The star of stage and screen Vanessa Bell Calloway had always been diligent about her health. But when breast cancer struck, she had to make hard choices about what the healthiest choices would mean.Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway couldn’t helped but be moved by the recent editorial by fellow actressAngelina Jolie discussing her decision to have an preventative double mastectomy. In 2009, the veteran of stage, television, and film went in for a mammogram and was told the results looked“suspicious.” The co-star of the Showtime series“Shameless”—who appeared in the original Broadway production of “Dreamgirls” and became a familiar face to fans in the hit films “Coming to America,” “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” and “The Crimson Tide”—shares with Allison Samuels of The Daily Beast her head-butting battle with breast cancer, the lessons she learned about relinquishing control, and her plans for a healthier future for her two daughters.

“I can still remember sitting straight up in my bed one morning thinking something’s wrong. I didn’t know what it was and I didn’t know where it was, I just knew something wasn’t right and I couldn’t explain it. I told my husband, an anesthesiologist, about the feeling I had. First he asked if I was in pain and I said no and then he said not to worry, but of course I did anyway. I had that nagging feeling that all women get at one time or another when that little voice in our heads just won’t be silent.”

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