Beautiful is not a word one would normally associate with breast cancer, but it's one Nikki Kaye uses a number of times as she talks about her journey back to Parliament.
The Auckland Central MP is delighted to be back at work this week after doctors cleared her to return, following her breast cancer diagnoses in September last year.
She told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking she's feeling better than she has for a very long time and has made changes to ensure she is eating and sleeping well.
"I'm making sure I'm more organised than ever before to make sure I get breaks, get a walk every day and eat properly. One of the beautiful things about this is that I think I can be better at my job because you can't serve anyone if you're not healthy, and I think I could have done better in that respect.
Nikki Kaye says her diagnosis has been transformational.
"It was horrific going through it, but I look at life differently now. I am more grateful and I hope in terms of work, it means I am even more focused because I don't take things for granted, whereas I might have before."
She says, "I've flipped life and really hope I keep this." She adds she wouldn't want anyone to go through this, but it has been a beautiful experience from a family point of view. "I am a lot closer to my family and a lot more grateful for life."
Kaye says she's had incredible support from family and friends. "There have been tough days and getting that support has been amazing."
She's also praising the medical professionals helping her, in particular the person who delivered the bad news to her. "He was amazing."
Kaye says when she was first told she had breast cancer, at the age of 36, she had a moment of "why me and why now?" - but quickly snapped out of it. She says so many people contacted her with their stories and there is always someone who has had a much worse road.
"When all those stories came through I snapped out of it. I've had such an amazing support network of people who have contacted me so I've had a chance to think it through mentally."
Kaye also has praise for the New Zealand media who she says respected who request for privacy when she asked for it.
She's now excited to be back at work, has been easing back into it over the past week and looking forward to the new year.