Angelina Jolie’s surgeon has blogged about how the Hollywood actress was up and working with “bountiful energy” on her next film project just four days after having her double mastectomy, her surgeon said.
Dr Kristi Funk hailed the “bold” Oscar-winning actress’s positive attitude as she underwent three operations — two in February and one in April — to remove tissue and reconstruct her breasts. Jolie decided to have the procedures after discovering she carried a faulty gene that increased her risk of breast cancer.
“To a large extent, I believe recovery reflects expectation. Angelina expected to feel well, to be active,” Funk wrote in a blog post entitled A Patient’s Journey: Angelina Jolie.
Brad Pitt, with whom Jolie has six children, attended all three operations at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills, starting on Feb 2 with a “nipple delay” procedure which lessens the risk of losing the nipples. After the first operation, wrote Funk, “her skin was slightly bruised but soon returned to normal. Two days after her procedure, great news arrived: the tissue behind both nipples came back completely normal.”
The main surgery was on Feb 16, and “went smoothly”, she wrote. Two days later, good news: “The pathology returned and I called Angelina to confirm our biggest hope: all of the breast tissue was benign.
“On day four after her mastectomies, I was pleased to find her not only in good spirits with bountiful energy, but with two walls in her house covered with freshly assembled story boards for the next project she is directing. All the while she spoke, six [surgical] drains dangled from her chest, three on each side, fastened to an elastic belt around her waist.”
The final operation was carried out on Apr 27, 10 weeks after the mastectomies, reconstructing the breasts with implants, “which went extremely well, bringing an end to her surgical journey”, she said.
The article gave comprehensive details about the surgical procedures and drugs involved in the double mastectomy, which Jolie revealed in an op-ed piece in The New York Times.
Speaking outside the Beverly Hills clinic, Funk said she hoped Jolie’s decision to have the operation — and to go public with it — would lead other at-risk women to take action.
“We hope that the awareness she is raising around the world will save countless lives,” she said, adding that the clinic “applauds Angelina Jolie’s bold choices regarding her BRCA mutation”.
In her article, the actress, whose mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56, encouraged women to address threats to their health.
Referring to the Beverly Hills clinic by name, she said she was confirmed as having the “faulty” gene, BRCA1, and that doctors gave her an 87% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer.
Meanwhile, Jolie’s father Jon Voight has told how he only found out that his daughter had undergone a double mastectomy when he read the news — despite having just seen the actress.
The actor said that he “absolutely” respected his daughter’s decision not to tell him about the operation: “My love and admiration for my daughter can’t be explained in words. I saw her two days ago with my son, Jamie. We all got together for his birthday, with her and Brad [Pitt]. But I didn’t know. It wasn’t obvious at all. I found out [Tuesday] morning.
“I was as surprised as anyone and deeply moved by the way she’s handled this. She’s a very extraordinary person, the way she examined it and what she shared.”
The actor, who reconciled with his daughter after the pair fell out in 2001, said of Angelina keeping him in the dark: “I completely understand. I want the focus to be on the inspiration.”
He said he spoke to his daughter after learning about the procedure, saying: “She just explained to me and educated me on this stuff.”
*Read Dr Funk’s blog post at http://exa.mn/ir
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