A Helping Hand

Friday, 25 October 2013
After having surgery on a brain tumour, Portland’s Miriam Bevan feared she would be virtually alone at home during her recovery.

However, PDH Cancer Link Nurse Elaine Norton and the Cancer Support Group ensured that wasn't the case.

Ms Bevan's brain tumour was diagnosed at PDH in January 2011 and she was flown to Melbourne for surgery.

"I went to walk but went sideways instead of forward so I knew something was wrong," she said. A friend drove her to the PDH emergency department where the tumour was diagnosed.

The operation was a success but part of the tumour is wrapped around an artery so cannot be completely removed.

After a week of rehab she was flown back to Portland. "I was returned to my flat and was virtually on my own, or so I thought," she said.

Elaine Norton turned up a few days later and with support from her friends at church, suddenly Ms Bevan realised she wasn’t alone in her battle.

"Elaine made things a lot easier for me by explaining facilities that were available to me, including post-acute care, and then arranging me to access those facilities along with occupational therapy, physio and transport if needed,” she said.

“Elaine has always been available when needed for advice and encouragement and a listening ear.

Ms Bevan has attended the Cancer Support Group since returning home from her surgery.

“Two of my favourite sessions have been `look good, feel better’ and the reflexology session by Wendy McGarvie but I also enjoy the coffee and catch-up sessions,” she said.

After having one eye closed for three months, Ms Bevan went through a rehabilitation program with a physio with face exercises to help her eye muscles and exercises to improve her balance.

Although she has also had heart surgery, Ms Bevan is now enjoying good health and is looking forward to taking part in an upcoming oncology rehab exercise program which was established after Ms Norton identified a gap in community service.

She has been overseas with her daughter and is also planning to celebrate her 70th birthday next January. "I don't think I've had a party since my 21st," she said. "I think it's time to make the most of it.”

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