After many scans etc, I was diagnosed last year with a rare cancer-tumour through the uterus wall . I was then sent to Epworth Hospital in Box Hill where I first had a PET scan. Fortunately it hadn't spread - then followed a full hysterectomy.
After recovering from this, I started Chemotherapy at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Bendigo. The staff were very caring, & attentive to my needs and made feel at ease with what was happening. The next 2 chemotherapy treatments were given at Kerang Oncology - 3 weeks apart. Cindy the Oncology nurse was excellent, explaining everything clearly. It was more than a job to her, she was very attentive to our needs and made the time go quickly.
Five weeks of daily radiotherapy followed in Bendigo at Peter MacCallum Clinic. The many therapists were very kind and gentle letting me know whether I needed to drink more water or even let some out. This was frustrating to me, but they took it all in their stride and it didn't seem to worry them. I thank them for showing me that I was not just a number, but a person who needed help and they were there to give it.
I was fortunate to be given accommodation so that I was able to stay in Bendigo through the week & come home at weekends. The accommodation was very adequate and provided all that I needed. I appreciated being able to stay in such a lovely unit.
While staying there, my sister and I had an appointment to see a social worker about the parking of my car at the hospital. I felt she misunderstood my need and just had her own agenda and at times seemed to be quite rude. I came away very disappointed. I was able to work out a plan for myself.
All the other therapists, nurses and doctors listened very carefully and helped me with my needs and concerns and I thank them very much for their patience and interest in my rare cancer.
I then continue to have chemotherapy at Kerang - 3 weeks apart. Cindy and Candice were the Oncology nurses who gave me the intravenous treatment which lasted between 4-5 hours. As I have already mentioned, they were excellent in all they did, caring, compassionate, & good communicators. Nothing was too much for them for making my treatment as easy as they could. A very touching moment was when they gave me a certificate on finishing all my treatment and a plate of yummy food. My experience in all facilities was they were there to help me through my cancer journey and did it in such a way that I was put at ease and took away all my concern.
I visited Bendigo Oncology wig library where I met a volunteer who showed, me different wigs, beanies, and tubular scarves which I was able to borrow. The volunteer was very patient and helped me decide what I needed.
All volunteers have taken time to discuss with me my needs. They have been a great help. I can't speak more highly of them. Thank you all.
Responses to this story
Response from Chloe Keogh, Director of Clinical Services, Kerang District Health last week
I am humbled by your long journey and many procedures and treatments, the number of hospitals you have been a patient in, and the complexity of your medical treatment. It seems a certificate and yummy plate of food is a small gesture to a very big moment to have put all of this behind you!
From a Kerang perspective I am thrilled that you found our service caring and compassionate. Caring, especially is important to us as it is one of our values, and I will be certain that the nurses you mention are aware of your comments and praise. I am also really interested that you had a metropolitan, regional and small health service care experience and each had their own place in your journey that was so important.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to write your story, and wish you all the best for the next steps in your journey. We will be sure to continue with the certificates and yummy food celebrating the last day of chemotherapy here at Kerang.