The Hibiscus Coast Breast Friends meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, 10am until 12 noon at the Red Beach Methodist Church, Whangaparaoa. For more information, contact Barbara ph (09) 422 9045 or call us on 0800 BreaCanSupport (0800 273 222). New members are always welcome.
Latest News: Christmas Lunch at the Sand Trap
A visit from Naturalwear
Christmas Lunch at the Sand Trap
The Hibiscus Coast Breast Friends look forward to their annual Christmas Luncheon and over the years have lunched at many locations from Puhoi to Albany. This year it was time to visit the Gulf Harbour Golf Course and Country Club to enjoy a social time, good conversation and plenty of laughter.
The café staff had arranged a long table with Christmas decorations and fifteen Breast Friends settled themselves down to enjoy a great choice of items from an excellent menu.
Lunch was delicious with a good choice of items from salads and BLTs to quiches and bacon and egg pie with salad, enjoyed with a glass of wine or soft drink on the side.
No Christmas lunch is complete without a visit from Santa and this year, Santa sent along his helpers Barbara, Dianne and Jane.
BCS Support Services Coordinator Jane (Bissell) is seen every Christmas with her special friend, The Christmas Duck, who accompanies her as the gifts are given out to the ladies.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their lunch and plans were made for an informal morning tea in January. The formal schedule of meetings for 2012 will begin in February.
The Hibiscus Coast Breast Friends wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
A visit from Naturalwear
This report from Group Coordinator Barbara McLean
We had a small but enthusiastic group in October, in spite of the school holidays and the nasty squally weather. Sue Doig from Naturalwear came to give a demonstration of their range of swimwear, undergarments and prostheses.
After a discussion regarding possible venues for our Christmas Lunch next month, we were left with a little time while Sue set up for her presentation, so we went around the group saying how we were doing. This sparked a very interesting discussion regarding free mammograms in the public system after the patient has been discharged from hospital care at the end of five years. As one lady found out recently after going privately, the patient is still entitled to free mammograms, but instead of booking through the hospital system after she has been discharged from their care, she needs to ask her GP to send a referral to the hospital, and allow about four months for the appointment to come through. Another lady was in fact told by a health professional in the private sector that free mammograms stop after the five years in the public system, so it would appear that there is some confusion even among health professionals regarding this slightly murky funding entitlement issue.
Sue Doig gave an excellent presentation of her range of prostheses, bras and swimwear, explaining how they are worn, showing us the difference between a full prosthesis and a partial, the different weights, textures and backings, and different ways they can be worn, as well as which ones work best for certain areas, issues and body types. She also talked about the range of nipples available if required.
She spoke about her range of bras and how best to fit them, which ones work best for certain activities and body types, and how important it its to get the straps pulled up firmly to avoid back and neck issues in the future. With the swimwear she talked about necklines, and how flattering a crossover can be even on women who think they wouldn't dare any more, even if it takes a small stitch to hold the crossed over neckline from gaping. She also showed us a swimwear prosthesis, and explained how a swimsuit with built-in cups can sometimes be easier to wear and more natural-looking than a prosthesis in a swimsuit with the camisole-type bra, as the prostheses tend to drift south a bit without anything firm to hold them in place.
It was an excellent demonstration, and I am sure everyone in the room learned a lot from it. Although the talk had gone over time somewhat, several of us stayed behind to look at the products more closely and exchange opinions on them.
Breast Friends groups offer forums for discussion
The Hibiscus Coast Breast Friends have always enjoyed good discussions in their meetings and August was no exception. Sometimes the topics relate to treatments for breast cancer, side effects, both immediate and long-term, and alternative/complementary therapies are also up for discussion. Many women have tried complementary therapies such as Reiki, Yoga, meditation and some have changed their diet too, after a breast cancer diagnosis and the sharing of experiences and outcomes is always beneficial and of great interest to the whole group.
Whilst BCS does not offer medical advice or endorse any alternative or complementary treatment plans, the Breast Friends groups do offer a forum for open and honest discussion by participants.
This month the Hibiscus Coast group discussed a new alternative treatment one of the Members had started and the theory that cancer can occur when digestion is impaired. This led to a spirited discussion on various aspects of the digestive process.
The group talked over options for a speaker in September and the Naturalwear representative who is booked to speak in October meeting prompted a discussion of bras and prostheses.
So much to say and the meeting ran well over time! Small groups were still chatting in the sun in the carpark until nearly 1pm!
Talking about medical matters ...
This report from Group Coordinator Barbara McLean
We had a low-key meeting this month (July) many of the group were unable to attend due to school holidays, but 12 of us braved the winter chill!
Dianne opened the meeting with apologies, birthdays for the month, and a joke that lightened things up. Then she gave a brief talk about the BCS AGM, in particular the talk by Mr. Wayne Jones on the latest in breast surgery and reconstruction.
The rest of the meeting followed this lead as we talked about new treatments, in particular one member of the group had advised us of a treatment she is about to start, GcMAF, which seems to have hugely exciting possibilities, so we will be following her progress with interest over the next few months. (Please note that BCS does not endorse or give advice on any conventional or alternative cancer treatments; our Breast Friends Groups serve only as a Forum for discussion about such treatments. Always discuss your treatment plan with your medical team first).
From there the discussion ranged over a gamut of health issues, from aromatase inhibitors and their side effects through alternative medications to Lipex, and on to Lymphoedema and the lack of therapists in the Waitemata Health Board area.
The highlight of the discussion was when Juliet announced that the Orewa Rotary have made funds available for testing for the BRCA gene in families with a history of breast cancer. Great stuff, especially as one new lady had been thinking of being tested due to her family history.
This led to a brief discussion about speakers for the next few meetings,and it was decided to ask Claire back to talk on diet as her talk had gone down so well, also Fiona Dalziel to talk about Pink Pilates again due to the Lynmphoedema issue and Sue from Naturalwear is hopefully going to talk to our October meeting.
As the meeting was finishing up, one of our newest ladies brought out a decorated moulding of a bust that was quite stunning, and had us all fascinated. She has offered to show us how it is done, so the next few months look like being a string of busy and stimulating meetings.
New members are always welcome!
Mid-Winter Lunch at the RSA
This June report from Group Coordinator Barbara McLean
Hibiscus Coast Members enjoyed their Mid-Winter Lunch (in June) at the Whangaparaoa RSA.
19 ladies attended, including two new Members and everyone enjoyed a very reasonably priced menu and the food - and the company! - was excellent.
Jane Bissell (BCS Support Services Coordinator) joined us, gave us a brief rundown of what BCS is currently achieving and also spoke about her two books which she continues to sell to raise funds for Sweet Louise.
On arriving, Dianne had pinned a piece of paper on everyone's back, and after our meal we each got our neighbour to turn our piece of paper around and re-pin it, then give us a clue as to the word written on the piece of paper. We then had to go around the group trying to find who had a word which went with the word on our back! Everyone had a lot of fun trying to find their partner.
At the end of the meeting we gathered together for a few photographs, kindly taken by one of the waitresses, before it was time to leave.
It was a fun get together and was much enjoyed by everyone.
Nutrition Therapist Claire Harper Wilson visits in May
We had a good turnout for this month's meeting on Wednesday - seventeen of us , plus Lyn Mourant the Cancer Society liason nurse. Two new ladies joined us for the first time, out of a total of six new contacts for the month.
After half an hour for a cup of tea and a general meet and greet, the meeting opened with the reading of the poem "Get your Mammies Grammed" which gave us all a laugh to set the mood. We had a brief discussion of possible venues for our June mid-winter luncheon, then went on to discuss various medications. While the discussion started on the topic of Letrizole which one of the new ladies was taking, it soon moved off onto other medications required to counter the side effects, such as Fosomax and Lipex, and then the complications these can cause and and the further supplements required to counter them, such as Co-enzyme Q10. The discussion grew quite lively, and was only brought to an end by the arrival of our speaker.
Claire Harper Wilson is a nutritional therapist (visit the Nutrition Therapy website here), who gave a very relaxed but fascinating talk on the subject of detoxing and optimising digestion, including the best timing and techniques to stay well hydrated, and how to keep the body's pH in balance. Her advice on food combining and tips for easy ways to manage this were fascinating, so we were all very grateful when she offered to e-mail out to us all an outline of her talk and some recipes to help us on the path to optimum nutrition. As several of our new contacts were disappointed at not being able to make the meeting to hear her for themselves, this was a way of helping them share in the information too. We were all delighted when she offered to come back to talk to us again later in the year.
It was a lively meeting, and everyone seemed to have an enjoyable morning.
Chair Deirdre Parr talks about BCS ...
This April report from Group Coordinator Barbara McLean
Our guest speaker this month was Deirdre Parr, Chair of BCS. Deirdre explained to the group the differences between some of the various Breast Cancer organisations, then went on to give a talk about BCS. She explained how BCS came about and evolved into the organisation we are familiar with today, then went on to talk about some of the initiatives they are currently involved in getting off the ground.
The subject of BCS membership came up, and a general discussion took place regarding the possibility of payment online for membership subscriptions. Several of the ladies signed up on the spot, which was very encouraging,and it was decided to send out a general e-mail with subscription form attached to all the group offering everyone the chance to become a member if they wish. Deidre ended her talk by suggesting she would like to come back to another meeting later in the year when attendance will not be affected by school holidays
The meeting ended with a brief discussion of the item on 60 Minutes on Sunday evening regarding the BRCA2 gene and the family affected by it. Before everyone left we asked for ideas to be presented to next months meeting regarding a venue for our Mid-winter Christmas lunch
All About the Irish!
This March report from Group Coordinator Barbara McLean
Our ladies were into the St Patrick's Day spirit and wore something green - we had a lovely springy shamrock hairband, a bright green boa and a large green leprechaun hat! We began the meeting with a round of Irish jokes which everyone seemed to enjoy.
With Deirdre Parr (BCS Chair) due to attend our next meeting we discussed issues that anyone might care to raise with BCS. One lady mentioned that the North Shore Hospital Lymphoedema Therapist is retiring, and unless one was prepared to pay, there will be no lymphoedema treatment for patients from the North Shore area until a replacement is found or trained up (at least June or July, if not longer). This was of concern to everyone, and Lyn Mourant (Cancer Society Liaison Nurse) offered to find out more about what might be done in the meantime.
One of our ladies had brought along a handknitted dishcloth made from bamboo wool which she kindly donated for a free raffle. We were all fascinated to find out where she bought the wool, and that once used it could simply be rinsed clean, wrung out and baked for a short while in the microwave to sterilise, coming out as good as new.
We finished the meeting with a general catch-up with where we are with in our lives, and finished with an Irish Blessing -
"May your glass be ever full,
May the roof over your head be always strong,
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the Devil knows you are dead."
Strong fellowship on the Coast
This report from Group Coordinator Barbara McLean
In January 11 of us met for an informal morning tea at a members beautiful house at Swann Beach. It was a brilliant day, we all had a good catchup with what had been going on in our lives over the holiday period, and a photocall, which is always fun. Some of us didn't manage to tear ourselves away until early afternoon.
In February we held our first formal meeting of the year. We discussed our annual questionnaire with the group. This had already been circulated around prior to the meeting and some ladies who could not attend had already given their answers.
When asked their opinion of the leadership of the group, all present (and those who had already answered) were unanimous in their wish that Dianne and I both continue facilitating the group. Everyone was happy with the way the meetings are run, and the direction the group had been going in. The suggestion that we perhaps have more outings was discussed, with the eventual agreement that should some suitable event happen we should make an effort to arrange a group outing rather than just tell the group about the event.
The meeting ended with a round-robin discussion of what the group means to each of us individually. This lead to some interesting insights and discussions.
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