She Inspires Me is our monthly interview with an inspirational woman who has experienced breast cancer. This month we spoke with Rebecca Pine:
What is your name? And what do you do?
My name is Rebecca Pine. I facilitate workshops for breast cancer survivors, previvors, and patients, focusing on the inner healing process. This process incorporates body image, redefining beauty, and reclaiming a sense of wholeness. I also write articles on the same theme and am working with photographer Miana Jun, in creating a book entitled "The Breast and the Sea*."
How would you describe yourself in three words BEFORE you had cancer?
Shy, Caring, Flexible
What three words do you use to describe yourself NOW?
Strong, Determined, Resilient
What quote do you live by?
One of my all-time favourite quotes is, “If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving." ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What is the best advice you've been received for dealing with your breast cancer diagnosis? And from who?
I found myself discouraged while recovering from surgery, measuring myself against what I used to be able to do. Another breast cancer survivor advised me not to compare myself with what I used to or even look for improvement from one day to another do but instead to look at how much progress I had made from one week to the next or longer. In this way, I was able to see steady progression forward, and this helped me to hold onto hope as I healed.
Please share a time when you almost gave up because of your diagnosis or treatment. What did you do instead of giving up?
Writing and time at the sea were my anchors when I was newly diagnosed and going through breast cancer. At times I felt hopeless when trying to figure things out: doctors, treatment plans, juggling family responsibilities, and so on. I made the commitment to spend regular time with each of these anchors. I would journal with a willingness to write the same things over and over again if I had to. I was not attached to the outcome of my writing, but the process of putting pen to paper and releasing my thoughts and feelings. Journaling and being in nature helped me find clarity and make peace with my situation.
What should every woman try at least once in her life?
Every woman should try to let her intuition and purpose guide her as much as possible. These two gifts provide balance and motivation as well as guidance. They work together to push us through areas where we meet resistance but need to grow. If we listen honestly and receptively to our inner knowing nature, we realise what we must do. Living according to that which aligns with our sense of purpose in life calls us to face our fears of the unknown and stretch beyond our comfort zones to achieve that which we are meant to accomplish in our lives.
What item in your closet do you wear the most because it makes you feel great? Please share why:
I have a few go-to tops with cowl necks that are comfortable, in colours I like, and make me feel good. Their extra fabric draws attention away from my post-breast cancer body, yet they are still fitted and feel feminine. I love ponchos and shawls. My favourite clothes are soft and comfortable.
What style advice would you share with a woman whose appearance has been changed by cancer treatment (including surgery)?
I think it’s important to wear whatever you feel most comfortable wearing. Really take time to listen to yourself and your needs, and know that these needs can also change. Personally, my own comfort needs to come before anything else. I like soft, natural fabrics, and often prefer a fitted camisole beneath my tops. I recommend exploring different options, as you feel ready. Gathered fabric at the neckline draws attention away from the chest area. Scarves can be fun to experiment with. Don’t feel like you need to hide yourself or give up your favourite tops or dresses. Sometimes it feels good to me to wear something fitted and bold (I don’t wear prosthetics.) Choose items that feel right to YOU.
Will you share what you were diagnosed with?
Primary breast cancer
Thank you for this interview for She Inspires Me.
*About The Breast and the Sea: The Breast and the Sea empowers those affected by breast cancer, providing inspiration and courage through transformative workshops, photography, and writing. It was founded in 2013 by Rebecca Pine, writer and workshop facilitator, and Miana Jun, photographer. Rebecca, a nine-year survivor, facilitates workshops at the sea incorporating meditation, movement, and support. Miana, a fine art and commercial photographer, captures moments that show strength, vulnerability, and courage as well as the participants’ relationships with the water. The collaborators are working toward a book. To learn more, please visit www.thebreastandthesea.com.
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.