Anne was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2012 while her brother was also going through treatment for multiple myeloma. Following six months of chemotherapy, she was given the all clear in October that year.
“I had to go home and tell my children and family that I needed surgery in Sydney. It was an incredibly difficult conversation to have.”
Being a regional patient meant that when Anne was told she was clear in October, she would have one follow up in Dubbo and then alternating with one in Sydney which of course, was hard financially.
Anne called Cancer Council’s Information and Support Service who were able to help her with some of the costs.
“The 13 11 20 Cancer Council number was amazing,” she said. “They were incredibly kind, provided understanding and were able to cover a couple of bills for me. This small gesture meant so much and helped me continue to get to appointments.”
However, just over six years later, in June 2018, Anne’s cancer returned. After an urgent MRI Anne was rushed to Sydney and had more tests.
“It showed the ovarian cancer had come back and metastasized to the brain stem and a few other areas.”
After her treatment finished in January 2019, Anne was put on a hard-hitting medication to help stop the cancer cells from multiplying.
“There were days where I honestly felt like chemo was easier, I was so sick and fatigued. Some days I couldn’t move from the couch,” she said.
Anne began to have numbness in her back where the cancer was which meant she needed to have two more weeks in hospital while the doctors tried to figure out why.
During her time in the hospital, Anne reached out to Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 again for support.
“They have been amazing with their support. They are beautiful people who understand and provide all kinds of assistance.”
Anne not only received financial support from 13 11 20 but also the emotional support she needed.
“For me they were able to help financially, but more importantly with counselling through their telephone support service.”
She received six sessions with a professional counsellor through Cancer Council before deciding to have ongoing counselling.
“It was a life-changing six sessions, that soon became 12 with an incredibly kind and understanding counsellor.”
Anne has since had one tumour in January this year but was not derailed by it or the treatment.
“It’s amazing how different my capacity to deal with life now looks. I am very grateful.”