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Patient stories

We believe patients can be our teachers and trusted advisers, benefiting from their unique experiences.

Leonie shares her healing process with her community

Leonie shares her healing process with her community

Whilst studying for her PhD in education, Leonie found herself unable to complete simple tasks and after investigation, her doctors discovered she had a brain tumour. A renowned indigenous artist and proud Wirajuri woman, Leonie shares how her art helps with her healing process and involves her local community in cancer awareness.

Kylie’s breast cancer story

Kylie’s breast cancer story

Breast cancer came as a shock to Kylie and her family, but she tackled her diagnosis head on, telling her story of strength and resilience up against a very aggressive cancer. Kylie participated in the Shenton House exercise program facilitated by Edith Cowan University, and tells of how keeping active made her feel in control of her treatment and greatly shortened her recovery time from chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Jim’s skin cancer story

Jim’s skin cancer story

Five years ago, Jim watched something grow rapidly on his cheek, which was eventually diagnosed as facial skin cancer. His specialist referred him to GenesisCare for radiation therapy as a preferable option to facial surgery. Jim travelled from Avoca Beach to North Sydney daily for treatment over a six-week period – hear how he juggled a demanding work schedule, family life and kept his mind focused on recovery.

Margaret can now sleep soundly despite her sleep apnoea

Margaret can now sleep soundly despite her sleep apnoea

In 2014, Margaret was admitted to hospital. She had high levels of CO2 in her blood and very little oxygen. Margaret’s airways and lungs were struggling to support her.

Margaret was given a CPAP machine, which is designed to push air into the lungs through a mask. However, the mask wasn’t working, and her lungs were failing.

When Margaret’s family received a call from the hospital, they were told to prepare for the worst. Margaret was given last rites as she lay in a hospital bed. Then, with a new diagnosis from a visiting doctor – sleep apnoea – and a change of mask, Margaret improved enough to leave the hospital.

During sleep apnoea, the throat constricts involuntarily, which can stop air from getting into the lungs. This can result in lack of oxygen, disturbed sleep, and high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Sleep apnoea is a life-threatening illness that can remain undiagnosed.

After she was discharged from hospital, Margaret made an appointment with a sleep specialist. A sleep apnoea test at Pindara Hospital revealed that Margaret experienced restricted breathing 48 times per hour.

With help from GenesisCare, Margaret went onto treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea, a treatment known as CPAP. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure which delivers a steady stream of pressured air via a mask to keep the airway open and functioning.

With regular use of her CPAP machine, Margaret’s life changed. Her energy levels improved dramatically, she napped less, and she no longer felt tired all the time. The CPAP machine was easy to setup and use, and became part of Margaret’s routine. Importantly, the machine saved her life.

Margaret says the team at GenesisCare “have been so encouraging and supportive. They were always excited to check my readings because they could see the difference it was making in my life. They shared the journey with me and I appreciated their dedication to making me well.”

Today, Margaret has normal sleep, with only 1 episodes per hour of restricted breathing per night. Her CPAP machine is there to make sure she receives all the air she needs, every night.

“I would encourage anyone who has symptoms of feeling constantly tired lethargic to have a sleep apnoea test,” says Margaret. “I have the gift of seeing my children, grandkids and great grandkids grow up, plus enjoy an active social life with my girlfriends.”

Wendy balances life with breast cancer

Wendy balances life with breast cancer

Young mother of two, Wendy was treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy for breast cancer, she shares her story of balancing treatment, work and children. She candidly discusses fears, side effects and hair loss, as well as how keeping active during treatment can aid in recovery.

Alan is living an active life with heart failure

Alan is living an active life with heart failure

Treating the patient, not the condition

Alan was playing cricket with friends when he fell, landing heavily on his chest.

Just thirty-six years old, a heart attack was the furthest thing from Alan’s mind. So when his chest pain started, he thought he’d broken a rib.

Soon after, Alan’s heart stopped beating.

Unfortunately, Alan’s heart attack was only the beginning of his journey. CPR saved his life when he went into cardiac arrest. Then three years later, Alan suffered another heart attack while riding his bike.

Alan was diagnosed with a build-up of plaque in his arteries, which was blocking blood flow. Alan had a stent inserted to keep his arteries open and reduce his chances of future heart attacks.

But then Alan developed shortness of breath and fatigue—two classic symptoms of heart arrhythmia. Alan was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Doctors also found that his heart attacks had caused the muscle in his heart to weaken.

Ultimately, Alan was diagnosed with heart failure.

Alan’s condition is a serious and complex one, and the information he receives can be confusing. He relies on his medical team to explain in simple terms what to expect and how he can best manage his condition.

Clinic nurses are critical when it comes to translating this information so it’s easy for Alan to understand and apply.

Nurse Joanne McGillion is part of the team that cares for Alan. She works at the GenesisCare Bundoora centre where Alan is a patient. Joanne assesses and speaks with Alan and his wife Penny at each appointment, prior to meeting with the doctor.

“The clinic nurse offers an avenue of communication and support to complement the medical expertise of the cardiologist,” Joanne says. “The nurse can spend more time clarifying the diagnosis in simple terms and educating patients about lifestyle changes necessary, and ensuring patients understand the why. ”

Rod

Rod’s story on managing complex skin cancer

For the past 22 years, Rod has been seeing doctors and dermatologists every three months to manage cancers that have appeared on his arms and legs, after years of playing outdoor sports and wearing limited skin protection.

Rod is now looking and feeling better after receiving radiation therapy on the affected areas at GenesisCare. Hear how Rod is now enjoying his life post-treatment.

John's emotional rollercoaster battle with prostate cancer

John’s emotional battle with prostate cancer

John shares his story of finding out he had Prostate Cancer after a routine check-up, the emotional roller coaster through diagnosis to treatment and some insight into the treatment process. In this video John describes the radiation therapy he received, including his fears and misconceptions, as well as advice for patients about to commence treatment.

Teisha Heaney living with brain cancer

Teisha Heaney living with brain cancer

Teisha Heaney is a young, articulate small business owner and more recently a nursing student from Epping, Victoria. Teisha shares her perspective of having a rare form of brain cancer and juggling treatment with her busy daily schedule.