Body talk

Body talk

Image supplied by Kate Heaslip Photography When I was growing up, in fact until I had children of my own, I knew very little about the human body and almost less about my own.  There is probably a combination of reasons why: disinterest; lack of guidance; not being in the school curriculum; and of course being preoccupied with social life, dancing and drama (I wanted to be an actor/performer when I was younger). Background – I knew nothing! When Matthew was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) he was 4 weeks old and like most people I knew NOTHING about CF.  Naively I thought that CF had something to do with some sort of physical disability similar to that of Cerebral Palsy.  We walked into the first appointment where various members of the hospital team went over the basics of what CF was, the mechanics of it, how to manage it, what to look out for…. You get the drift! Overwhelm to action! I was totally overwhelmed.  I knew little about the human body and my overwhelm was intensified by the immense grief I was going through. It made me realise if a person has little idea about the mechanics of their own bodies, how can they make informed decisions?  It starts with us right?! As the years went on I learnt more and learnt to listen to my own body.  Did you know your body talks to you?  It does! And if you listen carefully and pay attention it can tell you a whole heap about how you really are! Matthew was 3 and Joshua was 4 months old when I started to study Naturopathy. ...
Rachel’s story

Rachel’s story

“The doctor called me a hypochondriac parent, but I pushed for the tests anyway” Meet Rachel, mother of four and carer to her daughter who has Type 1 Diabetes.  Rachel’s story is a clear example of the importance in trusting your instincts! After dealing with the heartbreak of losing her youngest child ten months earlier, Rachel knew something was seriously wrong with her 3 year old child Hailey.  Even when the doctor referred to her as a “hypochondriac parent”, Rachel pushed for further tests which would reveal her daughter’s diagnosis. Within 24 hours, her daughter was being rushed to hospital by plane on the verge of slipping into a coma. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be a carer. I am a Mum with my main carer role with my 2nd eldest who is Type 1 Diabetic. She was diagnosed a month before she turned 4. I act as her advocate when people are surprised she eats cake, her nurse and action plan co-ordinator when she is unwell, I crunch her sugar levels regularly to find patterns that may or may not exist and I am the 1st go to person for her school or friends when she is not with me. She was diagnosed 10 months after we lost a son at birth to a fatal heart condition that was not detected until he was born. Our daughter had just turned 3 and the symptoms of her condition were there within a couple of months. Her diagnosis was not as quick as it probably could have been because our family was distracted by grief and just getting through each...
Insights from a Chronic Health Nurse

Insights from a Chronic Health Nurse

“Carers (whether it be family or not) play a vital role in also caring for my patients, they will always know more than me about my patient…”   Please meet Kelly, she is an award winning passionate nurse who is warm, caring and incredibly funny!  Kelly trained an adult learner to become a qualified nurse.  She has worked with people of all ages and walks of life.  She cares deeply for her patients and their loved ones.  I happened to go to high school with Kelly and we met again the day my step-mum was diagnosed with breast cancer some five years ago. Her words are incredibly pertinent with and has some interesting insights for us all.  Cassie x Please tell us about yourself and how you support or work with carers. I am a nurse currently working within cancer services for a major metropolitan acute adult hospital. I work in an outpatient area, providing support – the term support covers many aspects of care – but briefly this includes; toxicity, medication and treatment management, emotional & psychosocial support for cancer sufferers receiving radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment regime. As the largest radiation oncology department in Adelaide we treat on average 120 patients per day, we have treated children as young as a few months old right up to the geriatric age group. A patient’s treatment intent can be “radical” with the intent of remission – life preservation, or palliative – life extending or symptom control for end of life care. Can you share the most rewarding and the most challenging parts of your role? The most rewarding...
The Diagnosis

The Diagnosis

Last year I was asked to participate in a Cystic Fibrosis South Australia (CFSA) fundraising project for the 65 Roses Ball.  I was asked to be interviewed on camera – no problem.  As it turned out, after all of the planning, the interview happened to fall on the 2nd day of what turned out to be a 3-week frustrating admission.  Perfect, because it would be real, I thought. The first question was up and I was asked “What is CF?”, a seemingly simple question for a normally well-spoken “have it all together most of the time” kind of mum.  Five words in and I was a blubbering mess!  I was mortified.  I thought, “what is wrong with me?”  I was really taken back at my uncontrolled emotion.  I have been asked this so many times that my responses are well practised and somewhat detached.  I normally provide factual and in-depth information, explain the emotional stressors but rarely connect with them.  Sometimes when I talk about CF it is almost in a clinical sense.  So now it seems that I am human! It took me back to Matthew’s diagnosis. Rarely do I allow myself to cast back and feel that emotion. It is simply to raw. My heart aches for that young 24-year-old first-time mother.  No one deserves that heartache, the shock, the immense grief and despair that any parent feels when told there is something wrong with their child and worse still when doctors state in a matter of fact manner that there is a life expectancy, a cap on your child’s life. I decided to show Matthew off for the first time...
Kate’s story

Kate’s story

“My advice would be ask loads of questions and stay off Dr Google!” Meet Kate, a ferocious hard working mother who would do anything for her children.  Four years ago she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer but refused to let this bring her down.  During that time her young son Josh was also diagnosed with an AVM (Arterio Venous Malformation) and had to undergo invasive surgery where he was and still is at risk of losing his foot.  This is a family who are true fighters, not only do they stick together but will do anything to help others in the community anyway possible.  This is Kate’s carer story. Cassie x My name is Kate and I am a working mum with two children Joshua 10 and Jenna 7. When Joshua was five he was diagnosed with an Arterio Venous Malformation or AVM in his left foot. Essentially this is an abnormal growth of blood vessels which causes significant pain, swelling, abnormal bone plate growth and grows rapidly without regular treatment. It can be life threatening. The impact and cost Being a carer has impacted on our lives significantly as Joshua’s medical treatment requires us to travel to Melbourne every three to six months dependant on test results. A few times we have had to do trips a couple of weeks apart as test results have not been good. This usually requires us separating as a family as financially we just cannot afford to travel and accommodate ourselves in Melbourne for long periods. This also has significantly impacted on our daughter Jenna who has developed anxiety around our family being...