#YWBC Profile: Sylvia Soo
Name: Sylvia Soo
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 25 and 29
Breast cancer type: Invasive ductal carcinoma, ER positive
Breast cancer stage: 2
Treatment: modified radical mastectomy of left breast, chemotherapy, radiation
What is Cancer Fabulous Diaries?
Cancer Fabulous Diaries is a culmination of my personal writings and interviews I conducted with women, and medical professionals throughout North America. I hoped that the content would be as raw and real as possible. I wanted it to be two fold: a resource for the awkward questions you never want to ask someone going through cancer, and a light for someone who is going through cancer.
What inspired you to write Cancer Fabulous Diaries?
I never set out to write a book about my experience with cancer. Cancer Fabulous Diaries started as a way for family and friends to keep track of what was going on in my life. It grew to become a source of inspiration for complete strangers. While many cancer patients lead a private life, I was carefree and open with mine. I feel there is a stigma associated with cancer patients. Whether imagined or not, I had to fight this feeling that people felt sorry for me. I wanted to show people what life with cancer was really like. I wanted to be treated like a normal person. I wanted to live life to the fullest – after all I was in the peak of my twenties! I also realized that there were many blogs where cancer patients talked about what was going on during treatment, and then their stories kind of just stopped (ps. I totally get why that happens). I wanted to create something that didn’t just stop. I wanted people to realize that there is often life after cancer.
Why did you name your book Cancer Fabulous Diaries?
I believe you can be fabulous no matter what is going on in your life.
How did life change after you completed writing your book?
I lived with a lot of fear that the cancer would come back. I second guessed my decision to take off only one breast and wish I had taken off the other one. I dreaded the idea of having to go through chemo again. What’s not included in the book (because it had already been completed) was that I had a cancer reoccurrence. What was ironic about the cancer coming back was that it came back in the breast that they had removed. Even if I had both breasts removed, it wouldn’t have mattered. Dealing with cancer again was really a punch in the stomach, however it’s a completely different experience – a lot of which I captured on my facebook and my blog. I got through cancer the second time like I did the first time. I’m healthy and well and here to tell about it! I just might have to write a sequel!
How does cancer “fit” into your life these days?
My experience with cancer was a life changing event. After I finished writing my book, I struggled with how it fit into my life. There was a part of me that wanted to create a life for myself that did not involve the word cancer. I wanted to shrink back from the cancer world – and I did take a step back. It took me a while before I realized that I wanted to continue to share; cancer was such a big part of my life. It’s very much a part of my life still – in the aspect that I always want to continue to share my experiences in hopes that it’ll make someone else’s life a bit easier.
What does your life look like now?
I’m a full time designer. I design and create leather goods under my label Sylvia Soo Leather. When I was diagnosed with cancer, life couldn’t get any slower. Now – the days fly by!