Danielle’s Story

Friday the 13th of November 2015 is a day Danielle will never forget, the day of her diagnosis. She took her first Pilates class and as she lay on her stomach, felt a sharp pain and realised something was wrong. What she would discover changed her life forever.

Booking in to see her GP, she hoped a routine check-up would whisk away her concerns and pain. Instead, it quickly spiralled into a barrage of tests and uncertainty.

“I remember the look on the GP’s face when she felt my stomach, but no one was saying the ‘cancer’ word,” Danielle recalls.

Tests revealed Danielle had a rare type of appendix cancer – with the shocking discovery of a 14cm tumour which had taken over her left ovary.

At just 48 years old, she endured a 14-hour surgery to remove her appendix, gall bladder, spleen, part of her stomach and large intestine, as well as a full hysterectomy. It was a long and painful recovery, spending more than six weeks in hospital and another six months undergoing chemotherapy. For the next three years she was in the clear, until last year when the cancer returned.

Danielle has always had the love and support of her family – to this day her parents still insist on taking her to every appointment. “They’re so supportive. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them. And to think what they must be going through. I’m very lucky.”

But her parents and children knew she would need some extra help and that’s when she was introduced to Heidi from CanCare. In no time at all, Heidi had organised for Danielle to receive the disability pension, arranged for a cleaner and began providing practical and often more importantly, emotional support.

“She’s got a gorgeous soul, whatever I need done, she just gets it done. Nothing is ever too much trouble for her.”

Tuesday afternoon is a time that Danielle looks forward to most, as it’s when she and Heidi just ‘hang out’. She lends an ear and helps Danielle navigate her way through this new and often overwhelming journey.

Danielle’s positivity and determination to ‘beat the bastard’ is unshakable, and so too is the bond she has formed with Heidi. “I’ve only known her for a couple of months but I call her a friend, a real friend. ”

 

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