My Voice: Nan Bryenton – Local News – News – General – Melbourne Weekly Eastern?easternhealt

My Voice: Nan Bryenton – Local News – News – General – Melbourne Weekly Eastern?easternhealt,About 60 per cent of the program is to do with exercise a cross between tai chi and Pilates. I have never considered myself part of the Lycra brigade, but the course taught me the basics and now I exercise for about an hour every day. I use 500-gram tins of baked beans and spaghetti as weights. Over the seven-week period I went from being able to walk 20 paces to two kilometres. Id say there has been a 50 per cent improvement in my joints and muscles since I started exercising.All in all, the physical side of cancer is treated very well in our health system Eastern Health, but the mental side of recovery is lacking. Treatment for cancer has come a long way and there are many more survivors now. Eastern Health is planning two more courses for cancer survivors. I think it should be made compulsory for every cancer patient to go through this program as it is such a great transition from hospital to real life. Eastern Health is one of Victorias largest public health services, prMy Voice: Nan Bryenton – Local News – News – General – Melbourne Weekly Eastern?easternhealtoviding a range of acute, sub-acute, mental health and community health services from 23 locations, including Wantirna Health. For more information, visit easternhealth.org.au or call program co-ordinator Delwyn Morgan on 0457 563 174.

Nan Bryenton, 63, was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer in 2008.The most difficult hurdle to get over was the initial shock. Within four days of visiting my doctor for what I thought was a strained muscle, I was in hospital. An eight by 10-centimetre tumour had been found on my kidney, and the cancer had spread to my spine. I subsequently underwent surgery to have my L3 disc third vertebra from the base of the spine removed. The cancer was eating away at the vertebra and there was a risk that, if compressed, my spinal cord would be severed. I spent several months in hospital and now have a titanium cage in my spine to prevent compression. Since leaving hospital my life has revolved around a six-week cycle: four weeks of chemotherapy and two weeks off. During every cycle Im guaranteed to have at least one week of severe nausea and vomiting, but the alternative to this medication is not good, so Ill continue to take it. Its been almost three years since I was diagnosed and in general things are going really well.I progressed from not being able to stand and relying on a wheelchair to walking with crutches. Im now able to walk on my own. One year of rehabeasternhealth.org.auilitation both physical and mental taught me how to cope with the pain and increase the mobility of my spine and legs. After 12 months of rehab I heard about a new program offered by Eastern Health. The seven-week Ambulatory Oncology Rehabilitation Program combines one hour of exercise with an information session on a range of strategies to deal with work, relationships and life. The program really helped me. The great thing about the course was that it taught me how to cope with diagnosis. There were guest speakers, psychologists, oncologists and surgeons who were made available to me 24 hours a day. I learnt that there are 160 cancer support groups in Victoria and a 24-hour cancer support hotline. I had no idea services like these existed beforehand. My life was improved so much just by knowing.

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Nan I am amazed at the courage and your sense of humour. You will be a wonderful mentor for others. You should be proud of what you have achieved – onwards and up I say.

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