Dear Angelina


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Dear Angelina,

I want to thank you for sharing your bold and courageous decision to undergo prophylactic surgery to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. I applaud you for sharing this very private part of your life with such grace. Your influence on women around the world is undeniable, and I know your choices will have a transformational impact.

When I read your opinion piece in today’s New York Times, it stirred up a range of memories and emotions. I remember learning that I was BRCA positive and feeling as though I had the looming specter of death over my shoulder—a ticking time-bomb. Instead of basking in the glory of being alive, I was fixating on my risk of death. I relived those moments and emotions as I read your words, and I was sad knowing that you have had to go through this, yet joyful, at the thought of new-found freedom and peace of mind that you are likely feeling today.

The decision to remove your breasts to prevent cancer is one that thousands of women have had to face, but most of us have the luxury of forming that decision privately. Privacy to weigh your options, mourn your loss and celebrate your courage without the added stress and burden of public scrutiny. Making the decision to physically alter your body, a part of your body that is so intrinsically tied to your femininity and sex appeal, was agonizing for me and I did not have to endure tasteless headlines referring to the surgery as a new “boob job” like you are. Comparing the painful decision you just made to a Hollywood enhancement is frankly, disgusting. A mastectomy is a gruesome and painful procedure – both emotionally and physically. I am grateful for your willingness to shed light on this subject. By sharing your story you have saved others.

That feeling that you are wearing an iron bra under your skin will fade and so will the scars. You will begin to feel comfortable in your own body once again. The love and support of family and friends will help you immensely in the healing process. In this, you are blessed.

Life is precious,

Renee Nicholas
Breast Cancer Survivor, BRCA+

Renee's Treatment


  1. Fat Cyclist says:

    That was an incredibly well-written and — frankly — beautiful reply, Renee. I can’t even describe how much I admire you.

  2. Once again, Renee, you’ve shown how awesome you truly are. Awesome.

  3. Tom Jennings says:

    Wonderful piece Renee.

  4. Thank you for sharing your heart & your life. You are rare, treasured & genuine. I am blessed knowing that you shared your time to affirm someone that by Hollywood standards doesn’t need it… you know better… thank you for your compassion.

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