I’m Andrea. I am a 47 year old Pacific Island New Zealand woman who’s had breast cancer twice. I wanted to make a difference to others lives from what I’ve learned through BC.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and again in 2011. From my BC experience, I wanted to share my vision of making BC easier and a positive life changing moment, rather than all nausea and hair loss. There are piles of cool resources, support and inspiring stories for women going through BC and I wanted you to see everything in one place. Also, I wanted people to learn about what it’s like to go through BC and tips on how best to support our friends and family going through BC.
How did I end up here?
I have lived most my life in Wellington, New Zealand; though I have done a bit of flitting overseas for work and holidays. I have always loved art, writing and helping people and at University, studied English and have a BA in Psychology. I then worked in community development and completed a Masters degree in Development Studies. In 2007, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and that started me on a whole new direction of self care, healing and learning.
I love…travelling the world, especially to far flung places, learning languages, yoga, the sea, personal development, writing, fashion and design, good food, friends and family and making a positive difference. And I love sharing experiences and helping others who are walking a similar BC journey to myself.
Here is a bit more information about BCN, my media release and guest writer guidelines:
About Breast Cancer Nirvana
What are the goals of BCN?
- BCN is outcome focused: studies show that women with more support are more likely to survive BC. I want to give women a better chance of survival.
- It’s so important to have positive things available for women with BC. BCN provides resources to get a better chance of survival.
- To tell positive stories about how BC can be a positive life experience post-BC.
- Using my experience for good. Sharing the ups and downs and gory details.
- Assisting understanding and communication. To change the conversation on BC and demystify the reality of cancer and;
- My own benefit – my sanity and therapy.
Why am I doing BCN?
- It started as therapy, for my own sanity, part of my personal development and healing process. I wasn’t trying to get anywhere with it. But I’ve been consistent with this and now it’s helping others.
- To increase understanding of BC. I have documented my experiences even when I felt rotten. I wanted to use my experiences for good.
- When I had BC the first time, it was hard and there was so much learning in that time. But when I got BC the second time, it felt different; I had already learned as much as I could learn about BC. This time, I felt that part of the purpose of my BC was to help others and that it was less about me..sort of my destiny.
- To other women and their families. People want to see success stories of people come through BC with flying colours. It helps others with uncertainty and they will know what to expect.
What I hope to get out of BCN?
- More support for those going through BC translating into better lives and increased BC survival rates
- Sharing of my real experience might help others
- To increase understanding. To change the conversation and understanding of cancer, open the curtains and to reduce awkwardness.
- My sanity and personal development!
Who does BCN target?
- People at any stage of breast cancer and their families
- For people who have not had cancer but want to understand more about cancer e.g. my eBook. 10 Dos and Don’ts when supporting someone with breast cancer written for families and friends of someone with BC.
- In NZ, currently one in nine women will have breast cancer and we are all affected by these statistics.
- BCN is useful to anyone in the world going through BC. However,BC is the most common form of cancer to affect New Zealand women – every year 2,750 women and 20 men in this country will be diagnosed.