YMCA Cancer Carers Program

Kerrie Jennings-YMCA Manager, Brooke Kelly-PDH Cancer Support Nurse & Dulcie Hoggan
Friday, 17 June 2016
Life was going good for Dulcie Hoggan when she turned 50 last year.

Life was going good for Dulcie Hoggan when she turned 50 last year.

I had my 50th in April and thought life's good with my son, daughter, daughter in law and now a grandchild, she said.

A few months later she noticed something was wrong and by October she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I was numb when I was diagnosed…you never know what’s around the corner, Ms Hoggan admitted, but she was determined to fight her way through.

Born and bred in Portland, Ms Hoggan moved to Mt Gambier 11 years ago. She decided to take 12 months leave from her work to battle the cancer, starting with surgery in November and continuing with chemotherapy at Portland District Health and involvement with the Portland YMCA Cancer Carers Program.

I said if I needed treatment I didn't want to go to Adelaide. It's a really long haul; an 11-hour round trip and there's nothing much in between.

Portland proved to be the most convenient option, not only for the support at PDH but her mother, brother and sister still live in the city.

It has been excellent. From when I had surgery in November in Warrnambool I never have to ask what's happening; it was all organised, she said.

I found the transition from one doctor to the next very easy.

She came out of surgery with flying colours. I had my niece's wedding to go 10 days after the operation and I was determined to go there and I did, she said.

I really wanted to see her get married so I said come on let's do it. It’s good to have those little milestones to look forward to.

Ms Hoggan has been receiving chemotherapy at Portland District Health under visiting Oncologist Dr Ian Collins.

She coped well in the early months but admits the side effects have been difficult recently. I've got to grit my teeth and say I’ve only got a couple of treatments left, she said.

Her last chemo session will be on June 16 and a month later she will undergo radiation therapy at Warrnambool's new cancer centre.

Ms Hoggan has been assisted by PDH's cancer support nurse Brooke Kelly and asked if she could go swimming at the YMCA as part of the Cancer Carers Program.

Her return to the pool in February was a real turning point.

The first time I walked in the water I did what they said which was make the water move through my body. It reduced fluid and swelling around the wound. I touched under my arm and had no pain. I'd been on painkillers since November and I was amazed.

I couldn't get over the reduction in the pain level. Just to be able to relax in the water – words can’t explain how good it is.

Ms Hoggan has nothing but praise for the whole support process.

For more information about the YMCA's Cancer Carers Program please call Brooke Kelly PDH Cancer Support Nurse on 55 210 674.

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