Can you help local women receiving breast cancer treatment?

Your donation is needed to fund breast cancer treatment at North Shore Hospital.
Lisa Morrissey with her dog, Jack
Lisa Morrissey with her dog, Jack

North Shore Hospital is starting a new service for local women diagnosed with breast cancer to receive Herceptin infusion treatment.

Currently, women with breast cancer from the North Shore, West Auckland and Rodney have to receive this life-saving treatment at Auckland Hospital in Grafton which often involves travelling past their local hospital on a long and exhausting journey to the city where they are faced with gridlocked traffic and high parking costs as well as the added stress of trying to find a carpark at an over-stretched hospital.

The infusion which is required every three weeks only takes around 75 minutes per session, however, the round trip to Auckland City Hospital usually takes up a large part of a patient’s day.

Lisa Morrissey from Sunnynook on Auckland's North Shore used to have to take a bus in peak Auckland traffic in order to get to her treatments at Auckland City Hospital. While Lisa says the treatment received at Auckland Hospital was great, the opportunity to be treated in a local and familiar environment will hopefully reduce some of the pressure on other women with breast cancer during what is an extremely traumatic time. 

The Well Foundation is fundraising for two comfortable reclining chairs to deliver Herceptin infusions to women in the new service at North Shore Hospital.

Undergoing treatment after a cancer diagnosis is an overwhelming experience, but the ability to recline in a comfortable chair during the procedure will hopefully allow women receiving treatment to feel much more relaxed.

We are also fundraising for one SureSigns Monitor which will ensure each patient’s vital signs are tracked during the infusions.

Our goal is to reach $20,000 and we would love to have the support of our local community on the North Shore, Rodney and West Auckland to help us reach our target.

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Lisa’s Breast Cancer Journey

9 July 2016: Routine Mammogram: I went for a routine mammogram, as you do, expecting everything to be okay.

12 July 2016: Phone Call about irregularities with Mammogram: I received a phone call on the Tuesday, to say they weren’t happy with the results of my mammogram and I needed to go back in for additional testing. I was a little concerned but not overly, so I planned to go to the appointment by myself.

13 July 2016: Additional mammogram, ultrasound, physical examination & biopsy: They did the mammogram and physical examination first and I asked the doctor doing the exam, should that hurt when you press like that, she said "it's not a good sign".  At that point my mind started freaking out.  They asked me to stay in the waiting room before the next stage; I rang my husband and asked him to come, as I needed him.  

20 July 2016: HER2 Breast Cancer Diagnosis: My husband and I arrived at the clinic where I was told that I had HER2 breast cancer. We then went home, drank a bottle of wine and cried a lot but we decided that humour was the best way to deal with the stress and it helped - laughter is good.

10 August 2016: Mastectomy and reconstruction surgery: The surgery went without a hitch and I was discharged the next day. Unfortunately I developed an infection which complicated my recovery and  delayed the commencement of chemotherapy. The worst part was trying to be strong while dealing with dressing a painful and ugly wound that seemed to be getting bigger. 

25 October 2016: Chemotherapy (including 3 Herceptin treatments): The only thing I want to say about this is I got through it. It was a horrible experience that I would not want to repeat. Because the treatments were at Auckland City Hospital, I caught the bus there and back. Someone would pick me up from the bus stop and I'd collapse as soon as I got home.

7 March 2017: Radiotherapy: Same as above really but it was every day, not every 21 days like chemo, so very intense. Until you have experienced it, you really have no idea.  For me it was scary, exhausting and the side effects last long after the treatment has finished.  Not something to be repeated if it can be avoided but then who would choose to do this if you didn't have cancer?

24 February 2017: Herceptin infusion treatment (14 treatments): The last step of the process is a year of regular Herceptin infusions, spaced 21 days apart. I’ve only got 5 treatments to go Yeah!!!. The infusions are fine as they only take 75 minutes, but the recovery is debilitating. You feel exhausted, nauseas and generally crap for the first two weeks, by the third week you’re starting to feel human again and then it’s time to do it all over again.

10 October 2017: Check-up to assess surgery and wound healing: I have an appointment to see the surgeon who is going to look over the reconstruction and mastectomy wound site and make sure it all looks okay and there’s nothing unusual going on. If she’s unhappy or there are issues I will have to head back in for surgery again. Fingers crossed it’s all okay.

8 Dec 2017: Herceptin infusion treatment ends: I’m scheduled to finish my last Herceptin treatment just before Christmas.  It will be nice to have a drug free Christmas to have more than just a week where you feel a little stronger, less exhausted and more part of the real world and to look to the future.

2018: Looking to the future: After the whole cancer process, I am hopeful that 2018 will be filled with lots of energy and new experiences.  I will be returning to work but that is only to help finance all our plans of things we want to achieve over the next 2-5years because we do have a future and we are going to enjoy it.

Lisa Morrissey Since her diagnosis, Lisa Morrissey has been through surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and now Herceptin treatments.