Monday, October 10, 2011

Divine Inspiration

October is Breast Cancer awareness month, and aside from donning a (virtual) pink ribbon, I decided to dedicate a post to one of my pole buddies, another Jill-of-all trades and probably one of the bravest and strongest women I ever knew.

Divine Viola is a doctor. That alone got my jaw dropping because I know surviving med school is no joke, but Divine seemed to still view life through rose-colored glasses, with no trace of fatigue on her face.

Aside from surviving med school, Divine has won a bigger battle, that is, her battle against breast cancer, probably the biggest battle in her life. You read that right, Divine is a breast cancer survivor. I’ll never forget what she told me. The reason she got to pole was she needed exercise for her bones to make her stronger because of her cancer. In March 2007, she palpated a lump on her left breast. It was then excised and the biopsy results showed it was malignant. Divine was diagnosed with stage 2A breast cancer. She went through everything – total mastectomy (she showed me her scar where her whole breast was taken out), chemotherapy, radiation and hormonal treatment. “It was scary,” she said. “I felt like I had a death sentence.”

Halfway through her chemotherapy, depression hit her. By that time, her immune system had already weakened due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Her activities were severely limited too. Watching women dance on TV made her envious. But instead of further sinking to depression, Divine made a promise to herself that she will start dancing and dancing when the time she gets well. She also had to deal with the anxiety over the possibility of recurrence. As time passed by, her anxiety lessened. She still undergoes yearly checkups to keep her health in check. As of the moment, Divine has been cancer-free for 4 years and 7 months. When people say that she is in remission, she tells them, “No, I am cured.”

At 47, Divine has the stamina, strength, and fierceness of a healthy woman half her age. and she rocks the sport of pole fitness. She has taken her love for dance and pole up a notch by being part-owner of Dance Station, a dance studio that offers classes in pole, hiphop, burlesque, and Latin aero. Her love for pole dancing is not just a hobby but a business as well.

Her positive outlook in life and success story in her career (she opened her clinic Skin Science Medical Aesthetic and Laser Center last summer) made me want to feature her in my blog, as she symbolizes the fierce, independent, beautiful, and strong woman that’s perfect to emulate. I've been wanting to feature her ever since she told me her story and I've been waiting until October for this post to be up. Read our Q&A and let’s all be inspired!

Divine at the opening of Skin Science Medical Aesthetic and Laser Center in a beautiful Ronaldo Arnaldo dress.

How long have you been pole dancing?

I started pole dancing in July 2010 but had to stop because some activities interfered. I finally took it seriously in November 2010. So, roughly 10 months.

What keeps you busy?

My work as a doctor takes up most of my time. But I try to live

a balanced life. I work, I exercise (pole, of course), I also man the the dance studio (i.e. Dance Station) whenever I have time. I also find time to cultivate my spirituality and have a social life.

with the girls of Dance Station

Is dermatology your first choice?

I initially wanted to become a neurologist. But when I was assigned at the Neurology Department, I realized I would not be able to handle the stress. I decided to pursue Dermatology. I am more on the aesthetic side although I also treat pathologic cases. I hate medical emergencies.

What gave you the strength to go through the obstacles?

I have always been a fighter. My family, friends, pastors and most especially my faith in God (that I will be healed) kept me going.

Divine loves pole dancing so much no one stopped her, not even a guy from doing what she loves.

Why did you choose dance as a hobby and now a business?

I have always loved dancing. And although I do not have a dancing background, I would always join dance performances when I was still a student. Since I love pole dancing, when the offer to become a partner in a dance studio was given to me, I did not have second thoughts. Now, it is not just a hobby but a business as well.

What makes you look younger than your age?

I avoid too much sun exposure ( I use sunblock daily), eat a nutritious diet ( no junk/fatty foods), get enough sleep, exercise 3x a week, and drink lots of water. I do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages.

It is also important that I love my work because I do not feel like working at all. I also find time to relax. I try to maintain a positive outlook in life. I see the glass as half-full.

What is your favorite pole trick?

i like doing the inverted crucifix, eye opener and aerial superman.

If you were to choose between your passion and a man, which would you choose?

That already happened. I had to choose my passion over someone who did not like me doing pole dancing. I do not like to be put in a cage.

What is the best beauty advice that you got and from whom?

It was from my beautiful aunt who I admire a lot because she has aged gracefully. She told me to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

What can we find in your make-up kit?

Sunblock, mascara, red lipstick and mild-scented perfume.

10 years from now, do you still see yourself dancing?


Divine is a breast cancer survivor, and she rocks her life like anything - success, beauty, passion and she shows us that she can hurdle any trial and come out from it smiling, and you can too!


Anonymous said...

Poignant story of strength, fortitude, perseverance, zest for life and Faith. Divine's story is very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Truly inspiring.

Bambi said...

im so happy you loved her story. she truly is an amazing person and she shows the whole world that there's no stopping from doing what you love. Breast cancer didn't stop Divine from loving, living, and dancing. :)

Divina said...

Thanks a lot Bambi for featuring me in your blog.
I hope it helped my friends become more vigilant about their breast exams.

Bambi said...

thanks too divine, for allowing me to feature you. hope your story will inspire women and bring more fire to their hearts.

Gentleman said...

I have just, recently, been blessed with the opportunity and pleasure to communicate with Divina.
I was, already, greatly inspired and impressed with this beautiful, strong, inspiring and interesting woman.
In fact, I found myself thinking one word which described this woman to me and I hope to others who read this...MANIFICENT...
Now after reading this blog, I realize why I was lead to that particular word.
A premonition perhaps, or the message her wonderful collage of photos relayed to me.
This is,truly, a woman that any, intelligent, man would be proud to have at his side and in his life.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer this July, and I have been feeling somewhat depressed about it.
But now, reading this blog and having met this Divine creature online, I am filled with hope and feel renewed.
I thank God for sending her my way and I hope He has a future plan for Divina and me
Thank you Divina.

Bianca Foster said...

A joyous, smart and strong woman I ever met... A friend whom I admire so much and an inspiration to everyone.

Bianca Foster said...

Smart, strong and a joyous woman I ever met... A person whom I admire so much and an inspiration to everyone.