Louise Henricksen is thrilled to be the first cancer patient to be accepted at the new cancer centre opening in Bundaberg as she will no longer need to travel to Brisbane to receive treatment.
Louise Henricksen is thrilled to be the first cancer patient to be accepted at the new cancer centre opening in Bundaberg as she will no longer need to travel to Brisbane to receive treatment. Zach Hogg

Cancer patient thrilled to no longer travel for treatment

DESPITE the uncertainty that awaits Louise Henricksen as she arrives at the Friendly Society Private Hospital for her next round of chemotherapy today, there is one feeling she is certain of - and that is relief.

Relief in knowing that her battle with breast cancer will be fought alongside her every step of the way by her family and friends, in the comfort of her home town, now that she is the first patient to be referred to the $12 million Integrated Cancer Centre, which is set to open its doors in October.

Mrs Henricksen, a mum of four children aged 10, 15, 20, 22, was diagnosed with breast cancer just days before Easter this year.

"I found a lump that was getting sore to touch," she said.

"I thought it would go away - I've had a mammogram every two years."

But another mammogram and biopsy later confirmed the lump was cancerous.

"You don't think of yourself - you think, 'this is inconvenient, I don't have time for this'," she said.

"As a mum, you don't think, 'poor me'.

"Your natural instinct kicks in that you're going to win and beat this."

After having a mastectomy in Brisbane, Mrs Henricksen began chemotherapy at the Friendlies and is now seven treatments into the total 16 required to fight off the cancer.

Then the 50-year-old will begin five weeks of radiation at the new cancer centre, which now means the busy mum will not be required to travel to Brisbane.

"It's just the getting down and back to Brisbane," she said.

Mrs Henricksen said it was the comfort of knowing she had her family around her that got her through the chemotherapy.

"There's no place like home," she said.

"If I'm feeling down or flat, the kids will come in and give me a hug.

"When I heard (the cancer centre) was coming up here, I said lots of prayers, thinking it might happen."

And when she got the call that her referral had been approved, Mrs Henricksen burst into tears.

"It was just like someone had lifted a load off me," she said.

"It was like a light had been turned on and there was light at the end of the tunnel."

Mrs Henricksen said all things going to plan, she should finish her treatments before Christmas.

"While cancer is in my life, it's not my life," she said.



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