Some would call it a brave move. Others might see it as fear based.
Angelina Jolie revealed that she underwent a double mastectomy to prevent getting breast or ovarian cancer. According to the New York Times, Jolie tested genetically positive for the BRCA1 gene that greatly increases a women’s risk for ovarian and breast cancers. Her mother died at age 56, from ovarian cancer. Jolie wants to be around to raise her children and says she is sharing her story with the public in the hopes of bringing awareness to one way of preventing these types of cancers.
The National Cancer Institute tells us that the gene BRCA1 and BRCA2 are genetic mutations associated with the risk of ovarian and breast cancers. The genes can be determined by a blood test at a hospital or doctor’s office and sent to a lab that specializes in these screenings. The cost of the test ranges from hundreds to several thousand dollars, and may or may not be covered by insurance. For a celebrity, that is not a problem, but for the average woman, cost can be prohibited.
Dr. Michael Sabel, associate professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School says, “The dilemma we’re facing is more and more women are choosing to remove both breasts. We’re greatly overestimating the risk of women with breast cancer developing another breast cancer.”
Do you agree?
Would you get tested for the genes if cost wasn’t an issue?
If you tested positive, would you have a double mastectomy like Jolie did?
Let’s get the conversation started.
Rachel was worried about her finances. Recently divorced, she was barely making payment on all her bills. Her hours at work had been cut, her savings was dwindling and money was tight. She was surviving, but couldn’t stop worrying about the future. All she could think about was, “What if…” It was getting so bad that her friends suggested she see a counselor.
How does Rachel stop worrying when she is so anxious about her future?
1) First, she has to let go of the idea that worry is useful. In talking with Rachel, she believed that worry was a way for her to take control of her life. In other words, Rachel felt like worrying was doing something. It was useful to her in some weird way. But Rachel had to let go of that idea because when we truly believe that worry has no place in our lives, this is the beginning of freedom.
2) Rachel had to engage her will. In Luke 21:14, Jesus urged the disciples to make up their minds not to worry. This indicates that we must make a choice not to worry, that we have to decide not to allow worry in to the moment. This involves looking at your thoughts and replacing worried thoughts with thoughts of hope and peace. Thoughts of hope and peace are rooted in faith.
3) Faith has to do with trusting God. Worry is based on doubting God. In order to worry, we have to wonder if God is who He says He is. When trouble comes and we don’t understand, the temptation is to ascribe to God some negative motive like, He doesn’t care, He isn’t with me, or He caused the bad things to happen. Sometimes, we assign attribution to God that is not part of his character. When this happens, we doubt and worry creeps in.
If we are not familiar with who God is, it is hard to trust Him because we don’t know His character. For most people, this means reading their Bible to get a better understanding of who God is. Bible reading reminds us daily of God’s promises and who He is. Trust is based on knowing God and realizing that His promises are true. To let go of worry, you have to trust. Fill your mind with truth by daily reading Scripture.
The way you think about marriage matters. When marriage is reduced to a set up conditions, you do this, I’ll do that… and as long as we are happy, we stay together, you’ve missed God’s design for marriage.
Do you think of your marriage as a contract?
Yes, marriage is a legal contract, but it is also a covenant. Meaning, marriage is a vow you make to your partner for life, an unbreakable promise.
Would your marriage be different if you believed you had to make it work no matter what?
Would you try harder?
Would you base fewer of your reactions on feelings, and more on working together?
Would you look outside the marriage to get your needs met?
Would you extend forgiveness more often?
Would you deal with anger faster, stop avoiding conflict and try to resolve issues?
Would you focus more on the positive attributes of your partner, trying to build that person up, not tear down?
The answers to these questions depend on what you believe about covenant relationships. If in the back of your mind, you believe you can get out of the marriage, the exit door is always open. This thinking impacts your behavior.
So I challenge you, start thinking of your marriage as more than contract. Think about it as a life long relationship, as a commitment that won’t be broken, and see how that thinking changes your relationship.
This weekend lots of flowers and cards will be sent to moms who raise daughters and sons. Usually this weekend causes us to reflect on our mother-daughter relationship. It doesn’t seem to matter if our relationship is great, terrible or somewhere in between, all daughters have issues with their moms that need to be worked through in order to develop intimacy or a more meaningful relationship.
Because our relationship with our mothers affects all our other relationships, the more we work on making peace and finding a meaningful connection, the more skilled we will be at all other relationships. Our relationship with mom is one of the closest bonds two people can share. That kind of intimacy requires us to define ourselves apart from her and still be emotionally engaged. This is the work we must do in all healthy relationships–be separate but still attached. The better we work it out with our moms, the better moms we will be to our own children.
Sometimes women ask me, “Why do I still feel 10 years old when I’m with my mom and then like a competent women when I’m not?” The reason is you haven’t worked through the issues with your mom. You are still that child trying to win her approval and get something from her she is unable to give. Instead of waiting to be approved or validated, you may have to grieve those childhood losses and move on. Then get realistic about what she can give you and see if she is willing to work on your relationship issues and grow the relationship.
You may also have to work on your emotional reactions to her and learn to take your position on any issue without becoming highly defensive or overly emotional. And there are times when you must learn to “drop the rope”, to let go of tension and not make every difference an issue.
When she doesn’t do what you think she should, do you become angry? We want our moms to be what we want them to be rather than understanding them for who they really are. And when we have an intimate relationship, we take liberties with our emotions. In other words, we let loose because we know she’ll love us anyway and won’t leave or give up on us in most cases. So in some ways, she’s safe.
So this Mother’s Day, work on this important intimate relationship that sets the stage for all others. See if you can strengthen the bond, work through your issues and make it a day you look forward to celebrating each year.
For more help building this intimate connection, click on the book cover, I Love My Mother But…