Shar­ing and sup­port

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - 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.

Oc­to­ber is na­tional Breast Can­cer Aware­ness month, and the risk of be­ing di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer by 85 is one in eight for women and one in 631 for men.

More in­for­ma­tion about breast can­cer care and re­lated ser­vices is avail­able by call­ing (03) 5722 5473. Help­ful links

Breast­Screen Vic­to­ria: www.breast­

Na­tional Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion:

Anne-Marie’s story

Among the women in the North East liv­ing with breast can­cer is Gooram­bat res­i­dent Anne-Marie Green­way, who was di­ag­nosed in July with metastatic breast can­cer that has also spread to her bones.

It was dis­cov­ered af­ter she saw her doc­tor to ad­dress some re­cur­ring rib pain.

“I would ask women – and men too – to take ad­van­tage of ev­ery pos­si­ble check.

“But it can’t al­ways be found – mine shows it has been there for some time but was missed on my last breast screen (noone’s fault as it was well-hid­den), and can still not be felt by my­self.

“X-rays showed my ribs and spine were full of pock­ets of can­cer (which will now be turned into holes, mak­ing my bones more frag­ile), and this was then traced back to be­ing the sec­ondary to breast can­cer.”

But Anne-Marie, al­ready a sur­vivor of an un­re­lated brain tu­mour over eight years ago, said she has been very pleased with the help she has re­ceived so far.

“I was very im­pressed with the way the health sys­tem kicked in af­ter my di­ag­no­sis, and I im­me­di­ately had scans and mam­mo­grams, vis­ited a breast sur­geon and two on­col­o­gists.

“I was sent straight to Al­bury for ra­di­a­tion treat­ment on my bones, which I have been told is ‘spot-weld­ing’ on the holes in my ribs and spine.”

She is cur­rently per­son­ally cam­paign­ing to have a drug “which could sig­nif­i­cantly help me”, pal­bo­ci­clib, placed on the Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Ben­e­fits Scheme (PBS) as it cur­rently costs $60,000 a year to buy it.

The al­ter­na­tive to the drug is a round of chemo­ther­apy, surgery and ra­dio­ther­apy.

“I cur­rently see a breast care nurse named Kerry, who has been won­der­ful,” she added, say­ing that her GP and other al­lied health pro­fes­sion­als have also been help­ful.

“Health-wise I have been do­ing far bet­ter than ex­pected, with pain lev­els be­ing re­ally low so far, and lots of sup­port.”

You can as­sist Anne-Marie in her fight to get pal­bo­ci­clib on the PBS by com­plet­ing a con­sumer sur­vey at­dus­try/list­ing/el­e­ments/pbacmeet­ings/pbac-con­sumer-com­ments.

SUP­PORT: Jodie Fin­layson has found ful­fil­ment in her work as a breast care nurse. PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

PHOTO: Kylie Wil­son

CON­TIN­UED CARE: North­east Health Wan­garatta ra­di­ol­ogy nurse Rozi­lyn Ham with breast can­cer nurse Jodie Fin­layson, ra­dio­g­ra­pher Kasey Flani­gan, and ra­di­olol­ogy nurse Suz Gin­nivan are among the many staff mem­bers help­ing breast can­cer pa­tients dur­ing their bat­tle with the con­di­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.