KINROSS resident Olga White’s children will be saving their biggest Christmas celebrations for their mum this year after the 49-year-old Irish expat was recently cleared of cancer.
The local nurse found a lump in her breast at the end of 2013 that was diagnosed malignant, leaving her with the daunting thought, “I’m going to die and my youngest is only six.”
An operation successfully removed the tumour, but worse was to come.
Doctors discovered cancerous cells in her lymph nodes, which meant she would have to undergo chemotherapy.
She described the diagnosis as the “most devastating moment of the ordeal”.
“The chemo itself was pretty awful; in fact, I can’t even begin to tell you how bad chemo is,” she said.
“After my first treatment I initially felt OK but then a few days later I felt diabolical and was in bed for five days.
“I didn’t eat anything but made myself drink cold icy water.
“It was an effort to walk across the room; I didn’t shower, I couldn’t move.”
But the anguish she endured during treatment was far outweighed by the relief that came from a recent visit to her doctor.
The mother-of-four gave her children the Christmas present that mattered most in 2015: to have their parent cleared of cancer.
Looking back on the frightening experience, she wanted other local cancer patients to be aware they could undergo treatment at Joondalup Health Campus.
She said all it took was a referral from her doctor and it removed the stress of having to make an hour round-trip to the inner-city hospitals.
Her JHC medical oncologist Arman Hasani said she was “doing great”.
He too described the benefits of treatment close to home, saying most patients needed a loved one to drive them to appointments.
“This can be a significant time and financial burden for patients and their family,” he said.