With six kids, celebrations are hardly a rare occasion in Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s household!
But this March, the family marked the one-year anniversary of an event that, at the time, was not necessarily happy: Angelina’s double mastectomy.
Born with a gene linked to cancer, “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer, and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer,” explained Angelina, whose mother died of the latter disease. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive."
Three surgeries later, the arduous process is far from over. “There’s still another surgery to have,” the 38-year-old admits. Her ovaries need to be removed, which means she will no longer be able to have natural children, a painful prospect.
Still, "she feels very fortunate to have the six children she has with Brad," a friend tells Closer. "They are totally devoted to caring for those kids."
For women with Angie’s genetic makeup, “keeping your ovaries comes with a lifetime risk of ovarian cancer as high as 54 percent,” says Angie's doctor, Kristi Funk, the Medical Director of the Pink Lotus Breast Center.
“I advise patients to remove their ovaries as soon as childbearing is complete, or by age 40.” The procedure will immediately put Angie into menopause, though hormone replacement therapy can help with hot flashes and night sweats.
Brad and Angie have breaks in their schedules this summer, so she’s likely to have the surgery then. “It’s usually a laproscopic outpatient operation,” says Dr. Funk. “The recovery should last a week, assuming all goes well.”
Her spirits will no doubt be lifted by her children: Maddox, 12; Pax, 10; Zahara, 9; Shiloh, 7: and twins Knox and Vivienne, 5. Angelina has said, "We laugh and we play, and I'm light again...they've brought that back in my life."
She’s also been lucky to have a deeply caring man by her side: “Brad was [there] for every minute of her three surgeries,” Dr. Funk reports.
No matter what lies ahead, Angelina is ensuring she’ll be there to celebrate all the birthdays yet to come in her happy home. “All I want is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children,” Brad explains. And that’s all Angie wants too.
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