Moama resident Robyn Graham beat breast cancer in 2017. Receiving a clean bill of health meant she was able to go back to enjoying spending time with her family and ten grandchildren.
In January 2020 Robyn started experiencing overwhelming fatigue. She recalls visiting Funfields Waterpark with her daughter and grandkids and feeling so exhausted that she could barely even make it up the path to the front entrance. Just a few days later Robyn collapsed at a nail salon. She underwent a series of blood tests that revealed she had a blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia.
Robyn started having chemotherapy on the ward at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne in early February 2020 and has only been home for twelve days over the past 4 months. She credits the staff at St Vincent’s as being instrumental in helping her to cope.
‘The staff are really supportive. They have made me feel so safe and secure. The teams and doctors keep a really close eye on you which is very reassuring,’ Robyn recalls.
Going through cancer for a second time has had a significant impact not only on Robyn but also on her family. She is incredibly grateful to have their love and support.
‘They’ve rallied, it’s been incredible. They just keep saying we’re all here for you and it’s not your time,’ Robyn said.
Robyn and her husband are raising one of their grandsons. Eleven year old Boyd has undertaken a bit of a cancer research project to cope.
‘He’s a very clever little boy. Doing research helps him to gain a better understanding. He keeps reminding me, ‘Nan, we’re going to get through this’,’ Robyn said.
Not only have Robyn’s family provided moral and emotional support, but luckily her brother is a perfect match to enable Robyn to have a bone marrow transplant.
Robyn remains optimistic about the future. ‘‘It’s been a bit of a tough road but the outcome looks promising.
‘For me, it’s important to take one day at a time. I do have bad days when I have a bit of a cry, but the majority of the time I manage to stay really positive. Going through this experience makes you realise just how precious time and life is.
‘The chemo was rough but the hard yards are done. I believe I can fight this,’ Robyn said.
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Image: Left to right – St Vincent’s Registered Nurse, Sheena, Robyn and St Vincent’s Associate Nurse Manager, Nathan.