Dee Manuel Cloud

Dee Manuel Cloud Image

I was diagnosed with Stage II Ductal Carcinoma in 2005 at age 35. After enduring a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, the
cancer returned at age 38 in 2008. That time I had a unilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Now 16 years in remission, when I’m
asked about my breast cancer journey, diagnosis and treatment aren’t the parts of my cancer story that I focus on. Instead, I focus on the triumphs that happened once I was cancer-free because I believe that part of my story is the most powerful and inspirational.

After enduring cancer twice, I discovered the courage to embrace and overcome my fears, and I created a life that is even better than before breast cancer. Breast cancer gave me the courage to end an unhappy marriage and embrace my true identity. I gained the courage to start businesses and leave Corporate America.

I found the courage to authentically and unapologetically be myself and move past the fears of failure. So, while going through breast cancer twice was traumatic, the
gifts left by cancer’s presence are what I focus on most.

However, despite coming to the other side of breast cancer triumphantly, there’s one thing I would change. I didn’t allow family and friends to support
me because I didn’t want them to worry. I thought I needed to present myself as strong and capable of handling anything.
I was afraid to be vulnerable and ask for support, so I went to many treatment appointments alone.

In hindsight, I wouldn’t recommend this approach to any woman going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I would advise them to definitely take a family member or friend to appointments for emotional support and to take notes to ensure that you don’t miss anything your care team is saying.
My advice would be that it takes courage to be vulnerable and allow others to be there to support you. When we know better, we do

I now serve as a Breast Cancer Recovery Strategist, international speaker, and the owner and CEO of Intentional Living Academy. I also authored a bestselling book entitled “Beauty in the Breakdown.”

As a Breast Cancer Recovery Strategist, I help survivors overcome the fear, trauma, and suffering of breast cancer to create a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment so they can thrive and rebuild their lives even better than before. Understanding breast cancer survivors’ unique life experiences and goals enable me to help create an
action plan that supports survivors in moving beyond breast cancer.