Never gonna keep me down!
Tania Honey is a part-time primary school teacher. She lives in Auckland with her three teenage boys – age 13, 15 and 16 – her husband and cat.
“I had my original diagnosis in 2011 and at the time I had a mastectomy, chemo and radiation,” says Tania. “After being in remission for eight years, I started experiencing pain in my ribs. Eventually, an x-ray found nodes on my lungs. The cancer had spread to my ribs, spine, lungs and lots of other places.
“The first couple of months we were shell-shocked. Devastated. Then after a couple of months, I realised this was my new normal and decided to make changes.
“I started by reading a book called Radical Remission. This encouraged me to approach my health from different perspectives.
“I changed my diet and started meditating. I didn’t think much of meditating in the beginning but now I love it! It relaxes me and centres me, and has taught me to be in the moment and to roll with it.”
“Physically, I’m good right now. I still go running with the boys. However, I have my lows where I don’t have a lot of energy and feel run down. During the lows, I find it hard to explain it to people. And because I look well, people can’t understand why I’m complaining.
“When I was experiencing a recent low, I went along to a Sweet Louise meeting and got talking to another lady who was a similar age and had kids of a similar age too. We had a good gas bag and I felt so grounded afterwards.
“With the Sweet Louise ladies, the story doesn’t get old because they are living it too. They are walking this journey with me. That connection is so important. The Facebook groups are also amazing. We have our own community where we can share things together.
“It feels to me like advanced breast cancer is a bit forgotten about. There’s all this support when you get first diagnosed with primary, but not once it’s spread. I didn’t realise that until I got here.
“On May 12 I’m going to shave my hair as a fundraiser for Sweet Louise. With help from the other teachers at my school, we’re organising a quiz night and selling raffle tickets for who gets to shave my hair!
“My advice to living life to the fullest is to make a list of the things you enjoy or would like to experience. I’m talking about little things too. Make sure each day has several of these “pearlers” included. Here are some of mine:
- Massage from my boys (they love them too)
- Couple/date time
- Chats with friends
- Listening to your fave songs (nothing like singing along to a tune you love)
- Being in or walking around nature
- Laughter (watch those silly cat videos they have all over the internet)
- Rest (with a good book or lovely view)
- Planning and looking forward to an outing/trip
“Another motto I live by comes from a song by the band Chumbawamba called Tubthumping. It goes:
‘I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never gonna keep me down‘!!