Featured Survivor – Debby Sousa
Name: Debby Sousa
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Diagnosis: Triple negative breast cancer (quite aggressive)
Age diagnosed: 38
Favorite quote or saying: l have many, but treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Song that inspires you: I adore music I have all my life but too many to name!
Favorite item to bring with you to treatment: My friends but also my insanely positive attitude!
What was your first reaction when you were told that you had cancer?
My first reaction was surprise, I never expected to have it, but I knew in my cells that it wasn’t going to kill me. I have twin girls and needed to be there for them.
Who did you turn to for support?
I turned to certain friends, family, a lot of the moms at my girls school helped me out a lot.
What did friends or family members do or say that meant the most to you?
That I was a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for. My family took my kids and I every Friday. It meant a lot. If I wanted to play with my kids I could, if I wanted to rest I could. We still go every Friday.
What helped you through your treatments?
My amazing attitude helped me a lot through my treatments plus my amazing support system.
What was one of the biggest challenges and how did you cope with it?
At one point during my treatments, I had to see a geneticist to make sure I didn’t carry the breast cancer gene mutation that could be passed onto my babies. They told me if I was positive, I would have to remove my breasts and have reconstruction. I was totally crushed. I didn’t feel particularly sexy or attractive and I feel that my breasts are the one thing that made me a woman. Thankfully I was negative for the mutation. I turned to my husband and family during this time. I felt very empowered by them.
What did you do during your down time to keep yourself busy?
During my downtime I slept when I could and hung out with many friends I needed to have fun and keep myself busy. I listen to music a lot so I did that a ton!
What challenges do you feel you face as a young adult as opposed to those who are diagnosed later in life?
I take medications for my cancer and it fast tracked me into menopause at a young age., not that it bothers me at all, I just have a hard time with my internal temperature. If not for that, you would never know. I do find it a bit tough because menopause is something that happens later in life.
Best advice for other young adults diagnosed with cancer:
My advice is stay strong, stay positive and NEVER give up no matter how bleak it looks or feels. Tomorrow is another day. You can and will do this.