Poppy’s Story

Poppy’s positive outlook a key ingredient in her cancer recovery

Poppy has attended the Southside Cancer Care centre at Miranda for chemotherapy that has helped treat her breast cancer following surgery. A life-affirming attitude has helped Poppy through diagnosis, surgery and treatment.

Poppy's Story

Within a fortnight, the life of Sutherland Shire resident Poppy changed dramatically. However, thanks to her prompt action after she found a lump in her breast, proactive doctors and a rapid response involving surgery and chemotherapy, the cancer was treated in time.

Poppy found a breast lump one Sunday morning when she was having a shower. Her initial reaction was that it didn’t feel right. “I thought about it during the day, and that night checked myself by putting my arm up.” Her verdict was still, “No, this one’s not good.” The next day, Poppy saw her GP.

“My GP was marvellous. She checked it and got in touch straight away with Miranda Medical Centre and booked me in for a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy.” Poppy underwent a round of tests on the Wednesday. By Saturday she was back in her GP’s office and the results were a grade 3 aggressive cancer in her breast.

On the Monday Poppy’s daughter took her to see the surgeon and Poppy was told that a mastectomy would tackle the cancer, and the sooner the operation took place, the better. The surgery would be followed by a course of chemotherapy.

“By Thursday morning I’d had the operation at St George Private Hospital,” says Poppy. “I kept very positive through the whole thing.”

Poppy has maintained a positive outlook during her cancer journey, “Right from the start,” she recalls. “When I was first seen by the doctor, my son, who was with me asked what happens now and where do we go from here? My doctor was very comforting and simply said that the process was like a well-oiled machine. She explained that once you start everything falls into place and everyone just carries out their job and goes on. And that’s exactly what happened to me. Everyone knew exactly what they were doing.”

In the month following the mastectomy, Poppy had daily in-home visits from SouthCare community nursing. “They were absolutely marvellous,” says Poppy.

Poppy, who has lived in the Sutherland Shire for 34 years, was able to receive her chemotherapy and Herceptin treatment in nearby Miranda, at Southside Cancer Care Centre.

“The girls there are all angels. They are just so kind and considerate, so gentle with the needles whenever the cannulas went in my veins – taking trouble to not to hurt me and to make sure I didn’t bruise,” says Poppy. Staff were accommodating when she needed to fit in other medical appointments. “Honestly, I couldn’t speak highly enough of them. Everyone was very, very helpful.”

Poppy was well supported by her adult children and friends. “Oh look, it’s been marvellous. Absolutely marvellous. I couldn’t have done it without my children – and the doctors and the nurses – and my friends. My dear friends and relatives were busy cooking meals and cakes as well as providing lots of moral support. I had a lot of support from everyone and I’m just so grateful. I’m so lucky in that respect and I think that’s what is necessary when you are in this state.”

Poppy has a deep appreciation for the medical staff who have helped her throughout. “I was very grateful for all, right from my GP to my surgeon to the nursing staff who came to the house and changed my dressing every day. Really, everybody – including Dr Tracey Dunlop, the nurses and the reception girls at Southside – was absolutely fantastic. I’m just very, very grateful.”

Poppy’s outlook on life and her focus on gratitude have aided her recovery, and she recommends a positive mindset to others going through difficult medical procedures. “All along I think you have to be confident, think positive and just trust all the people who are looking after you. That is what it has to be: have faith in everybody and trust. Just be grateful for every little thing that is there to help you out.

“We are very fortunate because everything is available for us. I think that is what put me at ease. Really, I feel very grateful for everything that has been done for me.”