Lessons From Janna

A month or two ago, we featured two personal friends (and heroes!) of ours — Hana Schofield and Atka Reid. In the same spirit, next week we look forward to introducing you to another “everyday hero” — the endlessly amazing Janna Azzi. Janna is actually Hana and Atka’s sister, and it’s pretty mind-blowing the seemingly limitless strength and resilience (GRIT!) that these sisters carry. Janna’s story is a little different to her sisters’. She has experienced life as a refugee at an early age, survived bullying, the suicide of one of her closest friends, toxic relationships, becoming a mum and, perhaps most heroically, is a breast cancer survivor. I mean, WOW. Janna shares her story below, along with some key life lessons that she’s learnt along the way.

I always found therapy in writing about my experiences and if anyone knows me they know I am an open book and the chapters are far from perfect. 

As a child I lived under siege in war torn Sarajevo and at the age of 5 dealt with things no child should have to deal with. At the age of 10.5 I became a refugee and was given a new life by a country that I will always call home. 

From 12 to 16 I was bullied at school because I was different and definitely not one of the cool kids, i tried so hard to fit in and even changed schools but never really felt like i belonged. 

The first time my heart broke was when a boy I was so close to committed suicide at the age of 16. 

From 18 to 25 it was repeatedly broken by a string of bad relationship choices, the french chef who dumped me via email 2 days before I was meant to move over, the surfer who proposed to me only to cheat on me while I was planning the wedding, the friend who became more only to leave me in massive debt because I was stupid enough to financially support him for 3 years we were together. Need I go on? 

At 27 I met the love of my life when an earthquake in Christchurch gave me the push to move to sydney. A year later he proposed to me and life became a dream. 

At 31 after 2 years of trying I became a mum and instead of utter joy I became blue. I loved my son so much but I didn’t feel worthy of being his mum. 

Then I was introduced to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and a light bulb went off in my head. I had the tools to change my thoughts, i could do anything I wanted but most importantly I could finally heal and be the person i always thought I was 

At 32 I was Diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. 

And while I was fighting I was thriving. 

“And while I was fighting, I was thriving”

At 34 I became a writer when Huffington Post published my first blog 

At 36 I became a cancer survivor. 

I am Janna Azzi.

And now, Janna’s 10 most important life lessons:

  • I learned its more important to be happy then to try and control all aspects of our lives 
  • I learned that sometimes the bad times are there to teach us to appreciate the good. 
  • I learned that life is fleeting and how precious time is 
  • I learned the power of positive thinking and what effect it can have not on just the person who is unwell but also those around them. 
  • I learned how much good you can achieve when you shift your thinking from self to others. ( will elaborate on that) 
  • I learned that its not the good times that shape us and create our character but rather how we deal with the cards that we have been dealt 
  • I learned that whatever you project into the world comes back to you as your eyes will never deceive you so if you think life is bad it will be. 

Follow Janna’s blog “My Name Is Janna”.