Shar­ing and sup­port

Alpine Observer - - Regional Extra - By KYLIE WIL­SON

FROM the stress of di­ag­no­sis, to the joy of re­mis­sion and the grief of ter­mi­nal di­ag­noses – breast can­cer nurse Jodie Fin­layson has seen thou­sands of lo­cal women and men go through it all in her 16 years in the job.

A staff mem­ber at North­east Health Wan­garatta, Jodie worked in district nurs­ing and com­mu­nity health be­fore as­sum­ing her cur­rent role.

She said while there have been many highs and lows over the years, she finds ful­fil­ment in her work.

Among one of her proud­est achieve­ments is es­tab­lish­ing the Go Girls sup­port group, which has evolved to be­come a strong friend­ship and fundrais­ing group, also ca­ter­ing to those in re­mis­sion.

She said her work sees her work closely with a range of ser­vices at NHW and be­yond, from di­ag­nos­tic teams to doc­tors and al­lied health work­ers, as well as those in­volved in end of life care. Jodie also of­fers in­for­ma­tion, help and re­fer­rals. “Be­ing able to make things a lit­tle bit eas­ier” for pa­tients has been among the pos­i­tives of Jodie’s work, and she said she feels the best when she sees former pa­tients in the com­mu­nity “do­ing nor­mal things and en­joy­ing life”.

While the sur­vival rate for breast can­cer is very high, around 90 per cent, Jodie said the lows of the job in­clude los­ing peo­ple she has come to know – “you take that very per­son­ally” – but said she takes time to re­mem­ber each per­son lost.

“It shows how frag­ile and im­por­tant life is,” she said. “You can’t take it for granted.” Jodie urged mem­bers of the pub­lic to be vig­i­lant about any un­ex­plained changes in their bod­ies, as breast can­cer has a va­ri­ety of symp­toms.

“Women know their bod­ies bet­ter than any­one else,” she said.

PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

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