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Responding to my diagnosis while living in remote outback South Australia

junita55junita55 Member Posts: 6
edited February 2018 in Newly diagnosed
Just over 4 weeks ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am off to have surgery next week so I am trying to get my head around it all. I live in the remote outback town of Andamooka. My hubby has bipolar and will not cope going to the city so he will be staying home.  I will be almost 700kms from home. There is a plane that flys out of Olympic Dam but I will not always be able to catch it. It is mainly for BHP staff and they only have a few community places. So what I want to know is has anyone accessed Angel flight?  I realise it is early days but trying to work things out. 


  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 3,373
    hi @junita55
    sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer... 
    Do you not get priority with the flights because of your treatment needs? 

    https//www.angelflight.org.au/AboutUs/FAQ I have not used Angel flight but have recently given the link to someone else. 

  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 3,373
    Do you have a breast care Nurse? https//www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au/OurMission/OurNurses/FindANurse.aspx

    https//www.bcna.org.au/resources/  Do you have a My journey Kit? 

  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,407
    edited January 2018
    My Doctor absolutely refused to approve a flight for me when my husband couldn't come. Iptaas were very strict about it. Apparently not being able to do the trip on your own as psychologically unable to  wasn't covered. But they paid me the same as if I drove so at least it was covered. (I'm in Broken Hill 500k from my surgeon at the Royal Adelaide ) I hope Angel flight will be helpful as it seems this is what it was set up for. Kath x

    The RAH has 2 breast care nurses attached to the womens unit and will put you in touch with your nearest McGrath nurse if that's where you are going. My surgery was done at Queen Liz due to the perculiar system in SA even though surgeon is at RAH, but they visited me there and they organised a post op bra fitting whilst in hospital so it's advisable to have money or a way to do electronic payments.
  • junita55junita55 Member Posts: 6
    Thank you. Yes I have a breast care nurse actually have two I can contact. Judy in RAH who did a bra fitting my last trip and Judith at Port Augusta who I can chat with by phone. Both have been very helpful. I have the journey kit that is where I saw the Angel Flight. I am also having surgery next week at Queen Elizabeth and I'm now booked in to Flinders Lodge. Judy has organised a lift from Flinders and back for me. I have been lucky enough so far to be able to get a flight out and back with Alliance airlines this trip and I have already had to go to Adelaide 3 times so far and I was able to fly except for one time when the flights were booked. Hubby drove me to Port Augusta nearly 300 kms away where we stayed the night and I was lucky I got a lift from the fellow that ran the motel we stayed at. I put in PATS form just before Christmas for the Air flights. They say it takes awhile to be reimbursed. My family are in Victoria so I am glad I was directed to this group by the book in the kit. I didn't start reading it till today wanted to get thru Christmas and New year without thinking about it too much.  Cheers Junita  from Andamooka.  
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,938
    Good luck to you @junita55 .  Sounds like you were diagnosed at the same time as me but so much harder for you being so far away. I believe that Cancer Council accommodation are good as a family member had to use them a lot a couple of years ago.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,407
    My favourite place is Greenhill lodge. Hope all goes well and fingers crossed with angel flights. Is your surgeon Dr Kollias? He is very good at trying to coordinate care to minimise the travel. The trickiest bit is surgery...pre op one week before and follow up 10 days later. I went home in between because of my kids. The hospital can organise a District Nurse to visit you at Flinders if needed for drains plus Judy might even pop out. You can call them or email them with any queries. Fantastic nurses. 
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 2,408
    I knew absolutely nothing about breast cancer when I got it and I devoured the journey kit in a couple of days. A breath of fresh air it was and I learned my cancer was treatable and no I wasn't going to wither up and die in a few months. Keep that McGrath nurse working for you. They are the ones who arrange stuff when you are feeling under the weather.

  • Beryl C.Beryl C. Member Posts: 270
    Hello Junita55 - I agree with Brenda5 - keep that McGrath nurse working for you particularly if you feel exhausted, overwhelmed, tired or unwell.
    My heart goes out to you - I have lived in 'the bush' but now live in the city just a five minute drive from the hospital and treatment centre. I know 'bush folk' are resilient but use whoever and whatever you can to ease the stress and exhaustion that can pop up and 'bite you on the bum' at the most unexpected times. I learned that its ok to let others fight for you.

  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,938
    @junita55 Just wondering how you are going?  It's such a long trip from Andamooka to Adelaide.
  • junita55junita55 Member Posts: 6
    Hi Sister 
    I am doing okay have had surgery they took out 35mm cancer tumour and two Lymph nodes. I was impressed with the surgical team all women bar one fellow. It was a real girl power feel.
    I have been home recouping and got all Bar one of the stitches out today by the local RFDS nurse. 
    Off to Adelaide again 20th of this month to see Radioligist and find out when I start radiation therapy. I will try to stay at Flinders Lodge over the time I have that done. The worst thing to happen is I got a tooth ache and abscess so had to have antibiotics and heading to Port Augusta next week to get the tooth out. That has hurt more than the surgery. 
    I think when I get to Chemo that will be the hardest for the distance. I'm also going broke with the back and forwards air flights. PATS does help a bit but there are always lots of extra costs. 
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,938
    It's hard enough having treatments - much worse when you're so far away. 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,407
    My personal favourite was Greenhill lodge. Just further up on same road is a preferred dentist for medibank private if you have that. Do speak with social worker at the lodge if you can as sometimes there are funds for people with additional expenses. Greenhill is my fav. As I found the kitchen facilities much easier to access and the rooms although a bit dated are bigger with a full size fridge. They even have a big family room if there for a while . Kath x
  • SoldierCrabSoldierCrab Bathurst NSW Member Posts: 3,373
    Keep us updated please @junita55 all the best with your results on the 20th. 
  • onemargieonemargie queenslandMember Posts: 1,261
    I’ve sent you a PM. Margie x
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