Fearless Love or Brave and Crazy

PhotoLong time LBBC blog contributor, Randi Rentz, shares her take on the latest news surrounding Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene. 


We all know that Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy has put genetic testing in the spotlight. In fact, no one will ever do for women diagnosed with the BRCA gene what Angelina Jolie did by openly talking about her decision to have a double mastectomy. And the decision to lose both breasts is not an easy one.


The question is; if you were Angelina Jolie would you have made this decision and made it this public? In truth she had no reason to discuss this procedure and could have kept it to herself never alerting anyone to the surgical changes to her body. For her the toughest decision might not have been deciding on the surgery, but choosing to share the information since her fame and fortune depend on her physical properties. After all, she is no doubt one of the most famous women in the world if not the most beautiful.


Did she make her decision because she was brave or was it out of fear? Well, if you ask Melissa Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor and rockin’ singer, she would probably say it was out of fear. Say what?! Whoa. Those are fightin’ words. I don’t think Brad Pitt is very happy about that.


I guess when you mess with Angelina; you mess with Brad, too. While I don’t know why anyone would ever want to mess with Brad Pitt outside the bedroom, apparently Melissa Etheridge is taking on the celeb couple.


Melissa Etheridge believes that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body. She feels it’s the stress that will turn that gene on or not. Ok, so that’s Melissa’s belief.


Hmmm. I get what Melissa is saying, and she is certainly entitled to her own opinion, but I have to say, I applaud Angelina’s decision and discussion.


No one ever wants to go under the knife.  At the end of the day, people make different choices and go down different paths, and the one that Angelina chose is different from Melissa’s. I’m sorry, Meliss, but I don’t think that warrants criticism over one decision or the other.


I am sorry that Melissa went through breast cancer, and I’m sorry that Angelina had to deal with this horrific disease as well, but to Angelina Jolie I say thank you! My guess is that women all over America who know they carry the BRCA gene or suspect they should get tested are reviewing their options or bringing this issue out to reexamine it-all because Angelina Jolie is talking about it. I have not been a big fan of Angelina, but I’m pretty impressed with her now.


Do you see where Melissa Etheridge is coming from? Do you think she was out of line to criticize Angelina’s decision?


Randi Rentz, graduated with honors from The Johns Hopkins University with a Masters degree in Special Education. She was an editorial assistant for a publishing company in suburban Washington, DC before becoming a special education teacher in a school district outside Philadelphia, PA. Randi currently is an Asperger’s Support Teacher for grades kindergarten through fifth. Presently, Randi has her own consulting company for children on the Autistic Spectrum where you can see her work at   www.helpforaspergers.com. She is a proud member, supporter, and blogger for many breast cancer organizations and never leaves the house without diamonds. Visit Randi at her web site at www.randirentz.com. Be sure to check out the teaser for her upcoming book “Why Buy a Wig…When You Can Buy Diamonds!”

12 thoughts on “Fearless Love or Brave and Crazy

  1. I’m with you Mrs, Rentz, I did some of the homework( modestly) on behalf of my Favorite cousin. My first subject was “What to say and what not to say, to someone w/ bc”. And what was her request about “what to say to other family members” So, immediately I latched on to LLBC’s site. I don’t know why anyone would ask M. Etheridge, about someone else’s decision to publicize their treatment for breast cancer, altho’ her music rocks. Mrs. Angelina Jolie, I never really thought of her as beautiful until,now. I am from the “Ann Jillian Show” era. At that time, Breast Cancer was a Death Sentence if you were an Entertainer, Mrs. Jillian was a bright upcoming Star. So, What’s the saying, ” We’ve come a long way, baby.” Progress has moved faster since people like Mrs. Jolie, openly discusses her treatment of her disease. Bravo, to Mrs. Angelina Jolie.

  2. I have never been a huge fan of AJ but I applaud her decision regarding her health. I also applaud her releasing the info on her own terms, The press today are animals. There is no such thing as a private life if they catch you doing anything personal, they will make a story about. I believe what she did was brave and smart. My opinion, just like Melissa Etheridge’s is worth the space it takes up. If someone cares, it does some good great. It is not meant to do any harm.

  3. I am a big fan of both Melissa and Angelina. I was shocked, impressed and inspired by Angelina’s openness about her decision and think it provided assurance and validation to many, many individuals around the world.

    Last month I attended a Melissa concert and all was good until she got to the intro to her anti-cancer theme “I run for life”. In her lead-up to the song she talked about her past and how she used to not always make the best decisions for her body and how the lifestyle you lead can have impacts on whether you develop cancer. She encouraged the crowd to make good, healthy decisions and take care of themselves. Taking care of yourself is a great message and it is accurate to some extent – but there are so many more cases where individuals have led healthy, happy lives and still come face to face with the diagnosis. As she was sang, I began to think of the youngest victims of cancer – the children who haven’t had a chance to make any significant choices – and burst into tears thinking about those precious, short lives and at the narrow-sightedness of her remarks.

    I think Melissa did live a rock-and-roll life style and now sees that it’s not a sustainable choice for her. Maybe that precipitated her cancer diagnosis, I don’t know. But we’re not all rock stars and even those of us who do try to live healthy, happy lives may face that dreaded diagnosis one day.

  4. I’ve been a fan of Melissa for a long time. I always felt that Angelina represented an unrealistic ideal – the magazine model with the body that young women starve themselves to try to achieve. Now I applaud Angelina for what was surely a wrenchingly difficult decision. Not everyone would have made the same choice, but it was hers to make. Melissa may have taken a completely different path, one that would have been right for her. No one has the right to second guess the decisions of another, especially in a situation that is so uncertain and so deeply personal.

  5. I think Angelina made the same decision women make every single day. We are not glorified and made a hero. I think she was not honest in how the recovery truly was because of her Hollywooding the situation. She didn’t have cancer, chemo, or radiation. What if her glossing over this very painful and life changing surgery is going to make her followers believe it is a piece of cake and they may even interpret it like a boob job because of her unrealistic description of a double mastectomy. What if she just Hollywooded her recovery so people wouldn’t actually be able to imagine what she really may look like now…after all, she uses her body to earn her paycheck. As for what Melissa E says, I would leave that between the two of them, just like the rest of us have to deal with what people say to us about our decisions, surgeries, and aftermath. I do not see one bit of this as a poor Angelina situation. This just actually means she is a regular woman, like the rest of us. Scarred and imperfect, making heavy decisions with life long consequences.

  6. I applaud Angelina Jolie for her sharing her decision to have a prophylactic double mastectomy in light of her family history and being a carrier of the abnormal gene increasing her risk for breast and ovarian cancer. I did not feel she made light of her decision or the procedure. I also take issue with Melissa E making the cancer patient responsible for getting cancer. Some choices in life style may contribute to your risk but cancer has many heads and some cannot be avoided regardless of healthy choices. Both women have a right to their own thought processes and choices but I do think being celebrities adds additional responsibility to be sure the public is aware that the ideas being projected are their own ideas and not absolute scientific fact unless they have data to back such a claim.

  7. I do applaud Mrs. Jolie. I have always liked her anyway. I come from a family where all 5 sisters got BC–I was the last to contract it. My mom died of ovarian, as Angelina’s did. My mom lived ten years with a very slow growing cancer and was able to see her first (and only) grandchild grow to ten years old, but my PCP’s nurse’s mom at the time–back in the 80’s–her mom (with ovarian as well) had passed on the next time I saw that nurse a month later. My aunt (mom’s sister) died of ovarian also–in 90 days! Everyone is different ! Sorry, but Melissa is NOT right. She should pay attention to her OWN life and mind her OWN business. We have the BRCA-1 gene in my family. I am negative. At least one of my sisters tested positive. Another, who died last year of pancreatic — after 3 bouts of BC over 38 years — God bless you, Joanie — most likely was positive for the gene. We all participated in a Mayo study back in the 80’s about the BRCA gene (to further advances in research) when they were just learning about it. Joanie wanted us all to, so we all did. I declined to know my gene results back then, but was again tested when I got Triple Negative (DX was in December 2011). Two of us had TN, the rest were all different. Go figure. I had been under A LOT of financial stress prior to the DX and not been following a good diet BECAUSE of the stress and giving plasma a lot for extra $. Who’s perfect. No one. I used to think people who had prophylactic surgery were out of their minds. I always thought I would be the one that didn’t get it. A little self-righteous of me, but hindsight is always 20/20 now isn’t it? Nuff said. ANGELINA, YOU GO GIRL. I think she did a lot for the cause and maybe insurance companies will get a clue that prophylactic is a good idea and cover it for us “poor folks”. LOL As for me, I depend on Bank of God. He’s never failed me yet !!!

  8. I was Team Aniston. Now I’m Team Angelina in Angie vs. Melissa. She is out of line to make such ludicrous comments. I fully support Angelina’s decision and her decision go public!! Go Angelina!!!

  9. Each woman has her own choice to make. I disagree with Jolie’s public statements on her choice, as I believe that encourages other women to unnecessarily “take the easy way out”. I am a 10 year breast cancer survivor who did not have the BRCA genes, I did not know that I didn’t have the genes until last year.

    It is up to each woman to make a choice on their treatment. I do feel that to just ‘chop all things off’ without a diagnosis, is a tad extreme. Especially with the advanced technologies in this field.

    I don’t consider Jolie to be any kind of pioneer. Those of us that have survived an actual diagnosis are the pioneers. I can’t fault her for being proactive when she has a chance anywhere from 50-80 percent of contracting the cancer, but I can’t glorify the decision either.

    I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. That gives me a greater risk of developing cancer in my other breast. 10 years, and God willing… I have not had a new or recurring cancer.

    To each her own on the matter. But don’t glorify one that (possibly) chose not to face the battle, when there are so many that have faced it and are thriving.

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