Running along a beach in Queensland with her sister, 42 year-old Meredith had to slow down because of the pain she was feeling from a lump in her breast. She had noticed the lump previously but hadn’t for a moment thought it might be breast cancer.
“There was no history of breast cancer in my family,” she says. “I had a scan in Queensland and it suggested I have more follow up tests when I got back to Melbourne, where I was diagnosed with a very aggressive type of breast cancer.”
A recent separation meant she was facing diagnosis and treatment as a single mother. Treatment was immediate and urgent, with surgery to remove the tumor followed by a course of chemotherapy four weeks later once Meredith had recovered from the surgery. Radiotherapy followed.
Meredith believes the ONJ Cancer Centre wellness programs, mainly art therapy helped her to understand and come to terms with her harrowing experience.
“The impact for me has been amazing. I was able to use it as a way to meditate, to clear my mind of the thoughts running around about the cancer coming back and where do I go from here. It was good to put my emotions into something other than words.”
Being susceptible to depression, Meredith believed art therapy also helped her keep her mental health in a positive state during her diagnosis and treatment,
“Art therapy gave me a chance to do something for myself – not for the kids, nor because a doctor told me to, but for me,” says Meredith. “It allowed me to talk about my experience, to process it and to reflect on what was the longest six months of my life.”
Art therapy is only made possible by our incredible Dry July’ers! We are deeply grateful for the difference you make to patients and their families.