Call Me Cancer - A story of rebirth
Serena Derea Squanquerillo
by Maria Teresa De Donato
Today I am pleased to
host my friend and colleague, author and blogger Serena Derea Squanquerillo,
whom we will be able to meet and get to know better on other occasions. I only
anticipate that, in terms of strength of character, determination, and desire
to help others, Serena has a lot to teach. There are so many things I could
tell you about her, but, as usual, I prefer my guest to do it.
Serena, and welcome to my Blog and Virtual Cultural Lounge.
Maria Teresa, thank you for inviting me to this beautiful sharing. I'm very
excited. Greetings to all readers and readers!
why don't you start by introducing yourself, telling us a little about
yourself, your studies, your activities, and everything you want to share with
Certainly. I was born in 1980 in Velletri, in the southern province of Rome,
where I still live. I graduated from the classical high school in my city in
1999, but then, I followed more technical training in computer science and
graphics for some of my needs. I started working in this field at 24, although
I also worked as a secretary and in customer service for a well-known American
company. For a few years, I worked as a self-employed person in a company that
deals with communication and services, created together with some friends. In
2016 I left my job following essential changes in my life, such as my father's
death and the need to process the legacy left by the first breast cancer I
had. Unfortunately, he came back last year, but I got over that too. I am a
person who periodically monitors, and I do not hesitate to ask for help.
Following these events, I needed to care for myself and
understand what had happened. I started a spiritual path to get to know myself
better, parallel with a healing direction of bereavement assistance I followed
two years ago, not only for my father's death but also for the loss of parts of
me, which occurred over time. Over the years, I have had health problems
several times. During this personal research or relatively continuous
rediscovery, I found my talents and new possibilities of living which today I
am reaping sweet fruits. I have several satisfactions both for the activities
alone and in collaboration.
is an extraordinary thing, full of surprises, sometimes beautiful, sometimes
beautiful, sometimes ugly, and even terrible. It is useless to understand the
reason because it likely does not exist or escapes us. With some
people, it seems to be more forgiving, and with others, tougher. This, at
least, could be our perception.
In one of your writings, I read:
arrived on January 14, 2012, and learned it was his 32nd birthday. I saw her
blowing the candle on her favorite cake: a cream and chocolate millefeuille ...
As if it were a gift, I chose to postpone my official presentation for a few
To this day, most people are often afraid to pronounce this word
- Cancer - almost as if they want to exorcise even a remote possibility ...
Knowing you and having discussed with you about health on other
occasions, I feel free to talk with you about this matter, aware of your
availability and, above all, of how and to what extent you are busy helping and
encouraging people who deal with this disease.
Would you like to tell us about your experience and how you
lived it all?
Yes. I make a premise. As I said, I had many health problems: depression, panic
attacks, eating disorders - fortunately not serious - endometriosis problems
until I came to experience cancer. Before, I never spoke openly about my
situation because I did not feel the need and wanted to keep it private.
Something inside of me, however, changed. When the Cancer "showed
up," I reviewed in front of me everything that had happened to me up to
then. Fortunately, I did not have a problematic tumor, neither the first nor
the second time.
On the contrary, the interventions and treatments that gave me
various problems were more invasive, but it is certainly never an easy and
light situation. It was a slaughter game facilitated by my severe lack of love
for myself. It's like life has taken me aside and given me an either-or. I made
myself strong and courageous to face this stranger. From that moment on, I
started sharing what I felt at first in ANDOS (National Association for Breast
Operated Women), where I received support and still belong as a volunteer
whenever I have the chance. Finally, I wrote this story which was published in a
collection for charity. Then it was distributed on two portals of Italian
doctors and psychologists as a testimony of life.
a Naturopath and Homeopath, through my academic studies, but also and, above
all, through interviews and consultations, I have tried to understand better
and identify the potential dynamics that favor health and well-being and,
consequently, healing, and those that on the contrary, they appear to promote
symptoms and disease and, at times, hinder recovery.
I was, therefore, particularly struck by one of your statements
that I always found in your previously mentioned paper:
is a girl who lives in a constant sense of inadequacy and fear of expressing
her feelings and her creativity. The fear is that of not being held up to par.
These are very profound, almost hurtful words.
Would you like to elaborate on these concepts?
Until recently, I loved myself very little. I was insecure, introverted, and
busy, but I felt like I was living an inauthentic life. I felt like an alien.
Dropping out of university failed me because I saw my teenage projects blown
up. I couldn't study because I had to give up. I was struggling because
I had a "different" learning method - as I later understood. I felt
Then, thanks to the support of my parents and a psychologist, I
chose other paths that gave me satisfaction but were not enough. I realize that
what I am about to say is difficult to hear; there was a period of depression
in which, when I thought about the future possibility of starting a family with
children, I told myself that the only thing that it could have grown in me it
would have been a tumor ... Obviously the causes of illnesses could be many.
Still, I am convinced of the importance of the quality of thoughts and words
with which we program ourselves. My sense of inadequacy has implanted in me the
fear of the judgment of others. I had the most ruthless judge in front of me
when I looked in the mirror.
'positive' note is that, by your admission, although your "Personal love
[was] equal to zero ... despite the falls, insecurities, and fear, [you] always
got up with strength and courage."
Many people confronted with cancer have said that this
experience was the most powerful life lesson for them and helped them change
for the better.
Do you agree with this view, and if so, why?
Yes! I can genuinely say that, paradoxically, that experience saved me from
destruction. I did not allow that situation to let me give up everything:
either I continued to fall into the abyss, or I went up and chose to live with
love and conscience. I have embraced the second option. I have chosen life.
Whatever your limitations have been in the past - by your admission - your
willpower, determination, and awareness of your worth make you
merit. To all this, a spiritual path has been added that you have taken to
better connect to the 'real Serena' and, probably, also go to compare, by
removing them, those aspects that were in your "shadow," to use the
language of Carl Jung, famous psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst.
Would you like to tell us about it?
self-knowledge path helped me become aware of my deep feelings. My shadow was
the beauty of what was yet to come, but it was being smothered. I faced the
demons who, until then, had feasted in the shadows, but when I paid attention
to them, I discovered that they had screamed to be heard. I found that behind
those obstacles were hidden treasures and parts of me that I needed to
integrate into the puzzle of my identity. Indeed I still have to work in this
sense, but thanks to the practical tools I have acquired on this spiritual
path, I have learned to harmonize and understand my actual needs. I came into
deep contact with the 'real Serena.'
to this path of the disease and the consequent awareness and rebirth, you felt
the need not only to share your experience but to do so in a way that supports
those who face cancer and disease in general and might feel completely lost and
Art, in any form, can be a means to be used for therapeutic
This year, you conducted a program – Living Your Talents -
Stories of Personal Rebirth - with the Phoebus Association, of which you were the creator and host.
I'd love for you to tell me about it. It could be
advantageous to our reading and reading audience.
2019, I began to pour these life testimonies into a personal blog, up to - to
my surprise - the publication of three monographic books. I began to create
artistic collaborations always to leave a message of encouragement to take care
of oneself and to live one's talents first and foremost as a form of expression
for one's well-being.
In July, I received an interview from the Phoebus Cultural
Association, in which I talked about my experience of personal redemption
thanks to my talents. Hence, creating a space would allow others to do the same with the team. I find it essential to share my personal
story because it can be beneficial and help many. Besides, since it is a
real-life story, the message is recognized as authentic. Finally, friendships
and collaborations can also arise from these comparisons, as in our case, Maria
Teresa. Thanks to your participation in "Vivere I Talenti," we met
and started building this bridge of initiatives together. I am happy and
you, Serena, for participating in this interview and for being open and sharing
very personal and delicate aspects of your life, which is difficult for some
people to do.
I will be happy to host you again in the future to be able to
talk with you about other interesting topics. Therefore, I wish you all the
best with your health and the success you deserve in all your activities.
I will be glad to be there! Thank you for this opportunity, Maria Teresa. I
sincerely reciprocate the good wishes.
concluding, who wants to contact or follow you in your activities? How can they
SDS: They can follow me on my blog, https://www.dereasblog.cloud, where there is a link to the
Youtube channel and on the Facebook page "La Magica Danza Dei Talenti."
For those wishing to write to me, there is also the email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for participating.
you. Thanks to the readers for paying attention to this part of my story. It can be of help and inspiration to someone. See you soon!