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This is a story of an ordinary 35-year-old woman from Brazil, who has a unique quality — the power of accepting reality and learning lessons out of it. Priscila Oliveira not only refuses to assume the role of the victim in fighting a serious illness and other life circumstances but also tries to be grateful for everything that happens to her. She talks about those aspects of life that many women, squeezed into the old social models, do not even dare to think about — whether it is accepting their body or freedom to choose – between creating a family and living alone, between having kids and staying childfree. And after you have chosen – feel not guilty or special in any way but simply happy.

Priscila wearing a white T-shirt and plaid skirt, sitting in the street and having a cup of coffee

This story is a first-person narration. When it is possible, we provide the contacts of the interviewee below –
in case the story has really struck you, and you want to reach out to that person.


“My perfect life has changed in minutes”

My name is Priscila Oliveira. My friends call me Pri. I am from Brazil. My story is about… No, it’s not about the ultrasound clinic, but it has started there. It was the place where purely by chance, my life turned upside down. It happened five years ago. I was 30. I worked as a lawyer and was well paid. My boyfriend and I have just moved together, and we were full of plans to settle down and have kids.

“What? Cancer? Maybe it is just a mistake?”

One day I decided to take my mum to see one of the best endocrinologists in Brazil as she’d had health issues I was worried about. I didn’t want her to get stressed over it, and, since I planned to get pregnant, I got this excuse to have a consultation at the same time. Shortly speaking, my mum’s results were completely fine, but I got one more medical examination request – “just to be sure,” as they usually say. On the day of the exams, the radiologist started checking my ovaries and said that I was ready for pregnancy.

“How many kids do you want?” she asked.

“Three!” I felt relieved.

“Wow, then you should start today,” she laughed and started an ultrasound examination of my neck.

Suddenly, her face completely changed. “There’s a nodule,” she said. “And it is very likely to be cancer.”

Whaaaat? Cancer? I was shocked. “Maybe it is just a mistake?” I frantically asked her.

“Well, let’s pray it to be good cancer.” She did not really give me hope and added, “No worries, normally thyroid cancer has a 20-year survival rate.”

“Everyone freaks out when they hear this word”

Can you imagine that? I was just heartbroken! “So, if I am lucky, I will live up to 50 years old…” I was thinking at that moment, “No! It’s like too soon!” I remember leaving the hospital. Everything was such a blur. I kind of went on autopilot. “Fuck! I am just 30! I am so young to be facing that!” These thoughts were attacking me.

Back home, I had done my Internet research about thyroid cancer and its symptoms, throwing my medical test results on Google, and things got worse. You know what I mean, right? It was so much hysteria and exaggeration! It seems everyone freaks out mostly because of the word “cancer,” which is associated with hopelessness and death, but, in fact, there are many people who have it and live a happy life after all.    

Priscila smiling and leaning against the yellow wall

“Do not suffer before you get results”

The marathon of medical tests went on for two months. To say the least, that was a very tough time. On the one hand, I was paralyzed by my fears, and, on the other hand, due to my family’s calm reactions (something like, “Wait, honey, no results, no cancer.”), I was confronted by thoughts that I was making drama. I remember my aunt told me, “You worry too much. Try not to think about it. Do not suffer beforehand.” “Seriously? What do you mean ‘too much’?” I was extremely hurt. Damn it, it was not a question of a stolen wallet or a broken tooth but my life! Of course, I understand that my family just wanted to make me less worried, but it didn’t work well, to be honest.

“A sometimes-freaking-out fighter”

Finally, when the doctor saw my results, he said, “Well, let’s hope it is good slow cancer, not the bad aggressive one.” I was knocked down again because in my heart I hoped it was not cancer and that this nightmare would end. No. Still cancer. I had to accept it and deal with it. It took me two months. I was thinking all this time, “You already have it, Priscila. YOU HAVE IT. C’mon. Concentrate.” These thoughts grounded me and made me stronger.

So I came out of shock and started to act. I got the best specialist in thyroid cancer in Brazil. I felt I was a fighter. But sincerely speaking, a sometimes-freaking-out fighter – I got terrified, for instance, when the doctors were deciding if they should remove my whole thyroid or just part of it would be enough… They removed the entire organ, and in the end, it was better. As later on, the examination of the removed parts confirmed that lymph nodes were already contaminated, and, also, that there was a vascular tumor invasion.


“What do you want from your life, Priscila?”

The first step had been taken – I accepted the fact of having cancer. After, I had to expand the boundaries of my acceptance even more and face the possibility of having bad cancer. “What if?” These “ifs” were my little steps towards acceptance of what I would hear in the doctor’s office. Approaching death so close for the first time in my entire life, I started to question myself, “What do you really want to do in your life, Priscila?” My first somewhat automatic response was quite obvious, “Get married, settle down, and have kids.” “Is that what you REALLY want?” I kept questioning myself to once figure out that actually… no. A wedding was not my dream. I was amazed by that discovery! So I kept my inner search trying to distinguish between MY dreams from those that came from society.

Approaching death so close for the first time in my entire life, I started to question myself, “What do you really want to do in your life, Priscila?”

“Nothing is everlasting”

In this way, I have begun my self-therapeutic inner journey, which has been lasting since. Trying to find my own meaning of happiness, I suddenly concluded that it would be… to learn how to die. Since for me, I guess, the fear of death was behind all other fears. I’ve always been afraid of death. “What’s it going to be like when I stop existing anymore?” Such thoughts made me freeze. Would the wedding and three beautiful kids make those thoughts on death vanish? If only! On the contrary, in this case, I’d be terrified to lose my children.

So at some point, it became clear for me that everything that I defined as my dreams wouldn’t be so serene if I did not take into account that it’s all going to end one day. I realized that I had to work on accepting the fact that nothing is everlasting.  

Priscila`s face, she is wearing glasses

“I faced one of my biggest fears – not having kids”

During my treatment process, the doctor advised me to freeze my eggs in case I would not be able to get pregnant. Imagine! Could I even think of freezing my eggs a few months ago? My life reminded me of a house of cards – you got one card out, and the rest was falling. That how all those events were falling into my life – it was like watching a movie where I was the main character. So once I went to the reproductive clinic to find out more about this procedure. I barely looked around and took tests as the doctors said something like, “Oh, dear, you need to do that as soon as possible… You are in a good period, so maybe let’s do it in the next few days…” Whoa, people, wait, it’s all too fast! I was overwhelmed. I was looking around and seeing those poor women trying so hard to have babies. There was a lot of despair in their eyes. It was too much, so I decided – slow down, girl, it is not the right time.

“As if we women are obliged to have kids”

Later I felt very grateful for this situation because it made me face one of my biggest fears – not having kids. Although in the beginning, it hurt, but with time, I started to see that I… don’t need to have kids to feel happy! I realized how much our role as women in society is defined – like we are obliged to have kids. It was beautiful teaching of things that I’d have probably never faced if I just continued my perfect life. And it also made me change my understanding of other women – as personalities, not those who “need to give birth to a baby because it`s time.” My respect for every woman has grown tremendously.

I realized how much our role as women in society is defined – like we are obliged to have kids.

“Not just 20 years but as many as 20 years more to live!”

You know, my health issues have opened an entirely new world for me. I’d say the New Me was born. Interesting how everything is learned by comparison, isn’t it? When I first found out about cancer, I was terrified by thinking of “JUST 20 years left to live.” After I had discovered that it was a good type of cancer, I was like, “Wow, AS MANY AS 20 years more to live!” After all, the fear had been replaced with the gratitude for STILL being alive. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but, to be honest, I feel fortunate to get a good, not a bad, type of cancer. (Smiles.)


“Two years of continuous teaching”

It was almost two years of regular examinations at hospitals and, as I am seeing it now, continuous life teachings. I completely reassessed my life. First of all, I changed my approach to work. I worked as a judge assistant at the labor court. It was a very serious job that requires tremendous effort. I helped the judges do a fact check and make a decision in such cases as “the worker against the company” or vice versa. I always had to be very attentive to details, trusting the proofs and not falling into the assumptions that “a worker is always right” (well, often – yes, but there were the different cases.).

“I stopped to be ‘a good girl’ at work”

For years, I was an extremely responsible workaholic managing many things at the same time. My bosses were happy to load me with more work because I’d never failed and was basically always “a good girl.” But the disease had changed everything – I was getting tired much faster, needed more sleep, and my thinking was not so sharp anymore to keep my old workload. So one day, I stopped and said, “You know, guys, my limit is here.”

Before, I could keep working to the first roosters and didn’t allow myself to even think of putting it aside until the next day. Now I’d work as usual, like the rest of my colleagues. And because suddenly my working day finished at 5 p.m., I got more time for my family, friends, and myself.

“I moved to Europe and worked remotely”

After that, some of my colleagues changed their attitude towards me. They tried to put pressure on me demanding better results, and overall it was not a healthy atmosphere. Things got heated when my partner was expatriated to Belgium, and I was authorized by my superior boss to go with him, keeping working remotely. I felt that some of my coworkers did not really like the fact that I had moved to Europe and worked remotely. I felt like they punished me for being far away and tried to give me more and more work. Although the funny thing is that in Brazil, we all work from home as going through hundreds of papers demands space and complete silence! (Chuckles.)

I was fed up and close to a burnout. I had to go through a lot to change the department where I had been working. At some point, I said to myself, “Okay, Priscila, that was a lot. You dealt with it in the best way you could, but you are tired now.” So despite my fear of people judging me, I decided to change the department where I was working (it was a long four-month process). Then I felt brave enough to ask for a formal license (unpaid) which would give me the possibility to come back to work when I can. So I could follow my boyfriend to France.

It was another step toward my freedom.


“I wanted to enjoy the moment, not the rituals”

At this point, I had already given up the idea of a wedding. I am sure, for me, as for every woman, it could be a special moment to celebrate. But I decided that I didn’t want to shake with the pre-wedding fever and be overstressed with planning a wedding party and ceremony. I wanted to enjoy the moment, not the rituals. Instead, I spent lots of time with all those people that I would invite to my wedding – I’d go with them for coffee, talk a lot, laugh a lot, and share sweet memories. I’d invite them to my house and cook something delicious. 

Priscila wearing yellow and red jacket and smiling at camera

“Cooking has become my therapy”

I fell in love with cooking! Earlier, I had no patience to cook, but now it has become my therapy. Because my treatment included the radioactive iodine session for one month, I had to stay away from sodium, which is in salt, milk, bread, and processed items. I could not eat almost anything, and that’s how I started to spend more time in the kitchen. I learned how to make my own bread! And it is much tastier than the store one! (Laughs.) You know, while I am talking to you, I realize that my sickness has opened more doors for me that I had before.

I realize that my sickness has opened more doors for me that I had before.

“The art helped me to keep the balance”

Art played a significant role in accepting my illness and having quality time in my life. I started to dedicate more time to art when I was 26, a few years before getting sick. Oh, that was just a magical time!

Priscila holding her drawings in the hands

I lived in Rio de Janeiro and loved to visit museums, exhibitions, and galleries where I got to know many artists. Soon, to improve my creativity, I started to write my blog, draw, and tried my hand in carpentry. And when I had to come back to my little town for work and leave this artistic lifestyle behind, I swore to myself to keep breathing in this energy. So I signed up for an art course at university and soon became a real student at the Faculty of Arts along with those 18-year-old people. (Smiles.) It was pretty hard to combine my job and study, though. I worked the whole day and then hurried to the university in the evenings. The art was my outlet and helped me a lot to keep the balance in my life.

“I learned how to let go through making ceramics”

thyroid made of mud

I got more expressive when I was creating things. It gave me more meaning and helped deal with my feelings and fears. When I discovered that I have cancer, I was studying ceramics at school and took an opportunity to make thyroid figurines out of clay. Accidentally, they cracked in the oven which actually happens often. But then, when I made new clay pieces, and they had cracked again, I took it as a teaching. Those were self-therapeutic sessions of accepting the impermanence of things and letting them go.

“I wanted to be an art teacher, not an artist”

I kept studying art at the art school in France, where we moved soon after staying for some time in Belgium. I did not quite enjoy it. In Brazil, my classmates and I shared everything, so it was much more than art – it was about emotions, new experiences, etc. In France, it was a different, more individualistic approach – for instance, everyone worked alone. It was such vibes as “how to make this work genius,” “how to expose these works in that gallery,” etc. It is not really my cup of tea because I did not dream of becoming an artist but an art teacher. So I quit after six months.


“I got 15 extra kilos for three years”

From the beginning of my treatment, I started to gain weight. Little by little, I gained 15 extra kilos over three years. I was not necessarily eating much more – but after my thyroid was removed, my metabolism completely changed, and my body started to respond differently to the food I ate. Of course, in the beginning, I got a bit depressed after one more thing to deal with had popped up in my life. But soon, I told myself, “Focus, it is not time to think of the body shape.” I decided to be kind to myself. Though the same could not be said about people around…

“Maybe I was truly overeating?”

I discovered that there were two categories of people who surrounded me. The first one is the judgers. At first, my family and friends judged me a lot. “Priscila, you need to be careful with food because you are young…” I always heard such comments. And with each comment, I was getting more and more stressed thinking that perhaps I was truly overeating. After a while, all this was making me even more anxious, so I`d eat more. On the other hand, that tough time showed me that I have great friends who supported me, “Pri, no worries, look at you, you are beautiful. Stop talking about your weight. Let’s discuss something that is going on in the world.” They were my real source of inspiration.

“It is YOUR problem if you do not accept MY body”

I remember whenever I was visiting my boyfriend’s family, my mother-in-law would put slightly less food on my plate than on the others. No comments sounded. But that was so tough! I had noticed that I actually did not want to eat, but after this, I felt like I wanted to eat an elephant. For some time, I observed my reactions and decided once, “No, dear, I will not take it anymore. I can’t change you, but I won`t respond to you as there are other more important things in my life to be concerned about.” I mean, look, after all the fact that she did not accept my body is her problem – on the other hand, my problem is that I had not accepted it either. And I began to work in that direction.

After all the fact that she did not accept my body is her problem – on the other hand, my problem is that I had not accepted it either.

“I realized that ‘I’ is not just my body”

No, don’t get me wrong. It is not like I did not care at all about my shape. Of course, I wanted to lose some weight, but I didn’t want it to become the primary goal of my life. The main goal was to deal peacefully with all the health issues I had. So I did what I could do. For instance, I did some sports – but again, to keep my mind focused and the body refreshed without expectations to get back my pretty body I used to have years ago. And now, I had to slowly detach from the idea of “Priscila with perfect body” and get used to “Priscila with extra kilos.”

Yes, I will repeat it – it was very tough because we think that our bodies are the biggest mirror of our life. It was such a big thing for me to realize step by step that I am… bigger than my body. That “I” is not just my body. I was questioning myself, “Why would I not still feel beautiful? Why would the feeling of my beauty depend on outside factors?”

Priscila taking selfie

“It is okay to gain some weight”

If I kept rejecting myself in this body, feeling depressed and sad, then, for example, my younger sister looking back at me would think, “Yeah, you see, it is important to be thin because this is my sister’s the only concern.” If I were a happy person with my body, I’d give her an example that if you gain some weight – it is completely okay. You don’t need to suffer over it. You’re still beautiful. And I understood that if I accepted my body, it would not only change the quality of my life but would reflect on the lives of other people. If I played this role of an overweight woman continually apologizing for being as you are and repeating the mantras, “Oh, I feel bad” or “You guys are so beautiful, but I am fat,” I would only reinforce the view that beauty is only in a thin body.

If I played this role of an overweight woman continually apologizing for being as you are and repeating, “Oh, I feel bad” or “You guys are so beautiful, but I am fat,” I would only reinforce the view that beauty is only in a thin body.

“When I was thin, I judged overweight women”

This situation made me look at the world with the eyes of an overweight woman. Because before, thin Priscila had the same judgmental mind like, “Oh, they are so fat. They are losers.” And where are I am now? I learned my lesson well – we all learn like this, just when we are suddenly thrown in exactly the same situation as the person we are judging, don’t we? So first, I saw that obsession with appearance in me (But, hey, we are products of the same society, so we all carry it, I guess.) and then, when I tried to deal with my obsession, I understood other women who were at the same boat.

“We are free to accept or not to accept our bodies”

And once I felt fed up. I looked in the mirror and turned to myself with a fiery speech, “Firstly, we are free to accept or not to accept our bodies. We don’t need to work out hard and stay thin if we don’t want to. We are not obliged to do it. Second, from now on out of self-preservation, I’m not taking other people’s comments about my appearance. It is their problem. Not mine.” Whoa, that was big for me. I do not think I’d ever come to this conclusion if I hadn’t had the sickness experience. I do not think I’d ever notice plus size women’s (and now – mine) beauty as well as had a chance to touch my inner freedom and not to turn into a slave of my own body.

From now on out of self-preservation, I`m not taking other people`s comments about my appearance. It is their problem. Not mine.

“All depends on how you take it”

And now, look, I’m sitting in front of you, and I seem to be such a cool girl, relaxed and confident. But believe me, there were days and weeks when I was looking at pictures of thin Priscila and crying and trying to go on a diet, etc. During such moments, I was feeling so insecure… Interesting that people around could smell that and would point even more. But the moments when I was happy with myself, other people would not come with the “you should eat less” comments. It all depends on how you take it.

But after such “down” periods were finished, I’d always think – wow, and some people would live all their lives like that, carefully creating their personal hell – they`d go through painful procedures and think just about the body shapes to fit into someone’s beauty standards… Isn’t it insane?


“I do not care if I do not look the way a lawyer should look”

My inner changes and freedom started to scream even through my clothes. (Smiles.) I remember even when I was a teenager I liked to dress differently. For example, I liked to combine sneakers with the dress. I think I looked cool! (Laughs.) But my mum and my aunts were like, “Oh, Priscila, no, women cannot wear sports shoes with dresses!” and so on. And then I became a lawyer and never got to experiment with my clothes either because they were not proper “lawyer clothes.”

But suddenly, something seemed to unblock inside me. “Enough,” I said to myself, “I don’t give a damn anymore if I don’t look the way a lawyer should look. If I look like a crazy artist. I don’t care!” And finally, I released my inner fashionista. (Laughs.) I became super stylish – in terms of wearing absolutely what I wanted! (Laughs.) I picked my clothes in second-hand shops in Belgium. I didn’t worry about matching colors or materials. I felt free. I think that living abroad played its role also – I met many wonderful like-minded people wearing what they like and it inspired me and gave me courage in what seemed a simple situation as choosing my outfits. Overall, I started to care much less about what other people thought of me.

“Some friends got distant because of my style”

After I changed my style, you wouldn’t believe it, but some of my colleagues became more distant. Although we were meeting in coffee shops, they still wore the same strict clothes, unlike me, being obscenely bright and fresh. For them, it was just too much – I stopped fitting their box. I was too free for them. Some of my friends got colder with me as well.

Priscila in a bright yellow jacket and jeans leans against the wall

“Now my boyfriend is more stylish than me”

My poor boyfriend! What can I say – it was too much transformation energy for him. In the beginning, I’d put on some clothes and ask his opinion. Oh, I remember that face, those big eyes… He was saying, “Mmm, it’s a bit too colorful…” So I’d put that blazer back on the shelf in the shop. But it is not because of him but because I was not sure about my choice! And when I figured things out for myself and started to allow myself to dress differently, his reaction changed as well. Precisely speaking, I stopped asking him. Woah. Problem solved! (Laughs.)

Surprisingly, he changed, too. He saw me shining when I was wearing those clothes, and he started to like it! He felt the taste of my freedom. (Smiles.) Nowadays, he is the one buying those stylish clothes from second-hand shops. (Laughs.) Although he is still pretty careful about colors but feels much more free choosing stamps. (Laughs.)

“My sickness made me question myself. And the answers amazed me”

Nowadays, I am living that period in my life when my look – whether it’s fashionable or not fashionable – doesn’t influence my inner feeling of freedom. I feel great wearing any clothes! And I take it as another gift from my sickness… When I look at my sister and girls around – gosh, they spend so much energy to have perfect skin, perfect body, perfect clothes…

I don’t say it is bad! Of course, everyone is free to do what he or she wants. But ask yourself – is that what you want? Or is it something that you are expected to want? Or maybe your parents want to see a good girl? Or your boyfriend wants to see a doll next to him? Do you truly like those clothes you learned to like since you were a kid? My sickness made me ask myself these and many other questions. And the answers amazed me. (Shakes her head.)


“Nodule in my breast? No, don’t tell me that!”

My health problems were not over with thyroid cancer. In fact, it was only the beginning. Shortly after, I found out that there are nodules in my breast and spleen, so I had to keep an eye on it and make a puncture and lots of analysis. It’s another long story… (Sighs.) The situation with breast nodule is stable. Thank god, it is not growing unlike the nodule in the spleen. It changed a bit last year. “You need to do another test,” the doctor said, trying to be super delicate not to shock me. “Perhaps this could be caused by your thyroid cancer.” “Fuck, nooo, don’t tell me that,” was my only thought.

“I have to always deal with the possibility of cancer”

What else? Also, at some point, I had to remove premalignant skin lesion (refers to various dermatological growths that are at an increased risk of developing into skin cancer – Ed.) Crazy… It’s all such a crazy thing… You see, I always have to deal with the possibility of cancer! I not only have to do constant checkups but also patiently every second deal with my own mind in order not to freak out. As you have just done, listening to all of these stories, yeah, I see that in your eyes. (Chuckles.)

“My boyfriend has got the same disease”

When I got sick and discovered that thyroid cancer is a very common disease, I made all my family and friends do a checkup. And it turned out that my boyfriend also has the same type of thyroid cancer. Yeah… One side of the thyroid was removed. It seems like he has been dealing with it easier than me. But I am not sure as he is quite closed off.

“I lost my baby”

You know, all I’ve been sharing with you is bearable in some way. But there was one especially painful situation. I had gotten pregnant. I made this decision after having dealt with so many thoughts and fears… We have been learning how to live with our health issues. We had just moved to France. I kept working remotely and transferred my study of art to the university in France. It seems like it was all fine. But I… I lost the baby… This feeling… I’ve never felt so empty. I felt it on a physical level… You asked me before if I’m still afraid of death… I think I feel more prepared contemplating an idea of me dying. But when it comes to someone else… My baby… I can’t stop suffering.

“I switched to a gratitude mode”

Still despite all this, from a victim and suffering mode, I switched to a gratitude mode – I said to myself, “Priscila, you have a chance to be healthy. You had a chance to be pregnant and hear the heartbeat of your baby. You still have a chance to be pregnant again.”

Priscila in a long woolen striped coat staying in the nature

“I deserve to travel and enjoy my life”

I have got a one-year suspension from work and have been traveling for a few months, having visited such countries as Thailand, India, and Nepal. I’m trying to use my energy to live in the present moment, enjoying the best moments. I deserve it. I deserve to dedicate myself to good things, not just work duties.

At the same time, I’m trying to figure out the next steps I should take in my life. Essentially, I can come back to my lawyer’s work whenever I want. The key question is if I want it. For now, I am more keen on continuing my university study on developing creativity and art activities with children to help them to unblock all those “I can’t draw, etc…” But I am not sure. Let’s see.

“More books, more movies, more yoga”

I don’t have a specific to-do list like it is often shown in the movies, but I always keep in my mind some priorities. For example, I try to read more, which gives me that unique feeling of being nourished. Unfortunately, when I worked, I didn’t have time to read. I also watch more movies and even do scriptwriting. Besides, both breathing and yoga are on my list. Yes, breathing is important to me – it grounds me, makes me slow down. What else? More quiet moments. More friends around and cooking for them.

“I want to feel who I really am”

I am on my way to myself. By digging in and removing layers of fake dreams, I want to feel who I really am. I want to discover what makes me – ME and, after all, have the courage to accept myself. I dream of being able to understand what I want. Because it is challenging to understand what you want. It is. I am still struggling with it. So my dream today is gaining the courage to keep digging inside and removing these layers of social expectations.

I want to discover what makes me – ME and, after all, have the courage to accept myself. I dream of being able to understand what I want. Because it is challenging to understand what you want.

“Priscila, what are you running for?”

I am very thankful for what I have been through. My endless diseases – as I believe every bad situation – gave me an opportunity to slow down, take my life out of an automatic mode, and ask myself, “Priscila, what are you running for?” All my life I’ve been running to get lots of money. But… Do I want it? Or need it? Why do I want it for? Do I want to wear this dress? Do I want to work as a lawyer? Do I want to have this partner or these friends? I was amazed that these seemingly basic and straightforward questions never crossed my mind until the moment I got sick.

Priscila in sunglasses taking a selfie

“I focus on things that make me happier”

When I feel that I am going down, I try to stop doing everything and watch my thoughts. And I try not to focus on bad things. Look, if I allow myself to sink in the waterfall of thoughts about, let’s say, having kids, “Oh, if I get pregnant, I will need to do that surgery, but if I do that surgery, I will not be able to do the other health procedure, etc…” So I’d just make myself freak out, and it would not help at all. My god, of course, I do think about all of this, but at least I try to keep my focus on something that will make me happier. Both bad and good things happen in our life. Both. And picking the right stuff to focus on is the only thing that matters. It was a tremendous discovery – to realize that you actually are not obliged to suffer. Yes. Imagine, you don’t need to suffer. What you need is to be more and more grateful for what you already have.

“What`s the point in playing a victim or feeling guilty?”

You know what is interesting? Sometimes I am about to forget that I cannot postpone my life. Sometimes I forget that today is today. But as soon as I begin to worry about little stupid things that don’t really matter as big bad things are happening to me right away. All these sicknesses that I’ve been dealing with… All these medical procedures that I’ve been going through every year… Well, I take them as a great reminder to stay awake and focus on something significant. Yes, I can complain and feel and look miserable (and sometimes I can, and I do!) but… Actually something I do much more now is complaining to express my feelings so that others can see my limits and needs. But playing a victim or feeling guilty… What’s the point? Somehow these unlucky events have made me feel more lucky and grateful – for I am aware of each and every present moment and pretty much enjoy it.


You know, after I have revealed the whole story, I realized that I may seem more positive for people who will read it than I feel I am… But I don’t feel appropriating a more positive image than I deserve. Look, I would struggle a lot to transform the reality so that it offers me more happiness. In this sense, I think that cancer and all the related events made me feel more legitimate to complain in each situation when I feel offended or not considered. I feel more legitimate to fight for my happiness because I am aware of the ephemerality of life. Certainly, I am much more satisfied with simple things and I see gifts of life in little detail. But at the same time, I feel stronger and more secure to protest and ask for changes, whether in my personal life, or society, or politics.

You know, paradoxically, my sickness has made me more alive than I had been before.


Priscila Oliveira: