Welcome to our brand new feature where I will be showcasing new up-and-coming talent and personal stories that I think you will all enjoy. Our first featured Friday guest blogger is the beautiful Teresa from Breast Friends. Teresa is such a strong, inspiring and utterly charismatic woman who has turned her own personal journey with breast cancer into a supportive, educational and non-judgmental support network for others. She is also heavily involved with breast cancer Ireland and uses her powerful voice to give those of us too weak to speak a voice. She is exactly what I love and admire in a person. Her bumpy journey has only made her stronger and more determined to help others going through breast cancer. I’m so very humbled she agreed to take part in this feature and appear on my blog. I think her story might resonate with quite a few of you. Thanks again Teresa, you are an inspiration.
Please introduce yourself? Do you blog, if so please tell us about it?
My name is Teresa Costello. I set up my blog Breast Friends nearly 2 years ago. It started out as a Facebook page to provide advice and support to people affected by Breast Cancer. As I don’t feel an illness should define any of us, I also speak about non breast cancer related stuff, this can be anything from what fake tan I’m using to what new foods I’m loving. I am also a very proud Ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland.
Do you personally or does someone close to you suffer with a physical and/or mental illness?
Three years ago aged 36 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Literally in what seemed to be a wave of a wand my normal, active, jam-packed life was transformed into endless hospital appointments and treatments. I was always really into my appearance and after simply being told by my consultant “you have breast cancer”, I quickly turned bald and frail. I felt I’d never be me again. A breast cancer diagnosis can have a huge effect on your mental health. I suffer with Anxiety, it’s part and parcel of having a life threatening illness. You really are aware of your own mortality. I would love to go back to those fearless days where I thought nothing would ever happen to me but unfortunately that is something I have to live with. When I’m really bad I go to my life coach to help gain perspective. Looking after your mental health is so important.
What has illness taught you?
My illness was honestly the greatest learning experience of my whole life. Lesson No.1 was most definitely “Your health is your wealth”. I don’t think there is many of us whose parents haven’t said that to us at one stage in our lives but until you experience serious illness you never truly understand how true that statement is. It has taught me not to take anything or anyone in my life for granted. I think I used to float around in a little bubble before I got breast cancer. I wasn’t a bad person but I certainly had no understanding of the struggles faced by people going through illness. I would send a bunch of flowers and wish them the best but I had no knowledge or understanding of basic things like the horrible feeling of having your independence ripped away from you after surgery. I was shocked at how awful I felt having to ask a nurse to help me sit up. I was only 36 before my illness, I had felt invincible and in a short space of time I was vulnerable and dependant on others. My eyes were opened wide to how many really good people there are in this world. When I was sick I had lots of support and well wishes from so many different people. It provided me with such a source of inner strength that I will never forget.
Please tell us something not a lot of people would know about you
I am a very outgoing person but when I do something new/for the first time or go somewhere I haven’t been before I get really nervous. It may seem silly but even attending a new class in the gym turns me into a bag of nerves. I’m just really self-conscious. I get over it and push on but it’s just a little personality quirk I have.
Who inspires you and why?
Emma Hannigan – for those of you who may not know Emma she is a best-selling Author, fellow Breast Cancer Ireland Ambassador and has had breast cancer 10 times. She would probably be embarrassed at me saying this but she is one of a kind. I’ve never met anyone like her. She has faced her illness with positivity, humour and such inner strength while all the time tirelessly continuing to raise awareness about breast cancer. She treats everyone with the height of respect and even when she is not well herself she will still try to help others.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I love to travel and experience new places. It’s very hard for me to pick just one. I usually love everywhere I go. Cannes in France is really nice, I had a blast when I visited Las Vegas, but I’m also a home bird and if I’m looking to de-stress I go to my “happy place”. This happy place is the waterworks in Bohernabreena. It’s very peaceful and beautiful and I always feel better after spending a bit of time there.
Outside of blogging what do you like to do with your free time?
I have a 9-year-old son called Rhys that keeps me on my toes. When I’m not hanging out with him, I’m usually in the gym. At the moment I’m doing a 6 week programme in Kickstart Fitness. I’m absolutely loving the challenge and really feeling the benefits of the excellent nutritional plan included in the programme. Exercise has always played a big part in my life. Even through treatment, I found going to the gym gave me an escape from what I was going through and made me feel like myself. I’m an awful shopaholic – anyone who follows me on snapchat can vouch for that! I’m also an Ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland. I am very passionate about this charity and the work they do. They have contributed so much to improving survival rates in women diagnosed with breast cancer. They have raised significant funding to support pioneering research programmes nationally as well as promoting education and awareness on the importance of breast health amongst women.
If you could sum up your life in one quote what would it be?
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been – its your life make it great”
You can find Teresa over at: