“I was in Cambodia for work. It was a very hot night, and I literally swept my hand down my body and said out loud, ‘Oh, it’s so hot!’ And I felt this lump, It felt like half the size of a golf ball. I thought, I’m not going to be too worried about it, but I emailed my doctor and made an appointment.

They’ve said all along you’re very lucky you caught it early.

I guess there’s some people who go through this sort of thing who are not information seekers. But I’m like, ‘tell me everything!’. My oncologist, at our first meeting, said, ‘our job is to take your body to the very edge to kill the cancer. We take you to the edge, knowing that once we stop, the systems that we are affecting will recover.’ So it is scary stuff.

I just asked questions all the time. I’m a pretty cynical person, but I’m so impressed with the quality of care. I was told when I was first diagnosed, you’re in the best city in New Zealand for breast cancer care. When you go in for your chemo you are given a nurse for the day, and she looks after you. They’re super resilient these women I mean, obviously they have to be.

When I was heading into chemotherapy, I think the vision I had was that it would be a very quiet, somber place. Oh, no! It’s like, hi!, hi! Hi! it’s bustly, people are laughing. I actually come away from my chemotherapy sessions feeling quite uplifted because the talk’s very lively, and there’s just this feeling of caring and concern.

I’m at the pointy end of the treatment now, and although I’m only having treatment every three weeks, the drugs that I’m having now are very heavy duty. I’m just holding my head above water with work.

I continue to turn up with full makeup, I’ll put earrings on. And my eyebrows, which I draw on fastidiously every morning and sometimes I end up with like Groucho Marx and sometimes I end up looking like Twiggy. It just depends on my mood. People say to me, oh, gosh, she’s looking so well. That helps me too because it’s a bit of normality in a very abnormal situation.

Perspective is really important. Getting your head out of what might happen, and bringing yourself back to the present is really important. Counseling helps, right? Breast Cancer Foundation and the Cancer Society both fund counseling,

At the beginning, I was trying to be upbeat about it all the time. I’m not now. I acknowledge when I have down days, those are the days when my sister rushes around and gives me a foot massage.

Actually, for the last week, I felt really afraid of dying. Most of the time, I’m not, because I have faith. So it’s just like, I’ve got this job to do this year, which is an absolute shit job. But it will come to an end.

Boy, have I developed as a person and I’ll continue to develop right to the end of this journey, whatever that looks like. Because it just forever changes you. Physically and mentally and emotionally. Spiritually. I’ve got people praying for me all over the world, and I believe that has made a difference.”


Charity registration number: CC57701