Mildura Weekly : Friday March 28 2014 Vol 8 No 21
Mildura Weekly – 28/03/14 13 www.milduraphonebook.com.au Shea undertakes cancer ‘journey’ • From previous page “She kept saying: ‘I think you have a baby.’” “I knew I wasn’t preg- nant, and it concerned me to know she could feel something quite rounded on the left side of my stom- ach. “Many puzzling thoughts were going through my head, but I knew that I was best to seek advice from a doctor. “And that is what I did. As soon as I landed back in Australia, I went to my local GP and was sent for an ul- trasound. “On the screen I could clearly see two rounded ob- jects, and it was then I was convinced something was wrong. “The results showed a 17-centimetre cyst on the left side of my stomach and another, seven-centimetre cyst lying on, and slowly crushing my right ovary. “Immediate surgery fol- lowed, and both cysts were removed along with my right ovary. “All was well after sur- gery. I was extremely sore, but got better day by day. “A week later I received the devastating news that a biopsy taken during surgery detected ovarian cancer. “That was very unexpect- ed...and everyone involved was extremely shocked. “I must admit I cried for days and days after receiving that diagnosis. Nothing re- ally made sense, and I kept thinking why? There is no history in my family, I am healthy and exercise regu- larly. And I don’t smoke. “It was a complete mys- tery at the time, and still is to this day. The doctors are puzzled, and keen to find the answers.” Shea says “everything seemed to be a big blur for a few weeks while I was waiting around for the final results. “I felt numb for days, not knowing what was next. Asked how her family, including her younger sib- lings, sister Kari and young- er brother Callan, took the news, Shea said: “The household was completely quiet for a few days while everyone was coming to terms with the diagnosis.” Once the ovarian can- cer verdict was in, Shea was flown immediately to Adelaide for the next avail- able surgery appointment... to be opened up again to check all lymph nodes and muscle for any more cancer. “Since November I have had two major surgeries and two more minor opera- tions,” she said. You can see from our Darren Seiler photographs that Shea has quite an im- pressive head of hair. One of the common side effects of chemo treat- ment, Shea explained, was the loss of hair. “I was keen to try and save mine, and have been using a ‘cooling cap’ to that end,” she said. “The cooling caps are quite new to Australia, and very few hospitals have them. I’m lucky to be able to be given the opportunity to try and save my hair. “The cap does come with it’s cons – its main pur- pose is to freeze the roots of your hair so it is quite un- comfortable because the cap must remain on your head before, during and af- ter treatment.” But Shea is meeting that challenge the same way she is facing up to her situa- tion...head-on with cour- age, a positive attitude and dignity. Shea said her cancer – Mucinous cystadenocarci- noma – is thought to have developed over six month. “I am now in the midst of six months of chemo- therapy, rotating single and double dosages,” she said. “I travel to Adelaide ev- ery Friday for treatment. “The doctors there be- lieve the cancer was con- tained in the cyst and ova- ry...the chemotherapy is to ensure that all remaining cancer cells are killed if any escaped.” Shea paid tribute to the many people who have helped her during the past few months, including Sun- raysia Cancer Resources. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help. I wasn’t even aware of the organisation until a close family friend brought to our (the family’s) atten- tion,” she said. “They not only provide support, but help people like myself get the best pos- sible treatment.” Meanwhile, Shea said Kathy Ridley and her co- workers at The Office “have been raising funds to help support ongoing medical treatment since I was first diagnosed. And, I have also received tremendous sup- port from Mildura Sports Centre, Mildura West Crick- et Club, and FIT Mildura.” Asked what keeps her motivated and moving for- ward to wellness, Shea said: “I have taken every day as it comes. Some days are better than others, and I dread ev- ery Friday but I know I need to push on for the best pos- sible outcome. “I look back at Delta Goodrem when she was first diagnosed with Hodg- kins Lymphoma, and where she is today. She once said: ‘I believe In faith. I believe in angels. I believe that per- haps God sent me this chal- lenge for a reason to help other people. I am a true be- liever, and I just want every woman to be aware of their bodies, never hold back go- ing to the doctor like I did.’” And what is Shea look- ing forward to in the future? “I will be extremely happy to be able to go back to full time work after treat- ment... of course getting married in September in amazing Phuket, starting a family, and being able to lead a normal life again.” • PRAISE: Shea speaks highly of community support services like Sunraysia Cancer Resources and the help they have given her. She is pictured with SCR coordinator Viona Woodroffe. Shea undertakes cancer ‘journey’ DEMO RIDE DAY SATURDAY 29th MARCH Mildura Motorcycles invite you to exclusively demo ride the Triumph motorcycle range. Bookings are essential as timeslots are limited get in early to avoid disappointment. Ph: (03) 5023 2046 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 733 Fifteenth St Mildura LMCT 8145 DEMO RIDE DAY SAT URDAY 29th MARCH LMCT 8145 www.triumphmotorcycles.com.au All riders must be wearing appropriate protective clothing and footwear.
Friday March 21 2014 Vol 8 No 20
Friday April 4 2014 Vol 8 No 22