18 June, 2021

“My diagnosis led to a journey of self-discovery which would last 10 years”.

Tina Paine was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 when she was 29 years old. She’d had some breast pain and felt a lump during the Christmas of 2007  and went to the doctor straight away.

She insisted they did tests and followed it up for a couple of years. She was told during that time that the lump was benign. It wasn’t until she decided to have an operation two years later that they tested it (post-surgery) and discovered the lump was malignant.  Tina was diagnosed with Oestrogen  Receptor  Positive breast cancer.

A journey of self-discovery

At the time, she worked as an auditing accountant by profession and had quite a stressful job. She was dedicated to her career and had little work/life balance and certainly very few hobbies. When she was diagnosed, she realised something had to change and began to look at how she could change her lifestyle for the better. It was a journey of self-discovery that would last another ten years. She started by looking at how she could lead a healthier lifestyle, both physically and spiritually.  She began exercising regularly: running, weight training , and boxing (not in the ring). And climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for cancer. She started focusing on her self-development too.

Tina was also grateful that she’d had her eggs frozen before her chemotherapy treatment because she realised if she wanted to have children. It was a good idea to do it soon. She took a break from the drugs she was on (Tamoxifen) to ensure that she could get pregnant. The cancer was also hard on her family. Although they were extremely supportive,  it was not easy for them to understand her physical and mental pain.

What happened next?

Then in 2017, Tina, once more, felt pain in her breasts and decided to have it checked.  She had the feeling it would be the same diagnosis as in 2009, as the pain was very similar to what she felt back then.  She was initially diagnosed with another tumour in the same breast and a different type of non-invasive breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ) in the other breast. The latter subsequently was tested as invasive cancer too.

The only option, she decided, was to have both breasts removed. This recurrence of cancer and the removal of her breasts was a very hard time, especially psychologically. Although she had modified her work-life balance, she realised  she also needed to make major changes to take control of her lifestyle and how she viewed life itself.  In this journey of self-discovery, she left her well-established corporate career and now volunteers as a breast cancer ambassador. She’s also set up her own business, making and selling honey, where part of the proceeds goes towards breast cancer prevention.

Her passion is helping women reduce their risk of breast cancer through healthy lifestyle choices. She has focused squarely on health, nutrition , and exercise   – believing that this was what her body and soul needed. Now in remission, Tina only eats healthy,  natural, and organic produce. With the aim of reducing her exposure to the harmful chemicals of everyday life.

Breast Cancer UK is working to prevent more women like Tina from having to go through the upheaval of a breast cancer diagnosis.  We can only do this with your support. Please donate today to support our work. Thank you.

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