In Peru, 1 in 8 women can be diagnosed with breast cancer. Daniela Chlimper Levy, an interior designer, was one of them. She was just 31 years old when the diagnosis was planted in front of her and changed all her plans. Barely a month had passed since she was engaged when she was told she had invasive ductal carcinoma at a Miami clinic.
“I found a lump. I went to the gynecologist and he sent me to have a mammogram. I ignored. That was very bad. I thought that because of my age it was not necessary yet, despite the fact that there was already a history of cancer in my family. Days passed and I started to feel pain. I attributed it to the fact that I was doing yoga, I was negligent. I was at a very confusing moment in my life, I had just gotten engaged and I didn’t know if it was the best decision “remembers Daniela.
Her mother did not let her continue with the wedding plans before defining what was happening with her health. Days later, Chlimper would be operated. The breast cancer that was diagnosed was hormonal, that is, it ‘fed’ on estrogen or progesterone that the body produces. “One believes that breast cancer is one and nothing else. But no. No two cases are the same. In my case, after the operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, I control myself with medicines, which block the production of estrogen “, bill.
Among the sea of emotions, changes and means that flooded her during the treatment, Daniela decided to step aside in her commitment. Although it was complicated, as the phrase goes, one door closes and others open. “The day I broke up with my ex was the day I thought of putting my experience in a book. I think it was because the dialogue with him was worthy of series. In addition, to that was added that chemotherapy was about to start and I and my family were devastated “. The latter not only because of the harshness of the diagnosis, but because Daniela’s reality was added to the memories of close people who had died from the disease, including her sister.
During her chemotherapies, Daniela began to devour books. “Netflix was not working for me. It made my eyesight hurt because one of the effects of the treatment is having dry eyes “. Among the many recommendations she received to read, there was “Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy”, by journalist Gelaryn Lucas, but she always left it for later. “I knew it was about breast cancer. I felt that if I read it, it would be like continuing to ‘stir the chocolate’ when I really wanted to distract myself from it “.
When he finally gave it a chance, he was surprised to see that this was not the drama he expected. “I felt accompanied and I realized that I also had a story to tell, to accompany someone else”. Thus, his autobiographical novel began to take shape as he explored memories of the past and took time to process those of the present.
He named it “Mammal without a breast” because that was exactly how he felt when he froze his eggs in the window of time that remained after the operation and before chemotherapy. That was the light at the end of the road. It was a two-week task in a row between subcutaneous injections and monitoring, which resulted in 13 frozen eggs. I felt very close to the animal world, I felt that it was like my litter “.
The book was released for the first time in September 2020. However, this year Daniela -or Dana, as we know her in the book- has set the goal of donating 100% of the proceeds to the Peruvian Cancer Foundation (FPC ) within the framework of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “I lived through something very hard, but I had the resources to get out of it. I had a house, a mattress, and food on my table, and it was still difficult. But there are people who cannot afford those luxuries. That it does not have the necessary resources. From my position I wanted to do something “, he comments. “Even if it is not much, I know that I am supporting someone. In addition, with the book I can raise awareness and accompany other women from my experience “.
You can purchase “Mammal without breast” on the linksite found in the IG profile @mamiferosinmama. In addition, there are some copies available in the Book Vivant bookstore, the Encremadas website and in the Flora and Fauna stores.