Cancer caught by mammogram
A routine mammogram was a saving grace for Sunnynook woman Lisa Morrissey.
The 54-year-old had no clue that her regular screening in July last year would pick up a shadow on her breast.
The screening was on a Saturday. On Monday, medical staff contacted her, saying they were concerned with her results. On Wednesday, she underwent further testing.
A week later the diagnosis was back - breast cancer.
The mum-of-three underwent surgery - a mastectomy to remove the left breast and a reconstruction before starting chemotherapy last October.
The full course of treatment for Morrissey, who was diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer, also included radiation therapy and the drug Herceptin.
Morrissey has had to travel over the Harbour Bridge to Auckland City Hospital for treatments as it was the closest facility offering them.
To avoid parking troubles, she would travel by bus, sometimes in peak hours, and return home after treatment the same way.
‘‘Coming home is quite hard because it’s after the treatment and you’re quite tired and you feel a bit sick,’’ she said.
Last month, North Shore Hospital began offering Herceptin treatments. Morrissey is the first patient to make use of the new service.
Herceptin, which takes around 75 minutes to deliver, is given every 21 days.
Morrissey said the drug has had side effects like nausea, fatigue and what she calls ‘‘brain-stuttering’’.
The fact she can now go down the road from home for treatment has been ‘‘positive,’’ Morrissey said. ’’You can relax about that part of it, it takes one of those stresses away.’’
Morrissey is nearing the end of her cancer treatment, with only a handful of Herceptin appointments left before the end of the year.
She will take until March to have some well-deserved good health before she returns to work.
Hospital charity The Well Foundation is fundraising for two reclining chairs to deliver the new Herceptin infusion service at the site.
The foundation is aiming to raise $20,000 to fund equipment that makes the experience more comfortable for patients like Morrissey.
Lisa Morrissey is the first patient to receive Herceptin treatments for breast cancer at North Shore Hospital.