Playing the long game with an ovarian cancer diagnosis might be more about ‘how’ you live both physically and emotionally rather than ‘what’ the diagnosis and treatment choices and outcomes may be.
Six months following completion of treatment for cervical cancer in 1996 Jill was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This diagnosis began Jill’s long journey with cancer through these past twenty- three years. Jill underwent a series of radiation and Cesium treatments, chemotherapy, multiple scans, follow up medical appointments and many hours sitting waiting for the latest results.
However, Jill was never passive during those waiting hours, at all times she was armed with information and questions as well as questioning what each report or scan really meant. She was driven by her need to know and her need to feel some control in her health choices other than just a mainstream medical treatment plan.
As her career had been in horticulture and interests in bush regeneration, Jill did start with a strong physical base which she backed up with a holistic approach of naturopathy, the Ian Gawler diet, Reiki, meditation, a return to an active working life while all the time closely supported by friends and her local community. From her local community Jill sought the support of ‘Heads Up For Fire (HUFF)’ group to ensure she was assisted in case of fire which she now provides in her role of fire watch for the street. Cancer Wellness Support therapies continue to be Qi Gong, Reflexology.
During a phase of chemotherapy her group of friends drew up a roster to cover shopping, driving to chemo and appointments as well as times to visit. It was important during medical appointments that friends also scribed for Jill firstly, because listening to a diagnosis and treatment plan can be hard to take it all in especially if you’re in shock and secondly because it’s hard to remember it all. Jill says the best of all this support was the rostered 10.00am txt to check on how she was and what her needs might be for the day. This txt she says, required little effort to respond but made "me feel cared about and secure."
At times the diagnosis, treatment and recovery phases of cancer can be isolating but Jill has continued line dancing and last year joined a choir. Although Jill lives with cancer she says so often she ‘forgets about it.’ Jill believes her longevity is thanks to a determination to read and understand medical reports along with a need to openly discuss any concerns she had with her treating specialists.
Added to all of her supportive network is her cancer buddy, Poco
who just might be the secret to Jill’s successful approach to playing the long game.