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It was good to get away

Wednesday 24 July, 2019

Holiday break Georgina

A short holiday break was just what Georgina, Mark and her family needed.

Amongst the chaos of Mark’s bowel cancer diagnosis, Georgina reached out to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 cancer nurses and discovered a short holiday break was just what they needed.

“We were told about some of the services during hospital visits, and then I did a bit of research online, and that’s how I found out about the short breaks away,” said Georgina.

“It was near the beach at Inverloch and the weather was beautiful – it was good to get away and not have to worry about everyday life for a few days.

Holiday break Georgina

The family exploring Inverloch.

“We have four kids, so it was also nice being all together as a family,” she said.

Georgina and Mark felt it was a great opportunity to spend some much-needed time with their kids ­– two of them now adults – and have some time away amidst Mark’s medical appointments.

“We’ve had lots of appointments with Mark, so the kids were not neglected but, you know, Mark was the priority then.

“It was good to spend time with them and just sit down and have a conversation,” she said.

Holiday break Inverloch

A scenic shot of the beach at Inverloch taken by Georgia.

Mark, who is now recovering from treatment, is grateful he received the bowel cancer screening kit on his 50th birthday – and for his persistent wife.

“If he hadn’t had that test sent to him in the mail, he would never have gone to the doctor, and he would have kept saying “I’ll do it one day”,” said Georgina.

She hopes other Australians will take their health seriously, especially when given the tools they need to do so, delivered right to their home.

“If you have a bowel kit, do it. It doesn’t take long, and it can potentially save your life. Men are not invincible – they think they are, but they’re not,” Georgina said.

Mark received the kit in August 2018, but didn’t act on it right away.

“In October he got around to doing it, just because I kept telling him that it was important,” explained Georgina.

The diagnosis was late-stage bowel cancer. Georgina was shocked by this devastating news, because Mark experienced no warning signs.

Holiday break Georgina

Mark pictured with his three sons during their weekend away.

The couple’s life was then turned upside down, as they had to make many adjustments to ensure Mark could get the treatment and care he needed.

“Mark was always the bread-winner and did a lot around the house, so I’ve had to learn different things; it’s been very hard,” said Georgina.

Although Georgina first contacted Cancer Council on 13 11 20 to learn about the free holiday break program, she ended up chatting with the cancer nurses about a range of things.

“I actually called to talk about the opportunity of a break away, but ended up talking to the nurse for about an hour.

“We talked about what had gone on with Mark, and she ended up ringing me back a couple of times just to touch base and make sure things were OK, which she didn’t have to do,” said Georgina.

Georgina urges anyone who has been impacted by cancer – whether directly or coping with the diagnosis of a loved one – to reach out to the cancer nurses.

“I think with any support you need – ring Cancer Council for advice or just to talk. I’ve talked to a couple of ladies and they’ve been very supportive of me.”

“They were there, ready to listen and give me advice,” said Georgina.

Mark and Georgina are still recovering from the diagnosis and treatment, which has taken its toll on Mark’s health and the couple’s day-to-day life.

“He’s still struggling now – although he’s gone back to work.,” she said. “He is getting better but it’s going to be a long time until he’s back to himself.

“He lost about 15 kilos while he was in hospital; it’s just one of those things. Unfortunately, it will take time for him to fully recover.”

Winter escape

Holiday break home

Winter is the perfect time for cosy nights in by the fire, watching a movie on the couch and taking in the beautiful surroundings.

Thanks to generous Victorians that donate their properties to our Holiday Break Program, we have 79 holiday destinations available across the state for cancer patients to take time away with loved ones, away from medical appointments and treatment schedules.

Call 13 11 20 to talk to a cancer nurse, they will discuss the guidelines and process for booking a holiday break.

Read more

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