Cancer, Depression, and Menopause: A Story of Triumph

If you or a loved one ever battled a deadly disease, deep depression, or debilitating menopause symptoms, then you understand the enormous challenges of striving to stay positive and sane while getting treatment.  Now imagine if you were hit with all three of these whammies at the same time… and at the peak of the Covid pandemic! This is what happened to Dulcinea Gillman, a spellbinding storyteller whose eccentric brilliance makes for a harrowing but darkly funny tale in the following video:
Cancer+Depression+Menopause: A Story of Triumph

Dulcinea is a Chicago mother of four and the head of a Women Business Enterprise company that develops and builds housing for physically and mentally challenged people.  She and her architect husband, John Cronin, were told on Valentine’s Day 2020 the devastating news that she had breast cancer. The devout Catholic began worrying obsessively about dying and leaving her children motherless, so she prayed at home every day, reciting rosaries with her forehead pressed against a mystical picture of Jesus.  She experienced what she believes was a miracle.

Her painful breast surgery and cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic triggered early menopause that could not be managed with estrogen therapy, which would have made the cancer spread.  And on top of the usual hot flashes, insomnia, and other physical ailments, she descended into a frightening emotional spiral that seemed impossible to stop.

She experienced what she believes was a miracle.

Dulcinea had struggled her entire adult life with dramatic PMS mood swings, but the impact of menopause on her mental health was much worse. Her mastectomy made her believe she had lost her youth, femininity, and attractiveness to her husband, and she developed an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. She tried to stay strong for her children and her business and even went back to work just days after her surgery, leading meetings while keeping her illness secret and hiding a surgical bag under her dress… a bag that held fluid being drained from her wound.  She attempted to hide her grief at home, too but was sobbing in the shower so much that her youngest daughter offered tough love by scolding, “There’s no crying in this house!”

Fortunately, with the grace of God and the help of her loving family and dedicated doctors, who gave her anti-depressants along with cancer treatment, Dulcinea survived her Triple Whammy.  Three strikes did not knock her out. Her video is a brutally honest and darkly humorous testimony of one woman’s journey from illness and despair to health and happiness.

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