October has long been known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the Sky Tower lit up in pink, pink ribbon pins being sold on the sidewalks and Pink Ribbon Breakies in full force! It is super important for all girls, ladies and women of New Zealand, no matter what stage of life you are, to think about your breast health and implement some of the simple tips below into your daily life to make sure your boobies are in tip top shape. We caught up with the amazing Jess Weller of the Weller Network, a breast cancer survivor, to share her story with us and provide some helpful tips…
Please tell us a little bit about your health journey…
I had always been pretty fit and healthy – I ate well, didn’t drink too much and tried my best to look after my mental and emotional wellbeing. So as you can imagine was pretty shocked when I was diagnosed with an uncommon form of aggressive breast cancer at age 27 back in 2013 while on my OE in London. With no family history and no idea I could get breast cancer at such a young age I decided it was important to make some massive lifestyle changes – some of which took a wee while to do. When you get diagnosed with a life threatening illness you see the world with different eyes. I did so much research and had many conversations with other young women regarding the food we eat and what we put on our skin. I guess one of the significant moments in terms of my health journey was the decision to give up alcohol. There is such a massive drinking culture in New Zealand and there is a lot of peer pressure and questioning when someone decides not to drink. I always use it as an opportunity to have a healthy conversation.
What initial symptoms did you experience that alarmed you?
How has your journey influenced how you treat your health day-to-day?
I lived pretty normally during treatment but was probably a bit naughty and had a few too many treats because I just wanted to ‘live’. After I had finished treatment and got back to New Zealand I decided to give up alcohol and have not had a drink since New Years Eve 2015. I eat organic fruit and vege where I can, as well as limit my dairy and meat intake. I don’t wear much make up and I now use ‘Ecostore’ products for my body and hair and clothes. I also use chemical-free deodorants and organic feminine hygiene products where possible. I do yoga where I can and walk a bit. However, radiation has left me feeling pretty fatigued so motivation for exercise can sometimes be hard to find.
Why is breast cancer awareness month so important for all NZ females?
A message for young females…
Top Tips to Healthy Breasts
~ Limit your alcohol intake
~ Exercise regularly and keep active
~ Maintain a healthy diet and body weight by eating well
~ Investigate and understand your family history of breast cancer and cancer in general
~ Reduce and manage your stress levels
~ Be conscious of what you put onto your skin
~ Be sure to get enough rest and sleep
~ Surround yourself with positive and supportive people
What to Look Out For
~ Know what normal looks and feels like for you so you are able to identify changes
~ Have your breasts checked once a month (self-checking is great!)
~ Be aware of the whole breast tissue area – this is from your collarbone, down to the base of your sternum and out into your armpits
Share this article with all the important ladies in your life as a heartfelt reminder and if you have any further tips on how YOU take care of your breasts please comment below xo