Being stuck at home on sick leave does not sit well for Jan Tinetti.
"Get well soon" cards and bouquets of flowers are crammed on to every available inch of the mantlepiece in her humble Matua abode, while a copy of Jacinda Ardern's biography sits on the coffee table.
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The 51-year-old's surgeon and oncologist have given her the all-clear and she is well on the road to recovery after treatment.
The Tauranga Labour Party list MP watches Parliament TV to pass the time as she regains her strength.
"I want to be there and I want to be doing things," she says.
"I do need to get well to support people. I say to myself, 'I'm doing this to get well so I'm back helping people again.'
"I'm quite a pragmatic person. This is not a death sentence. It's something I can grow stronger from and be stronger from."
The cancer was discovered on September 27 through a mammogram. There was no prior indication of any abnormal growth.
"I would self-examine and there were no lumps - and there was no lump."
She had an ultrasound and needle biopsy at her callback and she recalls feeling "really hot" when the doctor said they'd be surprised if it wasn't cancer.
"I was weepy for a few days afterwards but once I got through that I thought, 'Well, I need to fight it and I need to be positive'."
The cancer was based in her milk duct and had spread 13cm through the breast. The only option was to cut it off.
She had a mastectomy and reconstruction at Grace Hospital, where her surgeon commented on how accepting she was of the situation.
"It is what it is. You've just got to work with what you've got. This is what I've been dealt so I've just got to work with that."
Tinetti says she has had "no emotions" about losing her breast yet, but did deny she may feeling something in the future.
"I often wondered how that would feel for people and I get that there are people where that is a very emotional time for them but for me, that hasn't been the big part of it at all," she says.
"I was just really grateful it got rid of the cancer and has given me the chance to carry on.
"The hardest part has been the reconstruction."
She was cut from hip to hip, with tissue between used for remaking her breast.
"I saw pictures [of similar procedures] beforehand and thought, 'What am I doing?'" she says, before laughing.
"I've got a saying now that 'Google is not my doctor'."
She urges people to have regular mammograms.
"I realise the importance of all of us - male or female - going for those tests and making sure we see the doctor regularly.
"I think that's really, really important. I would have not picked this up any other way."
She had received an outpouring of support from across the political spectrum, including a message from Opposition leader Simon Bridges.
"It's been amazing, right from the word go. I've been asked, 'What do you need, how can we support you?
"Jacinda has been absolutely exceptional. She is incredibly supportive."
Well on the road to recovery, Tinetti would begin going to community and New Year events within the next few weeks.
"I love going to those events. I'll go to those events in my capacity as an MP or as just plain old Jan."
Parliament started around mid-January and she intended to start work then. Her holiday plans included staying put in Tauranga for New Year.
"I think this is the best place in New Zealand to be at that time of the year. We're really lucky".
Breast screening in the Bay of Plenty
- BreastScreen Aotearoa is a free national breast screening programme that checks women between 45 and 69 years for early breast cancer.
- You can have a free screening mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Aotearoa if you meet the criteria, which includes being between 45 and 69 years old. Go to the Bay of Plenty District Health Board website for the full criteria.
Symptoms of breast cancer include:
- A new lump or thickening
- A change in breast shape or size
- Pain in the breast that is unusual
- Puckering or dimpling of the skin
- Any change in one nipple, such as a turned-in nipple, a discharge that occurs without squeezing, a rash or reddening of the skin that appears only on the breast