Three-time breast cancer survivor shares life testimony in memoir debut

July 3, 2018 in News

By Cianna Hope Reeves,

JSU Student Intern,



A mother, advocate, inspirational speaker, singer, breast cancer survivor, and now author – Vaniessa Cousin continues to break barriers after facing numerous health challenges throughout her life.

To highlight her journey during her diagnosis with Stage 1 breast cancer, Cousin is launching her biography titled I’ve Been Through the Valley, But God… where she discusses her personal stories about her process of dealing with and healing from her illnesses and other adversities.

Cousin ignored the lump she discovered afraid to learn the truth. As she waited, it grew.

Eighteen years later at age 35, the doctors diagnosed her with Stage 1 breast cancer which is when cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue; she recalled the moment of discovery ‘life-changing.’

“My initial thought was ‘I am going to die.’ I was shocked, and I was also in a state of denial at the time because we didn’t hear much about cancer and no one ever mentioned anything about it,” admitted Cousin.

The first diagnosis encouraged her to build relationships with other survivors by becoming an inspirational speaker and sharing her experiences with those who were undergoing the same battles.

“The more I talked about it, the more I felt better about it…it was my therapy,” she said.

After completing chemotherapy, she started the writing process of her biography by journaling about her daily life as a cancer patient.

Soon into writing, Cousin stopped, years passed, and tragedy struck again – she was diagnosed in 2011 with the most serious and life-threatening phase, Stage 4 breast cancer, also known as metastatic breast cancer, where cancer cells have traveled through multiple organs in the body, and again in 2013.

With the effort to live life more abundantly and become more proactive, the survivor received direction from God to complete her story for the world to read.

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but God allowed me to experience not only Stage 1, but also two recurrences of Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, he allowed me to go through those phases to tell my story,” she said.

In her spiritual and uplifting memoir, she acknowledges victims of breast cancer and individuals who suffer from other fatal diseases by telling them to remain hopeful in times of pain and distress.

Motivating others is not only her passion but also her calling.

“I do what I do because I am walking in my purpose. My experience has shown me different things in life, from a Stage 1 to two recurrences of Stage 4, and then to be a walking testimony living with metastatic cancer, it has shown me that I have to pay it forward, and the only way I can do that is by not keeping it to myself,” stated Cousin.

She advises all cancer patients and impacted family members to pray and when doing so discard their burdens.

“You cannot carry the weight of the world on you – I tried it and I failed. I know it’s easier said than done, but with faith and prayer it can be done.”

At the end of the day, one message Cousin hopes people will understand is the importance of not being afraid to get tested and to take necessary precautions.

“Cancer is not a death sentence, but if you wait, it could be too late. Be proactive about your body and health, learn about your family history and don’t wait on someone to diagnose you,” Cousin said.

When asked how she remains so strong, Cousin smiled and stated, “It’s just faith.”

I’ve Been Through the Valley, But God… is currently available for pre-orders and will be released Tuesday, July 10. Get your copies at