May 22, 2022

how sport enabled Angélique De Abreu, suffering from breast cancer, to get out of it

A member of the Grayloise association in Haute-Saône, the young woman spotted her cancer herself in 2019. After having had both breasts removed, then her uterus and ovaries, she says today held on thanks to sport. Coach of a football team in the Vosges, she drew on the field the energy to face operations, fatigue, and to accept her body, upset.

Recommended mammography after 50, Angélique from Abreu didn’t wait for her, she preferred to take the lead. In August 2019, the 34-year-old young woman perceived a lump under her left breast. This self-palpation, it owes nothing to chance. Originally from Besançon (Doubs), Angélique is a member of Grayloise, an association from Haute-Saône which organizes sporting events in support of people with cancer. The threat, she knew it. Sensitized to this risk, she is all the more aware of what awaits her. She agreed to testify to her story, on February 4, World Cancer Day.

This head start on the disease, on breast cancer, will perhaps allow him to gain a little time. However, very quickly, the diagnosis falls. She had her left breast removed a month later. “Obviously it was difficult, she recalls. It was followed by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, the body is tired. »

Installed in the Vosges for a few years, Angélique de Abreu then coaches a junior football team in Cheniménil, her village. She is a coach of young players in the U11 category. “I did training once a week and matches on Saturdays”. A life punctuated by heavy treatment, with chemotherapy and one radiation session per week. “She was coming out of chemo, going to the stadium to train her team”, testifies with admiration Maria Charton, her aunt, president of the Grayloise association, who has followed her niece’s fight from the start. Combative in the field, persuasive with her youngsters, Angélique will have to be even more so with herself.

When I was in chemo, everything that is daily I had a lot of trouble. The first three made me lose my hair and eyelashes, made me lose my appetite. The body is very tired, we sleep a lot. And it’s hard to get up, you feel like you have aches all over. What was hardest was accepting that I no longer had breasts. It was above all the image of myself that I had trouble dealing with.

In August 2020, the disease worsens: “We learned that it was a genetic cancer, which could go elsewhere. » She is told that she is going to have to have her right breast removed, but also, as a preventive measure, her uterus and ovaries. The pandemic is raging, and Angélique faces it doubly: “Because of covid, my operation has been rescheduled three times. » In October 2021, her right breast was removed.

What stuck with me was that when she left the hospital after her removal, she was in the stadium. She wanted to show that she was stronger than that bitch.

Maria Charton, president of the Grayloise association

Then, on January 18, 2022, the hysterectomy and oophorectomy were finally carried out, when precancerous cells had reached the cervix. “It was quite a relief to have them taken away from me. It’s as if I had a knife above my head that could fall. » Mother of 3 children, the young woman was not afraid of losing any possibility of having any, quite the contrary: “I wanted to see my children grow up, so I didn’t want new chemo. »

Just released from the hospital at the start of 2022, Angélique De Abreu may not have overcome her illness, it is still too early to say, she confides. “It feels good, we tell ourselves that we have turned another page. Normally it’s over, I hope to see the end soon enough. »

The end of the tunnel, Angelique has at least reached it on the sports table. In September 2021, despite all the daily difficulties that cancer imposes on her, the trainer realizes a small dream, to set up her own team, the senior women’s team of Cheniménil. “What allowed me to hold on was being part of the Grayloise office, it’s my family. But above all, what allowed me to escape is football, I am the leader of a women’s team in my village, I also play, that’s what allowed me to get out. » On the pitch, she’s the one who dribbled the disease, she’s the one who scores points, she’s the one who puts cancer out of play: “For me, I was not sick, I forgot the disease. »

In tune with cancer, her reminiscences and her long medical follow-up, Angélique De Abreu lives with football, her escape. “There is training twice a week, Saturday match and Sunday, bar, so I’m always at football on weekends”, she smiles. His team obviously follows all his events closely, especially operations. “I did not hide from the start, they knew it. When I went to the hospital, it was messages of support, of encouragement. It feels good to feel them behind me like I am behind them on the pitch. »

“It’s a beautiful lesson in courage, in life, s’ébahit Maria Charton. I never saw her sad, depressed, she was moving forward, as if the cancer did not exist. It was stunning. It’s like she’s in denial but actually not at all. »

Angelique De Abreu looks to the future with hope today, and her cancer, with a form of fatality. “Now he is part of my life. I’m not going to say he’s a friend, but it’s something that’s part of me, I have to tolerate it. » To all those who are going through cancer, the young woman wishes to convey this message: “You have to stay positive, never get discouraged, move forward, listen to your body, never give up, even if sometimes it’s hard, I admit that. »

Following training, Angélique De Abreu opened her own business in December 2021, she settled at home as a nail technician. After having taken care of her for a long time, the opportunity, finally, to take care of others?

In support of all people with cancer, Angélique will, in any case and like every year, be on the starting line of the Grayloise race on March 13, 2022.

This story, her story, Angélique de Abreu testifies to it in a podcast, linked above.