Cancer nurses a help to the whole family

Friday 26 July, 2019

The support services offered while Jodie was going through her bowel cancer diagnosis ended up being beneficial to her whole family.

“Cancer Council’s support services are not just about helping the person who’s directly affected,” she said, “it’s about helping all of their key networks so that they can continue to soldier on too.”

For herself, the mother of two valued the Cancer Council factsheets she was given at the doctor’s when she was first diagnosed in 2015.

“In the first week the booklets and information were my go-to. And just knowing the support services were there was reassuring."

“Having caring and informative cancer nurses on the other end of the phone was also crucial. They were able to provide information that I knew was accurate and it was fundamentally important to have someone to talk to that wasn’t involved with me.”

Her husband, Russel also accessed the nurses when Jodie was first really sick.

Jodie had to have radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. She responded well to the radiation, but the chemotherapy made her extremely sick.

“I did about 18 rounds of chemo, over about 44 weeks. It was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. I lost a lot of weight – about 11 kilos in four days.

“Russell once told me – I don’t remember this – that when I was having the treatment, that I spent a lot of time trying to pull the pick-line out of my arm – I just wanted it out.

"Russ accessed the nurses to get some advice around how to manage me. It was just about managing that really emotional, sick response. For him it was that reassurance, that voice on the end of the phone. That was fundamentally important.”

“Cancer Council really supported me,” she explains. “My husband, my kids and I called the nurses on 13 11 20 and they helped us so much.”

The treatment Jodie received was successful, and she is now back at work full time.

“The primary cancer is gone, as well as the spots in my liver. I still have a smattering of small tumours in my lungs and I’m taking oral chemotherapy for that.”

If you or your loved ones are affected by cancer, you can call our experienced and compassionate cancer nurses on 13 11 20 or contact them through askanurse@cancervic.org.au