Patient story – Lisa

Cancer is a word that can bring a chill to anyone, especially those who are diagnosed with it. Of course I have heard of friends of friends getting it, or a once removed relative, but not me of all people!

On 7 December 2021 my world started to spin out of control as my GP confirmed I had a Grade 3 aggressive tumour (ER/PR +, Her 2 -) in my right breast. Before I knew it I was meeting the amazing Dr Beverley Fosh* two days later, and she had already booked me in for further scans on 10 December, and then surgery on 15 December. This was for a right partial mastectomy with hookwire & SLNB at Calvary Hospital North Adelaide.

As I arrived at the hospital, a compassionate nurse took me up to my room, along with my protective partner (now my beloved husband) who didn’t leave my side until he saw me safely in my room. I remember never being alone for long as different people came to ensure I was OK, and getting ready on time for the pre-op checks and scans prior to the surgery. If the staff needed clarification on anything, they would call Bev to check, which comforted me.  Once I was in the surgery waiting area, many people were still checking up on me giving me warm blankets. When Bev arrived, I knew I was in safe hands and before long I was waking up in recovery with a kind face and soft voice was waking me up. Then off to my room with constant care continually shown by all staff.

I thought this was the end of my experience with cancer – it had been removed right? It wasn’t anywhere else in my body.

Then a phone call from Bev on 4 January 2022 that completely changed my world. Before I knew it I was back to Calvary North Adelaide for a full mastectomy of my right breast and reconstruction.  I had to admit myself due to COVID restrictions and no visitors allowed, but the lady who took me up to the ward remembered my name from six weeks ago!  The amazing team of Dr Beverly Fosh and Dr Amy Jeeves took care of my surgery.  Once again, in my room I was completely cared for with extremely professional and sympathetic nursing staff. They were attentive to all my needs.  The added bonus was Calvary’s specialised breast care nurses who provided me with advice and support not only whilst I was in hospital but even when I had left.  Having a private room gave me time to adjust to “the new norm”.

Once I had commenced chemotherapy I was back to the Calvary North Adelaide Hospital for a quick procedure with Bev inserting a Central Venous Internal Line Port.  This was a game changer for the weekly chemo and blood tests.

I have been so fortunate with the amazing care that I have experienced, even through some of the toughest times. Cancer doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t care who it affects but knowing I had the best doctors and hospital on my side, helped me physically and emotionally to get through the first part, and on to the road to recovery.

*A/Prof Beverly Fosh