What Got Me Through

We asked New Zealand women with breast cancer to share what helped them get through, besides the support of family, friends and good medical management.  If you’re undergoing treatment, we hope these ideas provide some comfort and inspiration.   If you’re supporting someone with breast cancer, you might find some helpful ideas here.

Through treatment I watched funny movies and saved a whole heap of things off you tube and watched them over and over, making sure I laughed out loud!! I am a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine. I also read a lot of books, mainly Chicken Soup for the Soul and Ellen DeGeneres' book, "Seriously I'm kidding", the funniest book I've read!! Kate

Doing something for myself every day...whether it was walking on the beach, pampering myself with a manicure, massage or facial, taking time out to read a magazine or book, play my favourite music really loud and dance like crazy! Kim

ME time!!! Sitting with a book in the garden. The ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ workshop was also fantastic. And lots of laughs and hugs from the kidlets and hubby. Tania H

What helped me is seeing the young teenagers, toddlers and elderly going through treatment too.  I took courage from them, and felt inspired by others. Tracy

Laughing with my children and showing them that it's ok to see the funny side of things despite everything (especially when they are fascinated that they can literally pull my hair out!). Knowing that it has made us pause together in life, and brought us closer together, to appreciate the little things. Candlelit baths when it's sometimes all a bit much. Good friends and neighbours, who may call, text or make meals, to let you know they are there. Helen

Learning to allow others to look after me, my sisters, my daughters and true friends. I learnt what unconditional love really was and that although I have no power over the cancer, I did have the power over how I dealt with it. I am now a stronger, better person for it. Sue

Looking after my 2 children who were 1 and 4 years old at the time, trying to keep their routines going gave me something to focus on. Also I learnt to accept help and realised that it was ok to let other people do things for me. Phillipa

Books - in particular Lopsided and The C Word - a lighter look at the crappy situation I found myself in at 34. Cheryle

I found great comfort in being able to share my journey with others who have been there through "Dove House", Eastern Bays Hospice. They offer complementary therapies to those who have been diagnosed with cancer. I still go to their women’s’ support group and their art therapy table. We can laugh, enjoy a little black humour (my non cancer friends just cringe) and share the journey. It is a blessing to be around others who 'Get it"! Louise

Maintaining routines as much as possible, going to work, keeping a journal. Walks along the beach, a relaxing holiday away once treatment was over. A loving supportive group of family and friends. Lots of humour and laughter. Lorraine

Working kept me sane, it gave me normality, it gave me a reason to get out of bed. It also gave my brain an opportunity to not think about cancer or treatment. I did my best which wasn’t always a full day.... but still thankful for being there. Tania

I also continued working throughout my treatment, I worked from a bus company and did a school bus run every morning and the kids were great, always asking me how I was , they knew something was up when I lost my hair and started wearing scarfs and bandanas. Mary

Looking forward to 'special' occasions throughout the year and into the next after treatment. These were goals - to be well enough to go to a show, a friend’s wedding, my daughter’s graduation and a trip to Melbourne to see close friends. Lots and lots of positive thinking and laughter :) Lani

Going to bed early so that you have more energy during the day - but taking pit-stops (i.e.: nana naps) during the day when you need it; eat really well so that your body can cope with everything being thrown at it. Michelle

I think what got me through ….was my warm comfortable safe retreat - my bed with beautiful views of sky, trees and roses outside, and an underlying sense that Jesus was with me all the way. I recorded the journey by taking a series of self-portrait photos showing the slow loss of hair through to stark baldness, my quirky collection of hats, and the gradual miraculous return of a faint shadowy, new growth of hair rising up into a whole new spunky hairstyle. Bridget

Support from family, friends and work colleagues who rostered themselves for a meals-on-wheels every Friday for the weekend, and as a morale booster, instead of a visit to the hairdresser - not really an option when you have no hair, a visit to a manicurist for a French Manicure! Did wonders for my inner self. Barbara

Taking long walks with my Labrador and just thinking I am going to get over this. Jennie