Breast cancer Awareness - Our story

Tracey

I Was diagnosed in 2012 at 46 with breast cancer. My youngest was only 6 years old. I thought I wouldn’t have a long life or be around for my children back then and struggled with everything. I was free at the 6 year mark after a mastectomy and chemo and then it metastasised to my liver in 2018. Breast cancer in my liver! I had 5 tumours, largest was 5cm. So I threw myself into my art even more and started to try and save myself with diet, infrared saunas, meditation art. My last scan showed 1 tumour left at 2 mm so I am seeing a more positive future now.

My health is great even though I have cancer, and I am very positive and love my life. X even though I have cancer.

Breast cancer Awareness - Our story

Breast screen

Did you know you can have a FREE breast screen if you are 40 and over?

Breast screening aims to find breast cancers that are very small – too small to be seen or felt by you or your doctor. When cancers are small, they’re more easily treated. This means that women can have a better quality of life after their breast cancer diagnosis. The earlier breast cancer is found, the better the chance of surviving it.

You can go onto the Breast screen website and set up an account, make appointments and view the last time you had a Breast screen. BreastScreen Queensland’s Rockhampton Service has permanent services in Rockhampton and Gladstone and a mobile service that travels across Central Queensland and the Central West. They also send you a reminder when your next one is due. You can also call them to make an appointment on 13 20 50 .

Friendly Staff at Breast Screen Gladstone

This awareness project was supported by

Breast cancer Awareness - Our story

Carla

October 2019, I was pressured into getting my first mammogram at the age of 49 by a friend. I knew it was free from the age of 40 Years but thought because there was no family history, and I couldn’t feel anything different I thought that I was all okay.
WRONG! First mammogram and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within seven days I was in Brisbane six hours from home.  I had Lumpectomy, surgery, healed and then six weeks of radiation. If I hadn’t have gone for that first mammogram, I’d be in a whole world of pain right now. It was caught early enough to not have to have chemo which my family and I are extremely grateful for.

Please I can’t stress enough…..GO AND GET YOUR GIRLS CHECKED. Takes 20 minutes and it’s free from 40yrs at Breastscreen Queensland. Call 132050 today! It could save your life it definitely saved mine 💪.

Breast cancer Awareness - Our story

Sherri

Sherri (long)

I don’t like to use the word journey cause to me journey is a pleasurable experience, so this is my Story.

On the 18th December 2012 – I’m very sorry but its cancer.  Those words from my GP changed my life forever. 

I was diagnosed with a 6.6 multifocal invasive ducted carcinoma in my left breast at 44 years o age.  I was the first person in my family to have cancer.  I didn’t know too many people that had cancer and those that I did know were old and it killed them.  Oh my god am I going to die?  I had to get a lot more information, so as any person does, I googled my type of breast cancer. 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and coming from a family with 3 sisters and a mum the odds were there.  My first thought was that god it me and not them.  Ok let’s get on with this fight and kick cancers arse.  In a stunned state I saw the surgeon 2 days after diagnosis. He suggested a mastectomy which I was fine with.  Yes, cut it off I don’t want it in me anymore.  After consulting with the oncologist in Brisbane they decided they wanted to try a different method of treatment with me. Chemotherapy, surgery then radiation.  The usual procedure with most breast cancer patients is surgery, chemo then if needed radiation.  Why can’t they just cut it off.  At the Base hospital, all the Breast cancer patients are connected with a breast care nurse.  Another truly wonderful foundation is the McGrath Foundation.  The McGrath Foundation sponsors these fantastic nurses.  I don’t think I could have managed my cancer treatment without my beautiful nurse Gaylene.  After some great caring advice and a sleepless night, I decided to put my fate in the hands of the professionals.  I thought this would all be over in a couple of weeks.  Boy I was wrong.

After a brain scan, full body CT full body bone scan, echocardiogram, all done in 2 days, I then had to have surgery to put in a port a cath with is a portable catheter that lies under the skin that the chemo is injected into. My port became my constant companion for quite a long time.  After my port surgery I developed blood clots in my arm.  The only treatment for these clots was to inject blood thinners into my stomach every morning and night for 8 months.  This absolutely terrified me.  I thought I can’t do this.  As if I haven’t had enough needles now, I’ve got to self-inject myself twice a day into my stomach.  My stomach ended up a huge bruise, but you got to do what you got to do.

I had my first chemo treatment 10 days after diagnosis.  The day before chemo was blood tests, then chemo then the day after chemo back to the hospital for an antinausea injection yes in the stomach.  This was the routine for every round of chemo.  My first chemo was extremely daunting.  I walked into the oncology room where there was an elderly man and a young woman lying on rather comfy looking chairs.  Both bald as badgers with the most welcoming smiles on their faces.  Sadly, the elderly man has now passed and the young woman is now one of my dearest friends.

You hear of stories of the side effects from chemo especially being sick and vomiting, so after my first round of chemo with takes about 3 hours of the rat poison to go into your body, I still felt really well. I went shopping, did the usual things I would normally do.  What are people whining about chemo, this is alright I can handle this no worries. Second day after chemo, feeling ok a little bit tired but still not that bad.  Day 3 oh my god it hit me like a tonne of bricks.  That feeling of nausea all the time but not actually throwing up, totally feeling lethargic and that feeling you get when you’ve had that one too many drinks.

Holy crap can I get through this?  These were the horrid days and they usually lasted 3 days after chemo for about 2 weeks.  I started to feel half human again usually 3 or 4 days before the next round.  I had 5 rounds of what us chemo patients called the red devil.  There are quite a few side effects from chemo that not everyone suffers but quite a few draw the short straw.  These are the ones that I copped.  Fatigue, mouth ulcers, dehydration, feeling of nausea, extremely dry skin, the skin peeled off the soles of both my feet, loss of appetite, constant tingling in my hands and feet, extreme bone aches, blurred vision, my eyes constantly wept, loss of my taste buds, loss of hair on every part of my body and my favourite chemo brain.

My hair started falling out after my 2nd does of chemo. I’d brush my hair and clumps would come out in my brush.  So, I just didn’t brush my hair hoping to fold onto it for a bit longer, but when I ran my fingers through it was still coming out in greater amounts.  I got my husband to drive me to my sister whose is a hairdresser to ger her to shave it all off.  I have never felt anything so liberative as to have no hair.  I loved being bald and I really rocked scarves and bandanas.  Chemo brain another side effect was very strange.  I had problems remembering things and my mind was so fuzzy.  I remember one night lying in bed and asked my husband to turn down the whirly thing on the roof.  I couldn’t remember the word fan.  Due to this side effects the oncology nurse recommended I have a diary to right everything down in which I did which made writing my story a lot easier.  After finishing the last round of the nasty chemo, I then had to have 4 rounds of the milder chemo called docetaxol.  The oncology nurse did warn me that 2 percent of patients react to this chemo and said that with my track record of all the side effects and if anything goes wrong it will happen to Sheri. So, they were watching me carefully. She told me to let them know should I feel anything different once they started the chemo.  Not even 10 seconds into chemo I could feel my tongue tingling I started to really sweat and could feel my heart really racing and the room was starting to go black.  I had an anaphylactic reaction to the mild chemo.  After a frantic phone call to my oncologist in Brisbane it was decided to give me a 2 week break before I was to start on a course of really harsh chemo.  This was 4 courses every 2 weeks.  My last chemo was on May 16th 2013.

During chemo I still had my regular MRI’s, mammograms, and ultrasounds. One ultrasound I’ll never forget is the one that told us my 6.6cm tumour had shrunk down to 1.1cms.  The chemo had done its hob.  This all hasn’t been for nothing.

During one of my chemo sessions a young girl was brought into oncology by ambulance.  She was in her school uniform, not a hair on her head, her eyes slightly sunken but still so sparky with a massive smile on her face.  Not once did she cry when she was poked with needles, she never complained.  Now that is the ultimate definition of brave.  Whenever I felt really low and thought I can’t do this anymore I always thought of that little girl and many other children that go through this horrid disease we call cancer and thought if they can do it so can I.

20th June 2013 was my surgery day to finally have this intruder removed from my body once and for all.  I had to go to Rockhampton in the morning to have a dye injected into my nipple to show the surgeon exactly where the lymph nodes were.  This was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever felt in my life.  Then drive back to Gladstone for surgery.  Surgery went very well, and the surgeon got a good clearance around the lump and removed 16 lymph nodes which thankfully all came back clear.  Thank God the cancer hadn’t spread.  I had half my breast removed and have a scar that runs from my nipple to just under my armpit.  Because I had so many lymph nodes removed, I will always have to be cautious of lymphedema.  This is the swelling of the arm with fluid that has trouble draining through the body because of the reduction of lymph nodes.  It is very painful. I do wear a pressure sleeve to help with this condition.

I then had 6 weeks of radiation to go yet.  This was hard as I had to stay in Brisbane away from my family for 6 weeks.  Radiation itself wasn’t hard.  At my initial consultation with the radium specialist, I had four tattoos around my breast that the machine lines up perfectly with to administer the radiation.  Radiation goes or only 3 minutes every day of the week.  I did get the weekends off.  While chemo destroys the cancer cells as well as the good cells through out your whole body, radiation cleans up any stray cells that chemo may have missed targeting just the area where the cancer was. While I was in Brisbane, I stayed at Ellis Lodge which is the Cancer Council lodge.  It was like a home away from home and the staff were fantastic.  The Cancer council gets no funding from the government and solely relies on the generous donations and fundraising.  Many other patients and I stayed at the Cancer Council Lodge at no expense.  They also had a minivan to ferry the patients from the lodge to the various treatment facilities around Brisbane all funded by the public generosity.  With out this funding a lot of patients would not be able to have the treatment they need.  Funds raised for Cancer Council go towards finding a cure not just for breast cancer but for all cancers, treatment for patients, travel and accommodation for patients that are a distance from the necessary treatment facilities.  Ten dollars can buy a wig for a patient undergoing treatment and the wigs are supplied free.  Having benefitted firsthand from the generosity of donations to the Cancer council I would personally like to thank everyone who has donated to the Cancer council, bought pink ribbon merchandise, and held fundraising events.  You and my wonderful medical team literally saved my lift and will save the lives of many others.  On 11 September this year I reached 7 years cancer free. My mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and is now also cancer free.

Make yourself a promise, have regular mammograms, always check the girls. Early detection is crucial.

I still have regular mammograms, ultrasounds, oncologist, and surgeon appointments.  I also take 3 different medications every day and will for the rest of my life, which is nothing because I have a long great life to look forward too.

Breast cancer Awareness - Our story

Shannon

Hi this is my story. At 34 I was a hard-working mum of 4. I was so busy working as a nurse in aged care, volunteering in the rural fire brigade, looking after my mum plus all the other things you do as a family. A friend at work who was 52 had just being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in her left breast. Before she was having her surgery, we were all sitting in the staff room talking about it. The next week I got up for work on the Monday. Dressing for work I noticed my right nipple had a small indentation which looked like someone sliced a pie slice. Tuesday it looked a little bigger. Wednesday I was getting dressed and it looked bigger than the day before. My husband said your nipple is sinking.

At work I grabbed one of my RNS into the med room and asked her to have a look for me. She did and had a feel. She said go get it checked but it’s probably nothing. I called into the Doctors one the way home yet again the DR had a feel but stated she didn’t feel anything but rang for a mammogram and ultrasound for the next day. So Thursday I went for my appointments. The lady doing the mammogram pushed and squished then said to wait a minute. She came back and put the scan on the light and started circling three circles. She then repeated them. Then I went for the ultrasound my stomach lurched as I looked at them and knew what they were. They organised and emergency biopsy for the next day. I watched with my partner as they inserted the needle and felt so much pain ( lumps where on nerves ). I worked all weekend and waited. Monday heard nothing; Tuesday heard nothing on the Wednesday my RN rang to hurry them up. She said I had to go and see the Dr. I went and said to the DR I have ductal carcinoma. She said yes and made an appointment for the Friday with a surgeon. I drove home in shock walked into my bedroom asked my husband to come here. I grabbed him and cried my eyes out. My surgeon asked me if I know what was going to happen next. I told him double mastectomy, lymph node clearance.

Chemotherapy and possibly radiation. He said yes. I know what I have but not once did I feel sorry for myself. People asked to pray for me and I’d say yes. I had the best surgeon, hospital, pink nurse, and oncologist. I also had the most wonderful Dr. my Drs name was Doctor Peter Spitzer. He was the one who told me he would make sure I live. He did. Just after my last chemo round I had my normal vitamin B shot. He asked me how I know that I was going to live. I told him you told me I would. That was on a Friday. On the Monday I was to see him again, but he was sick. Two weeks later he died. Advanced bowel and prostate cancer. I still raised my kids. I had to work nights packing shelves at Woolworths as I had used all my leave from work and Centrelink wouldn’t help me as it wasn’t going to be a permanent disability. I was given a hat to wear at work as I wasn’t ready to wear the bald head yet.

I’m lucky. I’m alive. I’m 45. I now have to grandchildren. Brought a house My only ever question was how two staff at the same time had the same cancer, same surgeon, same oncologist, same everything. Cancer is hard, but the aftermath is hard to. Having a type of PTSD at any time when you have a pain or cough it’s always in the back of your head. A year later I decided to have transflap surgery and contracted MRSA. Every single stitch (internal and external) opened. I’m still here and that’s all I care about.

Breast cancer Awareness - Our story

Ruth

I was diagnosed stage 4 breast cancer with Mets to my liver when I was 50 … I was diagnosed after going to doctors with crampy pains in my stomach … I felt no lump in my breast … I had 5 months of chemotherapy and have been having 3 weekly immunotherapy infusion for 5 and a half years now and they continue. I am currently so grateful to have no tumours anywhere with no evidence of any active disease. I encourage everyone to get checked regularly.

This project was supported by:

Local Artist Exhibitions

Shine Bright Photography Exhibition

Exhibition dates 4th June – 30th July 2021

This exciting exhibition spans across 2 galleries and showcases the wonderful talent we have in Central Queensland. The exhibition is part of CQRASN’s Shine Bright Festival that celebrates and spotlights artists from 14 diverse regions.

View Gallery – https://theartgallerygladstonehospital.com/shine-bright-photography-exhibition/

Theme: Shine Bright
EOI Close: 20 May 2021 Extended to 5pm Saturday 22 May
Exhibition: 4th June – 30th July,
The Art Gallery Biloela Hospital & The Art Gallery Gladstone Hospital.

Curated by: Katrina Elliott

Who can enter? : Photographers must reside in one of the following regions Banana, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Central Highlands, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast, Livingstone, Isaac, North Burnett, Rockhampton, South Burnett, Mackay, Woorabinda and Whitsundays. Open to all ages. Both Amateur and Professional Photographers are invited.

What is the Theme? The theme “Shine Bright” is the photographers interpretation of what Shine Bright means to them. Person, place or thing the subject is open for the Photographers interpretation. The Photograph must have been taken in 2020 -2021.

Where will the photographs be displayed? The exhibition is both online and in the Hospital galleries. All Photographs deemed appropriate will be displayed online then the curator will choose the collection of photographs to be printed.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  1. One entry per photographer is permitted.
  2. It must be your own work and have been taken in 2020-2021.
  3. Entry – digital files are to be uploaded (min 1mb – max 5mb) Photographs will be printed A2 and 8×12” Please reframe from cropping images square or panoramic.
  4. Digital manipulation is to be kept to a minimum. (logos are not permitted on Photographs) Labels will accompany each print.
  5. Written permissions are required for people that are recognisable in the photograph. Download Release Form.
  6. Entrants must reside in one of the following regions Banana, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Central Highlands, Cherbourg, Fraser Coast, Livingstone, Isaac, North Burnett, Rockhampton, South Burnett, Mackay, Woorabinda and Whitsundays..
  7. If the photographer is under 18year a parent or Guardian must submit the entry.
  8. Entries Close 5 pm 20th May 2021.
  9. As the Works are being presented in a public foyer area of a public hospital and online, please be aware that explicit language or imagery that contains references to nudity, drugs or alcohol will not be permitted. Artworks must be appropriate for viewing by people of all ages, cultural backgrounds and religions.
  10. The Art Gallery is entitled to exclude or remove photographs from the exhibition where any applicant has submitted false information or who does not comply with all terms and conditions.
Fundraisers

Fundraiser – The Art Gallery Gladstone Hospital 2020-21

We are seeking avid gardeners who can donate some potted succulents for our stall at the Rotary Charity markets, any style or colour. Please make sure they are in good health and have established roots. Please give me a text to arrange a pick up and drop off time and place. 0414974643 Katrina
Proceeds will assist with the The Art Gallery Gladstone Hospital for 2020-21.
Community Arts Initiative
Artz Hub

New office

So excited to be setting up my new office, well for the next couple of months. I am starting the new project in the hospital courtyard this time. The maintenance crew dug deep in the basement to find me this old steriliser unit. Works a treat to put tiles and succulent plants on. We just need to find some serious colour to brighten up the place now.

Setting up for project Äunty”