She will win over with her sartorial elegance and grace as soon as you meet her. But 31-year-old Doaa Elseoud is much more than just being an ordinary model. Doaa was diagnosed with third stage breast and lymph nodes cancer but she refused to bow before her dreaded illness to be an inspiration to all cancer patients. Instead of plunging into despair and depression she chose modelling as a medium to spread awareness on cancer and educate the fellow survivors on self-acceptance and confidence. While her charming character is heartwarming what truly touches is to know about her inspirational journey so far. Let us celebrate the indomitable courage, resilience, and spirit of a cancer survivor for whom cancer never meant the end of the road. — [email protected]
You’re quite a positive person. How do you keep that energy flowing?
I had my moments of despair initially in the first few weeks when I was diagnosed of cancer. But soon I realised that having the right mental health is the number one treatment to beat the disease. It is important to be positive and accept the illness. That is the first step. Also, the time spent with my friends and the calls and text messages full of positive vibes from wellwishers were the real boosters. Regular exercises, working out, walks by the beach, and doing meditation also helped a lot.
Was modelling your biggest dream?
Initially I did not aim to be a model but when I saw pictures of women after chemotherapy, I was totally disappointed. The social media was full of sad pictures of cancer survivors that showed hopelessness and sadness. So I decided to shoot few pictures of mine to show everyone that cancer survivors are beautiful the way they are, because beauty is what is within us. I believe strength lies in showing the true beauty of the soul.
You look amazing and energetic. What is your secret ?
I have changed my diet and I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I drink more water and fluids and I avoid red meat, maybe have only twice a month. Maintaining a correct sleeping pattern is also very important. Too much or too less of anything is not good.
Cancer patients and our society in general are still not comfortable talking about the disease. How can one positively overcome it?
I had to shave my head owing to chemotherapy. But instead of covering my head to hide I decided to bring a change in the society by not doing so. It was a direct message that I wanted to give to all that we cancer survivors have a normal life and we are a part of the society like others. Of course there were many reactions from the people around, but I did not give up. I wanted to see a change and so I started with myself. Also, I found that Instagram is another way to post daily activities of a cancer survivor. I retained all the old posts of mine so that one could see the difference between the before and after pictures. I was diagnosed and was successfully treated, and so was an inspiration for many people and cancer survivors.
Did you learn anything new while you were battling the disease?
It was a turning point in my life. In fact, I always say my life started after I got diagnosed. I learnt to be disciplined, patient, give without expecting in return, and help others. I also realised the importance of staying focused, not allowing negativity to overpower, having faith in God and myself, being happy with whatever I have, and most importantly to appreciate good health.
What advice would you give to other survivors on body image and self confidence?
Make use of whatever is on your table to help yourself. Even if you have an illness you can use it in a positive way by spreading awareness. Surviving cancer is a big achievement and that should make you confident and also help you reconsider many things in life. It is not an easy battle. Show love and you will receive more, write about your experiences and share it, get into a healthy diet, keep exercising, surround yourself with positive people, take a proper rest, have faith in the fact that this is just a phase and it won’t last for long.
What message would you send to women in the community?
As a cancer survivor I would recommend all women to regularly do a self-examination at home, because early detection would prevent a chance for cancer, and if you are 40 or above keep on getting checked by doing periodic mammogram. As a woman I would like to thank all the women who had been by my side and helped me in this journey. Find the beauty in everything around you and love yourself the way you are because remember that we all are beautiful the way we are.
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