BCNA Summit and three years cancer free!

18 March 2017 marked three years since I was delivered the news over the telephone “I am sorry to tell you that you have breast cancer” whilst on a school excursion with my son at Sculptures by the Sea in Cottesloe.

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Sculptures by the sea @ Cottesloe beach 18 March 2014

Many thoughts ran through my mind following that phone call. I had so many questions and little did I know that they would remain unanswered for quite a while longer. It would be another week before I could see a Breast Surgeon for more information and it was another two months before I saw an Oncologist.

The first place I reached out to seek answers to my questions was Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA). I was put in touch, online initially, with other ladies who had been recently diagnosed. It was reassuring to know I wasn’t alone. Shortly after making contact, I received a large package in the mail from BCNA called “My Journey Kit”. It was a free information pack that helps newly diagnosed people through the shock of diagnosis and helps them make decisions on treatment and care.

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My Journey Kit & My Care Kit

Since my initial contact with BCNA, I have tried to give back as much as I can. I have contributed to online discussions with ladies newly diagnosed, I wrote an article entitled Embracing my body, scars and all for BCNA in their magazine, The Beacon and I have supported them in two fundraising luncheons.

BCNA Pink Lady Luncheon 2015

BCNA Pink Lady Luncheon 2016

As some of you are aware in March I was selected, out of hundreds of applicants, to attend the BCNA National Summit for 2017 on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Coincidentally on my diagnosis date, 18 March. Must be fate!

The theme for the conference was ‘Making a Difference’.  Through workshops and lectures I learnt new skills to raise awareness of breast cancer and the impact that it has on individuals and families and how BCNA can help.  I hope to put this knowledge to use in my community in Perth and ultimately make a difference.

Another thing I took away from the Summit was many new friendships.  I met some wonderful people, both women and men.  It’s the first time the BCNA Summit had two men diagnosed with breast cancer attend as delegates.

Before I attended the Summit I set up a fundraising page for BCNA.  Thank you to each and every one of you who donated.  Your support helps BCNA to be there for the 48 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer every day.

This blog post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t share a video montage with you now would it? So, below are a few photos from the Summit.  Set to Chrissy Amphlett’s song “I touch myself”.  Before Chrissy died from breast cancer she wanted the song to become an anthem for spreading awareness about the importance of touching ourselves for early detection of the disease.

At the end of the video montage is a photo of me celebrating three years cancer free on 18 March 2017 with my girlfriend in Noosa and that my friends is Just Peachey!

2017 Bring it on!

2016 was an interesting year.  There were plenty of highs but also some lows.  When I first embarked on this journey, I remember my surgeon telling me that this would be at least a two year process.  That I wouldn’t feel my old-self (if there is such a thing after a cancer diagnosis) for at least two years.  At the time I think I laughed.  Two years?!  No way!  I’ll be back on my feet in six months I told myself.  Oh how wrong I was.  It is only now, coming up to three years in March that I feel something like my old self.  I am still in quite a bit of discomfort from the five surgeries, my body doesn’t work like it used to (that could also be due to age haha!) but I’m sure with time I will acclimatize.

I think 2016 was an interesting year for many.  Apart from all the public stars we lost – David Bowie, Prince, George Michael etc. we also lost many to breast cancer.  You may recall I posted about the Purple Bra Day fundraiser I participated in 2015 where I modelled with three other ladies going through breast cancer.  One of them passed away last year.  Rest in Peace Donna.  A few months later, another blogger and breast cancer Mumma who reached out to me during the year lost her battle. Rest in Peace Anne. Then only this week I found out another lost her life on New Year’s Day.  Rest in Peace Michy.  Sometimes I get the survivor guilt.  Why did these three beautiful young women (and yes they were all young – in their 30’s and two were mothers of young children) not get a chance at life while I’m still here?  I try not to dwell on it too long but I would be lying if I said it didn’t affect me.  One of my closest friends was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 which really hit me.  I’m happy to say that it was caught early and she has just finished her treatment.  We are both looking forward to a happy and healthy 2017.

A highlight for me in 2016 was finding out just a few weeks ago that I had been accepted as a delegate into the BCNA (Breast Cancer Network Australia) Summit on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland in March this year.  The theme for the Summit is “Making a Difference”.  I look forward to participating in the conference, meeting new people and developing skills to making a difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer.  On return from the Summit my aim is to do volunteer work as a community liaison for BCNA.

My New Year’s Eve was spent with my family and friends down south camping.  We had a wonderful time.  It was Just Peachey and just what the Doctor ordered.  I’m looking forward to a mini escape with hubby to Melbourne in a few weeks to see The Book of Mormon.  We saw it in New York in 2015 and loved it so much we decided to see it again.  It’s totally inappropriate but oh so funny!  In March I will go to the BCNA Summit and I’m excited to see where that will take me!  Until then… here’s a glimpse of my year in 2016.  Set to Sia’s “The Greatest”.  One of my favourite tunes from 2016. “Don’t give up, don’t give up”…

If you look carefully, you will see a number of photos of a new addition to the Just Peachey family, our cute Maltese puppy, Buddy.




What cancer taught me

What a busy couple of months it has been!

On 14 June I underwent my fifth and final surgery.  Yayyyyy!  Six weeks later I am feeling good.  I’m not completely healed but I’m feeling better and stronger with each passing week.

Heading into surgery

Just three days after my surgery was Purple Bra Day.  I organised a Breast Cancer Bootcamp fundraiser for this event with the help of my good friend and Personal Trainer, Colin King.  I’m happy to say that it went very well!  We had a great turn out and lots of fantastic prizes were won on the day.  I managed to raise $3,078.74 for Breast Cancer Care WA.  Thank you to each and every one of you who participated on the day and/or made a donation.  I really appreciate it!  As do all the worthy recipients of the funds.  It will make their lives just a little bit easier when faced with a breast cancer diagnosis.


Modelling the Purple Bra!

With my good friend and Personal Trainer, Colin King



A few weeks after the fundraiser I had a call out of the blue from the centre where I had my mammogram and ultrasounds done two years ago.  They asked me to come and collect my films from my procedure.  On reading the accompanying report, I was shocked to read that my mammogram was completely normal and it seemed that my ultrasound was normal too.  They found a slight discrepancy which was ‘probably nothing’ but if my GP wanted to follow it up she should conduct a biopsy.  I was not aware of this information at the time.  When I went to see my GP she just told me that she wanted me to have a biopsy.  Can you imagine what would have happened if she hadn’t been so thorough and followed it up with a biopsy?  The cancer I had was very aggressive.  I was lucky that it was picked up early and hadn’t spread.  If she had not been so diligent I may not be here today…

Around the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer I stumbled across a remarkable woman called Taryn Brumfitt.  Taryn was filming a documentary about women and their bodies.  Given that I was in the midst of an ever changing body – loss of hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, boobs, and a gain of weight due to the chemo drugs I became fascinated with her documentary.  To finance the documentary, Taryn set up a kickstarter fund to which  I donated.  The documentary was two years in the making.  Last week I was lucky to attend the preview screening of the documentary “Embrace” and listen to a Q & A with Taryn.  It echoed everything I had been feeling for the last two years.  If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend you do.  Here is the trailer for the documentary.


Last month I was contacted by David Robertson from the website Fitter Healthier Stronger to write a piece about myself and what cancer had taught me.  This is what I submitted.  It is raw and from the heart.  I hope it will help those of you that are faced with a cancer diagnosis or are currently going through treatment.


What Cancer Taught Me

Cancer taught me that I am enough. Before I was diagnosed I was always trying to be better. A better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better version of myself. On reflection, I realise I was already all of those things. I am much more positive and I am more confident in my own skin even though my body does not look like it used to. I’ve embraced the new me.
I’m Nicola, version 2.0. I may not have the same fit body that I used to but the body that I do have has done amazing things for me. It helped me kick cancer’s butt!
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer in March 2014. I underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy followed by a double mastectomy with lat dorsi reconstruction. I have just undergone my fifth surgery.
The photo on the left was taken just before heading into surgery for my double mastectomy in October 2014. The photo on the right was taken in March this year when I attended a ball to raise money for research into women’s cancers. #FitterHealthierStronger

Throughout my treatment I never let anyone (outside of my immediate family) see me without makeup, a wig or a scarf on my head and now I am baring all! One of the things I have done in the past year is I have embraced my body.  I guess cancer has taught me a lot and that my friends is Just Peachey!



Two year survivor

I can now call myself a two year survivor!  I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to write that.  I am just that little bit closer to my five year goal.

The first half of this year has flown by and to look at me now you wouldn’t even know how sick I was a few years ago.  My hair is longer, my movement has improved and my energy levels have increased.  I can’t say that my memory has improved however.  I still have several “chemo brain” moments!  Some might say that is old age but I’m going to drag that one out for just a bit longer… haha

I still support as many breast cancer charities as I can.  In March I attended the Purple Hearts Ball with some girlfriends.  The event fundraises for crucial medical research into women’s cancers at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research in Perth.  It was a wonderful evening.


Off to the ball!


My gorgeous girlfriends


My name on the honour roll


On Mother’s Day I decided to forgo my sleep-in and participated in my fourth Mother’s Day Classic run for breast cancer research.  My first run was in 2013.  I ran 4km.  In 2014 I ran again just one week after my first round of chemo.  In 2015 I walked the 4km just two weeks after surgery and this year I ran 4km again one year after my last surgery and two years after my first round of chemo.  I was determined not to stop and walk.  I made it all the way through, even though I shed many emotional tears along the way.

Mother's Day Classic

Mother’s Day Classic

My next fundraising event will be on Friday 17 June, just three days after my fifth and (hopefully) final surgery.  June 17 is Purple Bra Day in Perth.  Purple Bra Day helps Breast Cancer Care WA assist those that need support when facing breast cancer.  Whether it be practical (house cleaning), financial (helping with bills) or personal (counselling).  Most people that know me, know how much I love my fitness so I am holding a Purple Bra Day Bootcamp!  I am enlisting the help of a good friend who is a Personal Trainer.  He will put everyone through their paces.  It should be loads of fun and there will be plenty of prizes on the day.  For more information head to my fundraising page;

I couldn’t write a two year survivor blog post without doing an obligatory video montage so here is a summary of the past two years.  I hope you enjoy it!  The music is called “Dear Life, I’m a Survivor”.  Thanks must go to Delta Goodrem for writing such an amazing song.  It’s become my new anthem and that my friends is Just Peachey!






2015 – my road to recovery

I rarely post blogs anymore because to be quite honest with you I don’t really have that much more to share. I started writing this blog when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2014. It was a way for my friends and family to keep up to date with my treatment without me having to answer hundreds of messages and phone calls.  Then it turned into something much more. It became very cathartic writing – letting out my thoughts and feelings during a difficult time. 

2015 for me has been about recovery. I have had another two surgeries and will most likely have one more in 2016. I have done copious hours of physio and pilates to get movement and strength back. My hair has grown back. I have ticked off several bucket list items – New York, the footy grand final at the MCG in Melbourne and the New Years Eve skyshow in Sydney. For the most part I have been as positive as I can be. However I would be lying if I said I was completely happy. I miss my old body. It doesn’t move like it used to. The surgery has restricted a lot of movement. I also am learning to live with my scars. A constant reminder of the cancer every time I look in the mirror. I met with my surgeon recently and he gave me a reality check. You are 41 years old he said. Most probably you will live on average to 82 years of age. That’s another 41 years of living! You need to find your way to embrace the new you. Embrace the scars. Embrace the difficulty in movement and go on and live your life as the new Nicola. Once you do that, things will be so much clearer and easier. Oh how right he is! I’m one year closer to my five year cancer-free milestone and I have plenty more living to do.  

Attached is a clip of my year of healing, both physically and mentally. The dog days are nearly over and that my friends is Just Peachey!


IMG_5967-0October has always been special. It’s my birthday month, my husband’s birthday month, our wedding anniversary (16 years this year), my parent’s wedding anniversary (52 years this year!), it’s my sister’s birthday month, my best friend’s birthday month… It has always been a month of celebrations. That was until last year. Last year October no longer became the month of parties and having fun it became the Pink month. The month of breast cancer awareness.

Last October was very busy for me. I turned 40. I celebrated my 15th Wedding Anniversary, I gave a speech at the Pink Ribbon Ball and to top off the month I lost both my breasts. Not your average month!

This week marks the one year anniversary that I had my surgery.  I have mixed emotions.  Most days I am thankful to be alive but somedays I wish I had my old body back.  One that I can move freely with without being hindered by the scar tissue that has caused swelling in my back.  One that doesn’t carry scars which is a constant reminder of the cancer, one where the ravages of chemo didn’t cause me to blow up (I’m still trying to shift those chemo kilos which is hard to do when you can’t exercise properly) and one where internally I am not trying to think about the chance of the cancer returning.

I am sure as each year passes October will get easier and it will once again be the month of celebrations.   I have had a few “first anniversaries” this year and this just happens to be another one!

Apart from being the year of first anniversaries.  It has also been the year of the YOLO (you only live once).  I think some people have been surprised at the amount of time myself and my husband and children have been holidaying and enjoying ourselves.  All I can say is that when the possibility of death slaps you in the face it really makes you sit up and reassess the important things in life!

In August my husband and I travelled to New York while my fabulous parents looked after our children with the help from my sister and friends.  We are so very grateful!  It was a once in a lifetime trip.  It was a perfect belated 40th present and a wonderful way for my husband and I to reconnect after let’s face it, a pretty crappy year!  Then at the end of September just to add to the YOLO year, on a whim we decided at the last minute to fly to Melbourne with our children to see my husband’s beloved football team, the West Coast Eagles play in the Grand Final.  Which also happened to fall on his birthday.  Unfortunately they lost but the beautiful memories we created with our children we will always cherish.

Enjoying a night out in New York

Enjoying a night out in New York


On our way to the MCG on Grand Final Day

Hubby and the kids walking to the MCG after the Grand Final parade

Hubby and the kids walking to the MCG after the Grand Final parade

You cannot put a price on these YOLO moments.  They are going to stay with me forever and not even breast cancer can take that away from me and that, my friends, is Just Peachey!


Fashion, bubbles and a ball all in the name of Boobs!

Phew!  I’ve just about caught my breath after a busy week!

Here’s a quick overview;

It all started off on Friday 19 June with Purple Bra Day which raises money for Breast Cancer Care W.A.  I was invited to join three other breast cancer survivors to model Morrison clothing in a fashion parade at Indianas in Cottesloe.  It was a beautiful morning fundraising for this fabulous WA charity that provides personalised emotional, practical and financial support and care to people affected by breast cancer.

I had never modelled before so I was a little nervous at first but I soon felt at ease walking alongside my fellow Pink Sisters.

Modelling the beautiful Morrison clothing

Love these Morrison leather pants and jacket!

With my Pink Sisters. Wearing our bras for Purple Bra Day

On the catwalk!

The fun didn’t end there!

The following evening, I gave a speech at “Inspire” which was a fundraising event in aid of the Ride to Conquer Cancer.  This 200km bike ride takes place in October 2015 and all money raised goes directly to the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

I was very grateful to have so many of my family and friends there cheering me on during my speech and I was very humbled by the many people that came up to me after the presentation to tell me how courageous I was and how I had inspired them.

Up on stage delivering my speech

With the beautiful Amy Zempilas, fashion and lifestyle blogger from Absolute Amy

With my gorgeous girlfriends

Fabulous family and friends

Lastly, I attended the flamboyant Boobalicious Ball last Saturday 27 June with a group of girlfriends.  The Ball also raises valuable funds for Breast Cancer Care W.A. I had an absolute ball (no pun intended) watching the beautiful Simone Perele fashion show, sipping on bubbles and dancing the night away!

On the way to the Ball!

At the Boobalicious Ball

It was a busy week but it was also lots of fun.  Life definitely isn’t dull at the moment that’s for sure and that’s Just Peachey!

Following is a video which played after my speech at the Inspired Fashion show.  How many selfies can one girl take? Hahaha.  Enjoy!

Mother’s Day Classic

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day in Australia.  It was a beautiful sunny Autumn day spent with family and friends.

One of the highlights of Mother’s Day for the past three years has been being involved in the Mother’s Day Classic fun-run for breast cancer research.

The first time I ran it was three years ago in 2013.  I did the 4km run.  Back then, I was doing the run for my mum.  She is a breast cancer survivor.  This year will mark 21 years from her diagnosis.

Mother's Day Classic 2013

Mother’s Day Classic 2013

Last year I again enrolled in the 4km run but only ran about 3kms and walked the remaining 1km.  The run again fell on Mother’s Day, which was exactly one week after my first chemo treatment.

Mother's Day Classic 2014.  One week after my first chemo.

Mother’s Day Classic 2014. One week after my first chemo.

This year I enrolled in the 4km walk.  I had surgery three weeks ago and my surgeon told me I was unable to run for at least six weeks after surgery.  I took his advice and completed the 4km walk with my family and friends.  It was a fantastic sense of achievement.  A feeling I won’t forget in a hurry.

Mother's Day Classic 2015.  I beat Breast Cancer!

Mother’s Day Classic 2015. I beat Breast Cancer!

Next year I am determined to do it again but hopefully I will be running and if luck is on my side I will run the 8km instead.                                         That would be Just Peachey!

One year anniversary

I’ve celebrated many one year milestones throughout my life. The majority of them have been happy, joyous occasions… my first wedding anniversary, the first birthdays of both of my children.

Today the 18th of March 2015 is slightly different. It is the first anniversary that I received the news that I had breast cancer. I am full of mixed emotions. I’m so happy that I have beat this nasty disease but at the same time I am grieving for what I have lost. Lost a part of myself. That carefree side of myself. I try to remain as positive as I can but I would be lying to you if I didn’t worry about cancer and the possibility that it may return one day.

On this day last year you may recall that I accompanied my son’s class on a school excursion to Sculptures by the Sea. It was while I was at the beach on the excursion that I got the call from my Doctor confirming my diagnosis. After receiving the news I then proceeded to my children’s Interschool swimming carnival. It was a welcome distraction. Funnily enough, yesterday I had the option of accompanying my daughter and her class to the same excursion and then last night was her Interschool carnival. I decided not to go to the excursion. Maybe I will next year. However I did go to the carnival and cheer her along. It was a very surreal moment. I was so happy for her but at the same time I was having flashbacks to a year ago. I guess these triggers will continue in this first year. My first chemo treatment, the day I shaved all my hair off, the day I finished chemo, they day I had my double mastectomy… etc. It just happens that today is my first trigger. One that is difficult but hopefully in time those feelings will subside.

So putting grief aside. On this, my one year anniversary I would like to think of the positive aspects in my life and what I am thankful for.

  • Family – always being there for me.  Anytime, with no questions asked.
  • Friends – calling me, messaging me, taking me out (even when I didn’t want to go!), turning up on my doorstep after I burst out crying on the phone – yes you know who you are!
  • Doctors, Surgeons and Nurses – looking after me and giving me the best possible treatment while also having a wonderful bedside manner.
  • Social media – keeping me entertained and putting me to sleep when I had insomnia.
  • Gossip magazines – endless hours in waiting rooms meant I was full bottle on the fashion stakes.
  • My local gym – taking my mind off things even if my body doesn’t really look like it’s seen much exercise in the last 12 months.
  • Music – Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk really got me through some rough days.
  • Make-up, wigs, fake eyelashes and fake nails – really ladies, need I say more?!
  • And THANK YOU! This online community.  You read my blogs and even though you may not comment, I appreciate you taking the time to read.

2015 has started off well.  I was given the news a few weeks ago that there were no more signs of cancer.  I will have regular check-ups every six months for the next five years.  If there is no recurrence in those five years then I will be given the all clear.

I have been so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends supporting me this past year.  I am eternally grateful.  But most importantly I have my health.  That is one thing you can’t put a price on and that my friends is Just Peachey!

2014 what a year!

It’s been nine weeks since surgery and although the recovery has been very slow and painful I feel like I am nearly at the end of my cancer journey.  I have one more surgery on January 15 then a check up with my Oncologist in February.

It has been quite a year.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined what was about to happen this time last year during the Christmas festivities.

I welcomed in the New Year with my family in Bali.  We had a lovely holiday, oblivious to what was about to hit a month later.  Next week we will welcome 2015 with friends down south.  I am looking forward to a fresh start.

Best wishes to you and your loved ones for the Christmas season and all the best for 2015. I believe that 2015 is going to be Just Peachey!

Here’s a snapshot of the year that has been.  See you in the New Year!