Oncology massage is a specialised and medically orientated gentle massage therapy which is available to all patients at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre (ONJ Centre), thanks in part to ongoing support from Dry July.
“It’s the only treatment that can give me relief,” says patient Bev Douglas. Bev is talking about the specialist oncology massage she receives at the Wellness Centre from oncology massage therapist Bronwyn Hogan.
After being diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2017, Bev underwent multiple and extensive surgeries on her mouth and jaw, landing her in the intensive care unit for ten days and a further five-week stay in hospital. Radiation therapy followed. Bev now lives with chronic pain in her shoulders and neck which radiates up into her head.
“I get to the point where my neck feels like it’s wrapped up with barbed wire,” says Bev. “Bronwyn knows exactly what to do, she has amazing hands and such a gentle touch. It’s a life-saver for me and incredibly beneficial to my quality of life.”
Bronwyn describes her observations of Bev, ongoing from when she first met her over a year ago.
“Bev’s pain can be so severe it impacts her ability to swallow food, it causes headaches and restricts her head and shoulder range of motion,” says Bronwyn. “The result is that Bev cannot enjoy or undertake many aspects of life that she previously considered essential to her wellbeing and quality of life.”
Bev is adamant that her recovery and wellbeing are greatly aided by regular gentle and specialised oncology massage and there are times when she is completely pain-free in her neck and shoulders.
“The massage takes away all the pain up the back of my neck and I am able to be virtually pain-free for the next two or three days afterwards,” she says. “I’ve also had lymphoedema (swelling often caused by lymph node removal due to cancer treatment) which has now cleared and Bronwyn has shown me how I can massage the area myself for relief.”
Bronwyn is deeply grateful to Dry July for their support.
“This very special funding from Dry July helps enable patients like Bev and others with varying degrees of physical, mental and emotional suffering, to find their way back to a better quality of life via a massage-supported recovery.”
Dry July is a fundraiser where participants give up alcohol for the month of July and ask their family and friends to sponsor them, raising funds helping improve the comfort and well-being of people with cancer.
Anybody – staff, patients, families, friends - can sign up here: https://www.dryjuly.com/onj
With only 3 weeks to go until July 1, now is the time to do yourself a favour, sign up and help support programs like oncology massage.