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Nicola's Story

 When serious illness strikes

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Having support how and when you need it can make all the difference to getting through and beyond it. Young mum Nicola, recently 
diagnosed with breast cancer shared her Plunket story of what that meant to her.

In March this year Nicola received the devastating news that she had breast cancer, that she’d be undergoing a partial mastectomy the following week, and that she’d have to wean her happily breastfeeding baby, five-month old Sidney, before the operation.

“Incidentally, on the morning of my appointment I’d taken Sidney to Plunket for his five-month checkup, and mentioned to the nurse that I was going for tests,” says Nicola.

“That afternoon I rang her with the news of my diagnosis, and received the most amazing response.”

“She immediately understood my needs as a breastfeeding mother, and the challenges of weaning while also taking care of my 2 ½ year-old daughter, Georga. She was hugely empathetic while thoroughly practical, and immediately consulted her colleagues on how she could help us.”

Four days later Nicola attended a Plunket-organised appointment with a lactation consultant, who advised on the best approach to weaning Sidney. The day before surgery – to Nicola’s huge relief – he took his first drink from a bottle. Plunket’s help didn’t stop there. A few days after Nicola’s surgery the Plunket nurse arranged a referral to parent support agency Parent Aid, through which Nicola received “fabulous” help with childcare and housework.

Today she’s feeling better and relishing every moment with her children, because the next step is 18 weeks of chemotherapy. “With all the support around us, I’m feeling confident that I’ll manage OK,” she says. “I just want to say thanks to Plunket; it’s been a really positive experience.”

And thank you to our supporters too – without your help, parents like Nicola wouldn’t have access to all the options of support that we can currently offer.

 

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If you would like to share a story contact stories@plunket.org.nz  

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