Oncology Rehab Helps Anne's Cancer Recovery

Anne McIntyre
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Nobody wants to be diagnosed with cancer, but Portland’s Anne McIntyre sees herself as one of the lucky ones.

Not only has Mrs McIntyre recovered from her cancer scare, she's also got to appreciate the services and support available to her.

After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February, Mrs McIntyre's doctor referred her to Portland District Health cancer link nurse Elaine Norton for information about local services.

She was in turn referred to the PDH oncology group which has played a big role in setting her on the road to recovery.

Because of medical appointments I couldn't make it till half way through the first group, but I thought it was so valuable I asked if I could do the sessions I missed in the next group, Mrs McIntyre said.

The group involves a mixture of education and exercise, including information from a dietitian, podiatrist, psychologist, and exercise in relation to cancer patients.

We were getting valuable information and mixing with people who were going through similar things,Mrs McIntyre said.

The exercise is tailored to each person and supervised by Ms Norton, an exercise physiologist and a physiotherapist.

They adjusted the exercise to fit you, Mrs McIntyre said. They'd always take blood pressure and pulse before starting. One day I wasn't allowed to do exercise because I'd just had chemo and my body wasn't up to it. They also monitor you closely through it and make sure you don't overdo it.

Mrs McIntyre, 64, admitted that before joining the group she wasn’t inclined to exercise while she was sick. I wasn't super inclined to exercise at the best of times,she added.

However, it inspired her to do more exercise outside of the weekly meetings.

I'm sure it helped me. I still get tired but I'm back playing squash and am back doing normal things, she said.

Mrs McIntyre said mixing with other people in a similar situation had helped her outlook on cancer and the advice from Ms Norton was beneficial.

When you get cancer you get bombarded with a lot of literature, but to have someone there giving you a brief run down was very helpful, she said.

Plus it got me out of the house, especially in my bad times.

Mrs McIntyre said she didn't become depressed but there were times when the chemotherapy got her down.

I was very fortunate because they thought they had all my cancer when I had the operation. The chemo was more of a precaution because it was very aggressive. I was lucky and it hadn't spread but I didn't like the chemo. I finished in mid-July and it took quite a while to come good.

There are a lot worse off than me. I'm lucky it was discovered early, she said.

Mrs McIntyre's hair has grown back, though she admits people have found out what colour it truly is.

Her most recent visit to the oncologist revealed good blood results and she is due for another check-up in January.

Mrs McIntyre is also involved in a monthly get together for people recovering from cancer that is organised by Ms Norton.

The next oncology group will start on February 16 as part of PDH's Health Independence programs to provide care to clients with chronic conditions and/or complex care needs. Sessions are run on Mondays and Thursdays with gym followed by education. New clients can join at any time and for an 8 week program.

All referrals can be made to the PDH intake team at PDH.

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