Helen is inspirational
Helen is inspirational. Through her friendly and bubbly personality, she’s helping to motivate others to exercise and be breast aware.
Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer.
‘I felt a lump in my left breast and I sat on it for one week. I went to the doctor and had it looked at as I felt that it grown. He sent me for an ultrasound, mammogram and fine needle biopsy (FNA). I had an inkling that it was breast cancer and my GP confirmed the diagnosis a few days later. After that, it was just non-stop. It was a bit like being on a merry go round and not being able to get off.’
Helen’s surgeon recommended that she see Dr Andrew Dean and Professor Nigel Spry at Genesis Cancer Care and she underwent chemotherapy as well as radiation therapy.
‘It was really convenient being able to come to Shenton House rather than having to travel further afield. My doctors also explained my treatment really well. They went through the possible side effects and the explanation and care during my treatment was really good.’
While Helen did experience side effects from chemotherapy, she found that radiation therapy was easier, even if it did make her feel a bit tired. There were also a couple of surprises.
“Radiation therapy was noisier than I expected, even though it’s hard to explain what I was really expecting. It also took longer to get in position than it did to actually do the treatment.’
Helen joined the exercise clinic after Professor Spry discussed the research into ‘exercise as cancer medicine’ and the overall health benefits that the exercise clinic could provide. She credits the exercise clinic in helping her to get through the rounds of treatment.
‘The exercise helped me to get through it all. I feel that it could have been a lot worse if I wasn’t exercising. I never exercised much before coming here and it has improved my health. I am stronger, more flexible and I feel good after exercising.’
Meeting the other exercise clinic participants has also helped socially.
‘We can have a good chat and a laugh. I’m a widow, having lost my late husband also to cancer. Coming here and meeting people who are going through the same thing has been really beneficial.’
Helen also felt that the atmosphere at Genesis Cancer Care was different.
‘Having been through it with my late husband who was treated elsewhere, I expected much the same environment, but Shenton House is different. It’s a pretty good set up. It’s more like a ‘normal’ place without the hospital tag, even though it is still a hospital.’
And Helen’s message to other patients?
‘There is light at the end of the tunnel and life does improve. If you can exercise, then go for it! Don’t be afraid to ask questions too.’
If you are a current Shenton House patient and would like further information, or wish to join the exercise clinic, please speak to your doctor or nurse.