Kate’s remarkable journey
When Kate went to her GP with a “funny feeling” in the top of her right leg, she never imagined she was about to confront one of the fights of her life.
She was sent straight from her GP for a biopsy and a CT scan, which revealed she had large B-cell non- Hodgkin lymphoma.
The moment it was revealed, an appointment was made with Associate Professor Melita Kenealy at The Blood Unit at Cabrini.
“I’d been previously well, so it was a massive shock when I was told I had a very aggressive cancer,” Kate said.
A/Prof Kenealy arranged for a PET scan which showed that the cancer was in only one area and had not spread anywhere else.
“Initially my treatment was meant to be six rounds of chemotherapy, but after two rounds, I was found to be in remission, so we were able to limit the treatment to four chemotherapy treatments.”
Before each session, Kate had a consultation with A/Prof Kenealy, who was able to answer any questions she had.
While the treatment was a success, it was a hard battle for Kate.
“I experienced tiredness, dizziness, shortness of breath when walking, sleep disturbance and most upsetting of all – hair loss.
“But this prompted family and friends to knit, crotchet and to buy me hats, and I’m now the happy owner of 25 mostly handmade beautiful hats and beanies.”
During her chemotherapy, Kate attended 16 physiotherapy and education sessions at Cabrini Cancer Exercise and Wellness Centre with other oncology patients.
“I had been told exercise improves outcomes – chemotherapy can cause brain fog, but exercise helped with all that and it really gave me something to focus on.
“The education component was also excellent – there was a variety of talks presented by physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, dieticians, and social workers.
“It was a great help to be in a small group of people who were experiencing similar difficulties in life. Usually about eight people attended each class and we became a supportive community.”
Following the successful treatment, Kate went to GenesisCare at Cabrini for 17 sessions of radiotherapy.
“Initially I was anxious, but Dr Ian Porter and his staff put my mind at ease which was so reassuring. I tolerated the radiotherapy well but became fatigued after the 17 sessions had finished.”
After her treatment and exercise sessions finished, Kate was assessed by her physiotherapist, who recommended an additional 10 exercise sessions.
Kate is now happily in remission and continuing to build her fitness base at a local venue.
“I’m very happy with the treatment I received at Cabrini Malvern and Brighton. All staff were very professional, helpful, and kind.
“However, it was the all-round holistic approach to my care that really impressed me most.”