Te Mana Hauora O Te Tairawhiti
13 July 2016
A very special gathering was held in the medical day ward last month. It was to acknowledge a retired staff member who has been spending a lot of time with us in the last three and a half years pat. Pat Bennett has received 88 IV chemotherapy treatments and was now moving on to tablets. During the time she has been receiving treatment Pat and her infectious positivity has had an extremely positive effect on the people around her. This includes both staff and other people who are receiving treatment for cancer. This was evidenced by the large number of people who gathered to acknowledge her journey.
Many people who spoke mentioned Pat has been an inspiration for all. Much of her positivity has been spread at the Social Craft Support Group that was set up as a gathering for people who were having cancer treatment. When Pat joined were only three regulars now there are 18 people for whom the gathering each fortnight is a ‘don’t miss’.
In true Pat style she was humble about the effect she has had on those around her. “All the hugs I get are an enormous privilege. I have met some wonderful people on this journey who are who are truly inspirational. A big part of the craft group is checking in how people are feeling. For some it can be about dealing with losing their hair, for others coping with the treatments. Together we pick each other up when we are down. We have a laugh and we all go away smiling.”
Pat was a Registered Obstetric Nurse who retired in June 2010 after 45 years nursing. Since 1997 Pat had worked with Obstetrician Dr Diane van der Mark. Diane had loved working with Pat; “she is always so professional and a real fighter. In October 2009, I came to work and someone was missing. Pat was not there. It turned out she had needed four coronary arteries replaced. This was done and four weeks later she was back at work.”
My sister had an appointment with Dianne in September 2012, says Pat. “Diane asked ‘how is Pat’? My sister who had been a bit worried about me said that I had lost weight and I was having a lot of tummy pain. After hearing about this Diane asked me to come in for an urgent scan.”
“I went in to see Diane a couple of days later with not even an inkling of what was to come. However, I took one look at Diane’s face and reality flooded in. I had grade 4 cancer – and an estimated 12 months left.”
“I shouldn’t be standing here today – I should be a box of ashes. But here I am three and half a years later. I am sure that staying positive and being surrounded by good people is a big reason why.”
“Medicine can do what it can do but the body can still reject it.”