Chemo Close To Home Helps Former PDH Staff Member

Vicky Taylor
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Vicki Taylor was working at Portland District Health when talks started about establishing a chemotherapy service.

A few years later the former CEO's executive assistant has learned first-hand how beneficial and convenient that service has become.

When I was working at PDH there were early discussions about chemotherapy,” Ms Taylor said. To see it from a patient’s point of view and see the benefits that it's had to my life has been really nice.

Ms Taylor, who worked at PDH for five years before leaving in 2011 to take up a new role at Portland Secondary College, was diagnosed with breast cancer more than a year ago.

Ms Taylor had a mammogram in late 2013 and was called back to Breast Screen early the next year after a slight change was detected since her previous check.

She then went to Geelong for a biopsy which determined she had breast cancer. An MRI revealed two tumors each side.

That's not what you expect to happen, Ms Taylor said. My mother had breast cancer but she was in her 60s, I'm 20 years ahead of her.

She had surgery on February 13 last year and started in chemotherapy in Warrnambool about six weeks after that.

At that point Portland hadn’t started its chemotherapy service.

After completing her first six treatments over 18 weeks in Warrnambool, Ms Taylor was able to receive the service closer to home at PDH.

It's been amazingly simple for me, she said. I'm really lucky the chemo I have now has no short-term side effects. It means that I can go to work and go to the hospital for an hour and half and then go back to work.

The infusion takes only half an hour.

For me to have to drive an hour and half each way to Warrnambool for a 30-minute session would be a pain, Ms Taylor said. Having it in Portland allows for normality. I can drop my daughter Maddi off to school and pick her up. I can have a normal life around chemo.

Ms Taylor will have her last treatment next Thursday. From there we think it will be fine with just regular monitoring. The outcomes look very good, she said.

I was lucky we found it early and treated it aggressively.

Because of her family history, Ms Taylor underwent the tests not long after turning 40.

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