Patricia’s Story: Surviving Stage IV Adolescent Cancer
“Pretty girls don’t get cancer,” the doctor assured M. Patricia Diaz over 30 years ago. At the age of just 16, Diaz was scared and uncomfortable. However, the doctor’s words were meant to reassure her — and at the time, they worked. Patricia had been bracing for bad news, and now she felt relieved.
Two months later, she was diagnosed with stage IV terminal cancer.
Pretty Girls Don’t Get Cancer is Diaz’s candid, compelling story of overcoming the medical odds and transforming herself — mind, body and spirit — as a way of nurturing her ongoing healing process. Diaz experienced a year of social isolation (due to her compromised immune system at the time) during what should have been the most carefree, enjoyable time in her young life. Her journey toward authentic recovery would require spiritual growth and the kind of introspection that typically comes with maturity and hindsight.
“Isolation, at first a burden, in time, turned into a precious gift,” Diaz reflects. “It gave me space and silence, and it shone the light into the corners of my soul that were comfortably dim. … I was alive — I was breathing, and that insight made all the difference for me to make the best of the time I had to spend with ‘me.’”
Pretty Girls Don’t Get Cancer does not sugarcoat the agony of the tests and treatments that Diaz endured, but she keeps the narrative conversational and relatable, with Latin American nuances and sprinkles of adolescent humor. Part coming-of-age, part motivational memoir, her storyis a testament to the power of a strong community, personal resiliency and grains of faith in the face of a cancer diagnosis. Diaz shows readers how her illness affected her life, her family and the community, and how restoring her physical health was only the first step toward healing.
About the Author
M. Patricia Diaz is an author, health-supportive chef and human resources consultant. Her wellness journey began in 1989 when she was diagnosed with stage IV terminal cancer. During the most difficult time in her life, and with the help of friends, family and life mentors, she turned to yoga, plant-based diets and other alternative techniques to manage her crisis and then gently restore her health after cancer treatments.
The lessons Diaz learned, and years of yoga practice, led to an enthusiasm for well-being, a search for a depth of knowledge, and provided a compass for her life and career. She trained in a plant-based chef program at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City and completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.
She is passionate about teaching the foundations of yoga and the basics of plant-based diets. She loves to help others connect with their inner wellness coach, and she believes that a genuine practice starts with a strong foundation honoring the principles of “ahimsa’” — first do no harm.
For more information, please visit https://mpatriciadiaz.com