Hi everyone, I hope the new year is going well for you. Please stay in touch with me and I’d love to hear from you about your journey or if you’d like to write anything for BC Nirvana.
Love x Andrea
8 Years On
On 8 January 2015, I had my 8 year cancer diagnosis anniversary which was also my 39th birthday in 2007. Being my birthday is kind of beside the point but in retrospect is symbolic of the birth of a new way of life.
In 2007, the prognosis was not that great. One Oncologist said that I had a 10% chance of surviving 10 years without treatment. I accepted the treatment – surgery, chemo, radio and a year of Herceptin.
I was doing cancer treatment as I turned 40. When I hear people talking about not wanting to turn 40, I just know that they don’t get it. They don’t get that you are lucky to get older.
I then went on a recovery path and gradually started to get my old self and old energy back. I did a holiday in Brazil and got my spark back and then in 2010, I remember feeling that I was finally back in to life. I was going to the gym, working full time and about to head overseas to live. I felt good.
In April 2011 I was diagnosed with a new primary breast cancer in the same breast. I was surprised as I felt so healthy. I had a mastectomy and breast reconstruction, chemo and a year of Herceptin.
This time I took a different direction with the breast cancer treatment taking time for recovery and recording my lessons learned for others walking the same path as me. I created this website and a range of other projects to support people affected by breast cancer.
In January 2015, I feel that I am in a completely different place to 2007. Despite many scars, I do feel happier and healthier than before breast cancer. People used to say to me that years after treatment, they wouldn’t change a thing and found that they were grateful for their cancer. I thought they were crazy; while you are going through treatment, it is not easy at all. I would never minimise that!
I would not choose cancer again but I have learned a lot. It has forced me to make quite a number of changes in my life and prioritise my health and well-being over anything else. This is easier said than done.
Here I am, 8 years after 2 cancers and I am grateful. I am healthy with a different definition of health that has to do with lifestyle and peace – not whether or not I am with or without cancer. I am especially grateful to my medical team, friends and family.
I hope you have gained value from the website, eBooks and blogs. The website has followed my journey through a breast reconstruction, chemo and Herceptin. And for me, most importantly, through my journey to get myself back from cancer. Getting myself back is one thing. However, finding a new calling and purpose is another. I am on a different path now.
Over 2015, I will outline more about the post-treatment tour I’ve organised now in April 2016 to Italy. I’m also half way through my memoir and have a few other projects on the go.
Please keep in touch and let me know if you would like to write anything for Breast Cancer Nirvana.
Love xx Andrea