She Inspires Me is our monthly interview with an inspirational woman who has experienced breast cancer.
Have you heard of recent studies revealing the powerful effects of exercise in breast cancer survivors? Regular exercise can help prevent the return of breast cancer.
Well, in my first interview in the She Inspires Me series, Christina shares her remarkable story on how she took exercise after breast cancer to whole new level!
Enjoy - and be inspired!
What is your name? And what do you do?
My name is Christina, and I'm a cookery teacher, and a Pro Women's Weight Lifter
How would you describe yourself in three words BEFORE you had cancer?
What three words do you use to describe yourself NOW?
Resilient, Calm, Energised
What quote do you live by?
Wing it - in life, eyeliner, and goals. (And) Fail to plan and plan to fail. Two opposites I guess!
What is the best advice you've been received for dealing with your breast cancer diagnosis? And from who?
One day at a time... (shared with me by a member of the online support group Younger Women's Breast Cancer Network).
Please share a time when you almost gave up because of your diagnosis or treatment. What did you do instead of giving up?
Halfway through chemo. I had had enough. The symptoms, the treatment, the side effects. I booked myself a weekend away at a cancer retreat to regroup, then dusted myself off and got through the rest of it.
What should every woman try at least once in her life?
Red lipstick and being crazy in love!
Totally LOVE this answer, Christina! Ok, so what item in your closet do you wear the most because it makes you feel great?
My leather pencil skirt and thick leather corset belt - it makes me feel sexy and in control.
What style advice would you share with a woman whose appearance has been changed by cancer treatment (including surgery)?
Do not listen to doctors who tell you how you should or might feel. Judge it for yourself. I thought I would really be traumatised having a breast removed as everyone kept drumming that into me, but it actually felt a relief to have it removed as I associated it with cancer.
When I was going through breast cancer, I was going to a lot of appointments, seeing plastic surgeons etc. When I met with the plastic surgeon he said 'you won't look great in a bikini'- that mentally scarred me.
Three years later I stepped on stage and won a bikini transformation contest! Despite doctors saying I wouldn't look or feel the same in a bikini, and that my body self-image would be so low I would want to get dressed in the dark!
When I was on stage in my bikini, I was like, “Look at me now!”
Everyone is an individual, who responds differently to each situation. So we shouldn't be pushed into owning feelings that aren't even there.
Will you share what you were diagnosed with, and how long ago?
I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2014.
Christina, what a stellar transformation you've been through - both physical and mentally too! Thank you so much for chatting with me Christina. I'm sure you'll inspired many readers back into their gym kits with your inspirational She Inspires Me interview - including me!
Thank you, Clover for the opportunity! x
You can follow Christina's fitness journey after breast cancer on Instagram at @misscrissiefit
If you or someone you know has a story to tell and would like to be featured in our She Inspires Me stories, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Clover, Creator of Clover Lewis Swimwear
Clover started designing mastectomy swimsuits and bikinis after struggling to find a stylish, beautiful post-surgery bikini to wear on her first holiday after a breast cancer diagnosis. The holiday? A trip to Bali to overcome her fears by learning how to scuba-dive.
She made her first mastectomy bikini, got her PADI diving certificate wearing it, at that moment personally realised the connections between body image, clothing confidence for women with breast cancer.
So despite the expectation to carry on with “life as normal” after cancer, this experience had a profound effect on Clover. It became the fuel for her mission creating beautiful swimwear for women to feel good about their bodies so they can swim again.
Through Clover Lewis Swimwear, Clover helps women feel body confident… and feel like they belong on a beach.