Strength in Survivorship: Cancer Survivor Evelina Shares Her Story
Editor's Note: This is part of our Survivorship series. Please see other posts in this series.
Evelina was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. At the time, her son was just a year old. Evelina embarked on a whirlwind of treatments, a right mastectomy, and a journey of healing. Along the way, she created a private support website through the Cancer Support Community’s MyLifeLine, an online community where cancer patients and survivors can share their experiences with their friends and family and find hope and inspiration on a variety of discussion boards.
An avid writer, Evelina began blogging about her treatments and other cancer experiences on her MyLifeLine site. Her blogs kept her friends and family informed about her journey. The blog-writing process also proved to be a source of personal strength for Evelina.
In this Q&A, Evelina shares a bit about her survivorship story with us. She also offers some words of hope and inspiration for other survivors.
What does “cancer survivorship” mean to you?
Cancer survivorship to me means that I now have a responsibility to advocate, encourage, and spread a message of hope that — no matter what it looks like — all things are possible.
What is one of the toughest challenges you’ve faced on your survivorship journey?
One of the toughest challenges I faced throughout my journey was losing my father right in the midst of treatment. I'll never forget having to lay every day on that radiation bed with the thought of him being gone. My care team can tell you: My daddy was my greatest cheerleader and hero.
"I now have a responsibility to advocate, encourage, and spread a message of hope that — no matter what it looks like — all things are possible."
What is one of the greatest gifts you’ve discovered on your survivorship journey?
The greatest gift that I discovered on my journey was the gift of MyLifeLine. MyLifeLine provided me with a platform to create my very own personal blog that would serve not only as a keepsake for myself, but as a personal support group to walk with me every step of the way.
How has writing helped you personally process your experiences with cancer?
Writing has personally helped me process my experience in a very therapeutic way; throughout my journey, it allowed me to pour out all of my emotions on paper.
In what ways have you been able to share your cancer experience with others?
I've been able to share my experience with others in so many ways, such as speaking at benefit events and on conference calls; writing news articles and a book manuscript; doing interviews, and one-on-one mentoring… Oh my goodness! I have been called to share in numerous ways.
Why has it been important for you to share your experiences with others?
It has been important for me to share my testimony with others because, when I first got diagnosed, I remember asking the Lord, "Why me?" And that's when I heard Him say, "Evelina, Why not you? You're strong, you're a survivor, and you look up to me, and I know that when I heal you, you'll testify to my goodness and encourage so many others. So again I say, Why not you?" Therefore, I do my best to fulfill that calling.
"Writing has personally helped me process my experience in a very therapeutic way; throughout my journey, it allowed me to pour out all of my emotions on paper."
You have said that your blogs will be a keepsake for your son one day, when he grows up. What is one key message you hope your son will glean from your blogs?
In one of my favorite blog entries, titled "A Mother's Strength," I shared:
"Overall, I hope that this journey will just be another example of mommie’s strength & how God saw fit to use her because he knew that she could be used. The type of strength that he can reflect on & say, "My mommy is & forever will be among my Heroes."
Evelina is a transformational speaker, voiceover artist, and avid reader who is incredibly proud of her Panamanian roots. She is also the author of a forthcoming book about her journey, titled "HEALED: From Cancer to Surviva..." Learn more about Evelina and her book.