Finding balance

BCNA member and businesswoman Kate Goodman reflects on the impact of her breast cancer diagnosis on her work, life and identity, and why she feels compelled to give back to BCNA.

Kate Goodman is used to life being a careful balancing act; working as a busy and successful winemaker. The irony is that in 2018 when she was crowned Australian Female Winemaker of the Year, Kate’s life had little equilibrium; the fallout of a Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis.

Well-accustomed to the physical commitment and challenges of a hectic work schedule, Kate remembers being completely exhausted from two surgeries and six weeks of daily radiation.

‘I have never known fatigue like it but I think part of me was in denial. I felt like it wasn’t serious enough,’ she says.

She tried to lessen the impact by eating well, receiving acupuncture several times a week and working reduced hours. But what followed the week after her treatment finished took her by surprise. As she describes it, ‘I just couldn’t focus, I completely crashed.’

For many women slowing down and relinquishing control isn’t easy. For Kate it was the brutal realisation that she needed to take time to heal and accept help.

A colleague took care of her business in Victoria’s picturesque Yarra Valley, while the local community stepped in to help her husband and son with school runs and meals. It was during this time that Kate also made use of BCNA’s resources and did a lot of reading.

She credits a fantastic relationship with her GP for giving her the confidence to seek a second surgical opinion and arriving at a decision about chemotherapy.

‘Chemotherapy was talked about as a back-up but I made an informed decision not to have it,’ she recalls.

Part of Kate’s recovery was also reassessing her work and life balance. There’s no doubting that Kate is great at what she does; known for her brave approach to the craft and not afraid to take risks.

Prior to her diagnosis, she had been dividing her time and family between Victoria and South Australia, but in 2019 made the decision to base herself in South Australia full-time.

‘Having breast cancer was a reality check and there wasn’t much enjoyment in rushing between two states. Life has less stress this way.’

Now aged 50 and in good health, Kate feels passionate about paying forward the support she received. ‘My life is great and I am in a position to give back’, she smiles.

Kate has just released a limited edition Rosé; created under her Nikkal label, with 100 per cent of profits going directly to BCNA.

Issue 87
Spring 2020