“ Never lose hope and believe in better days.
Dr. Gia Sison is the First “Featured mAss Kicker” from the Philippines. She has a very impressive educational background with a MD from The University of Santo Tomas in Manila, a Master degree in Occupational Health from the University of the Philippines, and a degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Occupational Health, Hygiene and Toxicology. She is currently a consultant for the World Health Organization, Western Pacific Region – Philippines. We were fortunate to meet her last year and speak with her at Ateneo de Manila University for healthcare students. We caught up with her recently and asked her a few questions.
mK: Thanks for doing this Gia! What/ when was your diagnosis? How did you find out about your diagnosis?
GS: I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer Stage 2A last March 15, 2013. It was an “incidental finding” which I found out when my Dad gave me a call and since it was quite a long conversation I decided to support my left arm with my right hand and that was when I palpated the 5 cm mass on the outer left quadrant of my breast.
mK: What were your symptoms?
GS: Ironically, I had no symptoms.
mK: Why did you get involved with advocacy? What exactly do you as an advocate?
GS: The advocacy was my passion even when I was not yet diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It is my personal belief that there really is life after cancer.
mK: You must have felt very prepared for the journey you were about about to embark on! Who is your hero or heroes?
GS: Just my Ultimate Healer who carried me through the journey I took.
mK: What motivates you?
GS: Doing what I love and that is to fulfill my duty as a doctor.
mK: When was the first time you felt like yourself after your diagnosis?
GS: Honestly I never “lost it” thanks to the support of my family and peers.
mK: They are “mAss Kickers” too! What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
GS: Life is a roller coaster ride of emotions. Nothing specific just discrimination, which makes me angry.
mK: What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve done?
GS: Being a doctor of service was and will be the most interesting thing I will ever do.
mK: What was the toughest challenge you faced as a survivor? How did you overcome it?
GS: The roller coaster of emotions during chemotherapy, being away for 3 months from practice was tough but prayers and tons of it carried me through and support from family.
mK: What is your guilty pleasure?
mK: Hee hee… At least they’re functional right? If you could only eat 3 things for the rest of your life, what would they be? Why?
GS: Pizza, Pasta, Burgers. I’m a junk food addict!
mK: HAHAHA! Nothing wrong with that as long as you can control it! What do you like to do in your spare time?
GS: Do crossfit. Go out with friends.
mK: What are you up to now?
GS: I’m currently back to my clinical practice and loving every single day of it .
mK: Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
GS: Simple- never lose hope and believe in better days.
mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.
GS: I’m a crossfit addict, can’t go through a day without it.
mK: Fitness and physical activity is very important in living life after a tumor/cancer diagnosis! Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
GS: Life is good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ma. Gia Sison MD: junk food “junkie”, crossfit addict, handbag pack rat, professional “title/credential collector”, physician with a unique perspective, and powerful leader in post-treatment “thrivership” in the Philippines! Check out her blog when you can!