Patricia Mahara has a strong family history of cancer, after losing her mother to breast cancer 20 years ago she is now facing her own battle with the disease, yet she stays incredibly positive thanks to the strong support networks around her.
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer Patricia has undergone surgery and chemotherapy at the Mater Cancer Care Centre, she is now preparing for 30 rounds of radiation therapy and has just joined the 'Return to Wellness Program' to help with her recovery.
Return to Wellness supports breast cancer patients access a guided exercise program with a physiotherapist and breast care nurse. Patients also receive advice about their diet and lifestyle choices to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
“Since undergoing chemotherapy I have a few creaks and cracks in my body from being so unwell, my main goal is to get the use of my arms back, so I can return to full time work as a disability support worker,” Patricia said.
“I am hoping I can develop more strength and increase my muscle mass throughout the classes plus learning the skills I get taught in the gym will give me the confidence to use a private gym once the 8-week program is finished.
“The support I have received from Mater throughout my cancer journey has been incredible, they are truly focused on keeping us well through our treatment not just treating the disease itself.”
Patricia explains she has not only had her cancer treated but been offered a whole range of other allied health and support services including dietetics, physiotherapy and psychiatry while she has also been connected with the Mater Chicks in Pink for breast cancer specific help.
“The Mater Chicks in Pink have been incredible, I have even received assistance with things like parking, as a single mum who has not been able to work during my treatment this has made the world of difference to me,” Patricia said.
“My care team has also been amazing, my breast care nurses Jen and Michelle are so kind and compassionate, they have so many patients and they treat us all like we’re the most important people in the world.
“I am grateful to my oncologist Dr Kathryn Middleton and my surgeon Dr Jason Lambley plus the team of specialists in MCCC during chemo, do an amazing job supporting all the patients through extremely challenging obstacles we owe them so much respect and during COVID they showed up at work so thank you to all the staff at the Mater Hospital.”
For Patricia this cancer journey has also been marked with additional fear and uncertainty, she explains what it has been like to go through this ordeal in the middle of a pandemic.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time as going through cancer normally would be a rough journey but to do it during the COVID pandemic has been extremely scary as your immune system is so low,” Patricia said.
Patricia is now looking forward to participating in Return to Wellness classes while doing her radiation treatment.
“The team have been great, they have scheduled my radiation appointments around the exercise classes, so I will be able to do both in the same day. I am hoping the exercises classes will keep me fit and strong while I am doing radiation,” Patricia said.
To find out more about Mater’s Cancer Care Services please contact 07 3163 5200 or visit the website https://www.mater.org.au/health/services/cancer-services