I drew strength from the courage my daughter Sophie showed during her three years of treatment. Dr Mak wasn’t able to give me the news I wanted to hear, but she reassured me that she would be there every step of the way. She gave me hope.
It was a Monday, and speech pathologist Eva Norman was due back at work for the first time after nine months of maternity leave.
Instead, Eva was sitting in Dr Cindy Mak's office – having what she described as a “soul destroying” conversation.
Dr Mak had to tell Eva that the lump she’d noticed a few months ago wasn’t a blocked milk duct from breastfeeding like she’d thought. It was a two centimetre tumour – Eva had triple negative breast cancer.
This wasn’t the first time Eva Norman and her husband had been forced to confront cancer in their family. Their first child, Sophie, was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was a baby.
“We spent three years practically living in hospital, supporting our precious and brave baby undergo treatment,” said Eva.
Sadly, Sophie passed away in 2017, when she was just three years old.
Facing her own cancer diagnosis, Eva immediately began treatment at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
Eva had to undergo two sets of gruelling chemotherapy treatments over a six month period. Thankfully, the treatment worked - the tumour had shrunk.
Not long after, Dr Mak operated on Eva to remove what was left of her shrunken tumour.
This Christmas help us purchase the Leica surgical microscope, technology desperately needed to perform complex surgeries on patients like Eva.
Surgery to remove cancerous tissue is a mainstay treatment for breast cancer. As a breast surgeon, Dr Mak performs many surgical procedures like Eva’s alongside a highly-specialised team. They use the latest technology to give patients like Eva the very best shot at a positive outcome. As technology in surgery continues to advance, cancer surgery is becoming more precise and minimally invasive, which has significant benefits for patients.
Advanced microscopic technology is critical to minimally invasive and precise surgery. The benefits to the patient are extensive, including less time under anaesthesia, reduced recovery time, reduced risk of revision surgeries and improved surgical outcomes. The Leica microscope is not only used by my team in breast reconstruction, it can also be used in many units of the hospital, from neurosurgery to head and neck.
Having responded well to the treatment and a successful surgical procedure, Eva and her family have found hope in looking to the future, and working on enjoying some family time.
As a comprehensive cancer centre, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse provides each patient with the best individual treatment plan – whether that be chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, or, in Eva’s case, all three. As the hospital grows, it’s critical that we can continue to deliver the very best outcomes possible for our patients, and this involves acquiring the latest technology in the market.
Please give generously this Christmas to help purchase a Leica surgical microscope for our operating theatres. This advanced technology will help provide the best outcomes for patients like Eva.