Teresa’s Sarcoma Story

How the Survive & Thrive Cancer Navigation Package was a crucial step for Teresa:

1. Teresa – Metastatic Alveolar Rhabydomyosarcoma – Head & Neck – Brisbane – 7 March 2019

Hi my name is Teresa and I am 47 years old.  In August 2018 my life turned upside down.  I was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in my face and neck.  All up I had 4 tumours and the cancer was aggressive.  After getting scans in Australia, my doctors discussed with me their opinions about my cancer.  They said my cancer was only found in children and there is no recorded case found in an Adult in Australia.  I was curious to see what treatment offer they had because for the last 5 years I have formed a close relationship with Grace & Pip due them helping my husband Mark.

Mark’s story is also in the testimonial pages, he had – recurrent breast cancer with lung mets.  It’s been 5 years since we have signed up for the Cancer Navigation Package and with Grace’s unbelievable guidance, knowledge & contacts overseas, Mark is very fit and well.  So while listening to the doctors about my cancer I had Grace already in mind.  My treatment plan here in Australia was frightening.  With no medical data for my cancer in Adults, they suggested to do 18 months of 4 different types of Chemos with radium as well.  The side effects would be horrendous.  They told me I would have to have jaw reconstruction, nerve damage, loss of sight in my right eye and teeth falling out.  My quality of life also would have been greatly affected.  I knew with what they had to offer it was nothing compared to the success I have already seen with my husband Mark’s treatment.

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So after all the scans were completed and I received the prognosis from the hospital I contacted Grace immediately.  As usual Grace jumped into action to contact her specialists overseas for the best available treatment for this rare cancer.  Within a week we were flying to Asia for precise targeted treatment.  The care we received was absolutely outstanding.  I was overseas for 4 months and upon receiving my last PET Scan results, it was totally clear of cancer.  This was a miracle.  I can also say I am back in Australia with minimal side effects and able to return to work next week.

None of this would have been possible without the Navigation Package.  The Navigation package comes with so much more.  The personalised treatment options available with this package is limitless.  The lengths that Grace & Pip go to is so extensive and they never give up.  They are truly caring, motivated people with your best interest at heart.  When I thought I would not be here after my cancer diagnosis, they gave me life.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Dudley & Sue describe how the Cancer Navigation Service was a life-saver for two family members – daughter-in-law Teresa and son Mark – 13th of March 2019

About Teresa & Mark:

Though, very thankfully, neither Sue or I have ever had cancer, we have lost numerous members of our immediate families to this insidious, deadly and frightening disease.

Both my sister Peggy and a much-loved cousin Wendy lost the battles with ovarian cancer. My wife’s mother was taken before her time with the very same disease, and her father with pancreatic cancer.

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Her cousin Brian died from a blood cancer and my brother has recently got a clearance from his doctor after his treatment for prostate cancer, as has his wife from breast cancer.

A bit more than 12 years ago our son Mark developed breast cancer, and after surgery, while having chemo, he met a girl called Teresa, who was also having chemo for the same disease. Subsequently they became a couple. In 2014 Mark’s cancer had metastasised to his lungs. Teresa, in her diligent search for answers, discovered the Grace Gawler Institute. Grace Gawler and Pip Cornall provide a specialised service, the Cancer Navigation Package, to help patients access cancer treatments overseas that are not available here. We are very thankful that she did.

It turned out to be quite a large group of cancer sufferers, their supporters, partners, husbands and wives, and in our case both Sue and I who travelled with Mark and Teresa to a specialised cancer hospital in Germany. All of us were guided through the overnight stop at Singapore by Grace and Pip from the Grace Gawler Institute who had everything organised, to make the trip as comfortable and fast as possible.

Mark’s treatments were far beyond anything available in Australia at the time or even now, and we were very happy with the results. Mark has since been to Japan for follow-up treatments. The Japanese have surpassed the type of treatment Mark had in Germany.

Consequently, when Teresa was diagnosed with a very aggressive alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma last year, (2018) she immediately contacted Grace who set things in motion with her usual speed and precision. Within a week Teresa and Mark were flying to Japan. A bit more than four months were spent there, and although exhausted from the treatments, the results speak for themselves. Teresa’s last scans showed she was clear of cancer.

We cannot express in words just how thankful we are for the wonderful efforts of Grace and Pip and their Cancer Navigation Service.