Margy Harper

Margy Harper on trust and taking control

Margy Harper was fit and feeling healthy. She trained at the gym daily, sometimes twice a day. Exercise was as important to her as her teaching career. But this routine changed dramatically for the Hervey Bay local when she found a lump in her breast in June 2014.

Not only did the gym and her job take a backseat, but she also had to travel a three hour round-trip to access a breast cancer clinic in Bundaberg. This is where she was referred to Brisbane Icon Cancer Care oncologist, Paul Mainwaring. When Margy met her oncologist he spoke about her breast cancer, told her he was involved in research and clinical trials, and there was a particular trial which seemed to suit her circumstances.

Margy had to think seriously about relocation and whether or not she wanted to be part of the trial. She says, “at the outset, my prognosis was that I had a very fast growing breast cancer. I considered what treatment would be available to me if I stayed regional”.

When Margy read through the paperwork, she learnt that it was an international clinical trial. “I knew it was cutting edge treatment. It was the trust in my team and Dr Mainwaring’s expertise that convinced me to participate in the trial.” These are the considerations that Margy thinks other potential trial patients should think about.

When Margy understood the enormity of what needed to be done she decided to relocate to Brisbane for the treatment. That is where her journey with the Icon Cancer Foundation began.

Margy’s husband needed to take care of their business in Hervey Bay, so she went to Brisbane by herself. Away from her husband and her home, Margy relied heavily on the Icon Cancer Foundation team. Margy shares, “I think part of the reason I chose to relocate was that I wanted a first class specialist team. Of course there was a personal sacrifice not having family around me when I needed them. But my mind was constantly put at ease by the team because my questions were immediately addressed in a really human way. I never felt like I was asking a silly question. They were very understanding and sympathetic and I followed all advice to the letter.”