries a rare BRCA1 gene which greatly increases her chances of ovarian and breast cancer.
In the letter, Jolie cites the continuing support of her husband Brad Pitt: "I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful."
She explains that further tests revealed she was tumor free, but she decided to undergo the operation on the basis that "doctors indicated I should have preventive surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in my female relatives." And while not every woman with her BRCA gene needs to undergo immediate surgery, she says, it was the right decision for her personally.
"I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer,'" she writes. "I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared."
And in a rousing poignant conclusion, she says: "It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power."
To read the full article, visit nytimes.com.