Dayanara Torres on Beating Cancer, Healing Her Heart, and Opening Up to Love

·6  min de lectura

Dayanara Torres knows how to get back up after every fall and faces every challenge with faith and a positive attitude. The former Miss Universe motivates us with her life lessons. For People en Español's Inspírate — its first live summit with celebrities to discuss topics like self-care, fitness, mental health, and food — the Puerto Rican actress and TV host reveals how she beat skin cancer and healed herself after heartbreak.

(Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images for LARAS)

Facing the coronavirus pandemic after battling skin cancer hasn't been easy. "I finished my last cancer treatment at the end of February, when they let me know I was cancer-free. I do have to continue with the treatments for two years every three months," she says. "I try to take care of myself more. I haven't gone out of the house at all. The only time I went out was to get medicine. My boys also had to understand that we have to stay here locked up. I had to explain how this all worked and told them I needed their help, that I wasn't the only one that had to take all the precautions because of COVID-19 — that they had to do it, too."

The support of her sons — 19-year-old Cristian and 16-year-old Ryan — and her mom, sister, other relatives, and close friends was essential during her radiation treatments. She admits she felt very weak at times and had back aches. "I got exhausted really quickly but I didn't let that get me down, knowing that this would all end at some point," Torres says, adding that she embraced her faith in God and St. Jude.

Life in quarantine during the pandemic — and facing cancer while being single — hasn't been harder because of not having the support of a life partner, Torres assures. "Having a significant other has never helped me get over a difficult time. I have overcome all difficult times in my life — which have been many — on my own. I am strong, I don't need anyone to overcome a difficult moment. What is truly important is having your family close to you. You are the one that has to overcome. I knew that I would overcome because of my kids, because of my family and the people I love."

Torres says her former fiancé came into her life to convince her to make a doctor's appointment and check out an irregular mole that turned out to be a melanoma. She says her heart has healed after he unexpectedly broke off their engagement during her cancer treatment. "I look for the reason behind everything," she says. "I could break down and say: 'Why is this person leaving me now that I am going through this?' No, he had a purpose. His purpose was to come into my life, love me, let me know about the melanoma, and leave. And that's OK — there will be someone else. You have to understand why things happen and move on."

The stunning beauty — who is shining in her new role of chef, making delicious recipes from home for Instagram videos — says she is looking for "someone who will make me laugh, I can't stand serious people." Her soulmate also has to be understanding, know that her kids are her priority, and let her shine and spread her wings.

"I have cooked my entire life, since I was 12 years old," says Torres, who used to cook for her siblings in her hometown of Toa Alta in Puerto Rico. "I like to do arts and crafts, to cook, to decorate," she says. Being a mom is the role she enjoys most. "They help me out a lot. They are great kids, they have a kind heart. They are always looking out for each other," she says about her sons. "They love and respect one another."

In her book Married to Me: How Committing to Myself Led to Triumph After Divorce, she recalls her fairytale wedding and her marriage to singer Marc Anthony, the father of her sons, and how she was able to overcome their breakup. "I did things with a lot of peace because I was thinking of the future of my sons," she says. "It hurts — someone breaks your heart and you feel this rebellion inside, but I didn't want that to enter into my kids' lives. It didn't work out between us. From now on, how can I handle things with my two kids so that they never have an issue because of this? In my son's bedrooms there are photos of their dad. Their dad hasn't died, he is still alive. He and I divorced each other, but he is still their father. Whenever they go with him on vacation, in my home no one ever talks badly about anyone. Many people are going through the situation that I went through — or a worse one — and they suffer a lot, so their anger makes them do things they can later regret. I wanted to write this book so they can see how I handled things, which was to do what was best for the kids."

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Torres reveals there are new book offers on the table. "There are still many stories to tell," she says. What is her mantra when facing challenges? "We must be grateful every day." She always looks for the positive in every obstacle. "We must keep going, we cannot let anything stop us. I cannot allow myself to fall because of my kids. They have to keep seeing me as who I am, a capable and strong woman, who doesn't give up and who has struggled to get up at times, but always gets back up."