Travelling through treatment – how Icon is making it possible

Icon Writers / 16 May, 2023

When Bronwyn Rust-Jones was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in February last year, she was in the process of making a significant lifestyle change.

The 59-year-old had already fought the disease in 2017 and wanted to make the most of life.

“At the start of 2022, my partner Michelle and I were making a significant lifestyle change and I arranged a five-year check-up following my ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS),” says Bronwyn.

“I had noticed a dry patch on my lumpectomy scar had quickly turned into a scab that kept growing and didn’t heal.

“I thought that swimming in the pool at our caravan park, ironically training for a swim for cancer fundraiser, was the cause.

“We were in Charters Towers and were lucky enough that my appointment was with a doctor who had worked for a breast surgeon and insisted on further investigation in Townsville.

“The diagnosis was like being hit up the face with a large, wet fish – were a bit overwhelmed.

“The background was that I had resigned from my full-time job lecturing with a university and we were not active in our personal training business.

“We had decided to have an entire bush change.

“We had lined up grey nomad jobs as cooks for a contract mustering team in the Gulf at Lawn Hill Station. That job was going to be from April to November 2022.

“The pay and conditions were good and we were really excited to be doing something so different for two girls who left Tasmania in 2017.”

Bronwyn was referred to Icon Cancer Centre Townsville medical oncologist, Dr Abhishek Joshi.

“To this day we are very grateful that this occurred as the Icon team have been fantastic,” says Bronwyn.

“We continue to use Icon because of our experience during 2022 with Icon Cancer Centre Townsville and we have not been disappointed. Icon have made both of us as a family feel very welcome.”

Working closely with Dr Joshi, Bronwyn and Michelle, along with their dogs Shadow and Bonnie, were able to proceed with their travel plans.

In mid-2022, Bronwyn and Michelle hit the road to travel around Australia.

Since then, Bronwyn has continued her treatment at Icon’s South Brisbane, Canberra, Tennyson and most recently Rockingham sites.

“The Icon team in Townsville were wonderful when we explained what we wanted to do and could see no reason why it could not work and that we can always reach out if needed,” says Bronwyn.

“The support provided by Icon has been remarkable in terms of the willingness of each oncologist to spend the time to write up a referral for the next centre.

“We have really appreciated the fact that even though we may only be spending a short amount of time at each centre, the treatment has been professional, kind and inclusive.

“All Icon staff, including administrative staff and support staff have been caring, positive and helpful.

“I don’t think they will ever appreciate the difference it has made to both Michelle and I as we travel.

“We are very positive people anyway, but Icon has made us feel safe and cared for and it really does make everything so much easier.

“It means we can keep travelling and lead the life that we want to live to get out and see all of the beautiful things around us and live our life, which is important to us.

“We didn’t want to just sit in one location and settle for a patient first, explorer second approach.”

The couple are currently travelling around Western Australia, where they are looking for the perfect location to celebrate Bronwyn’s 60th birthday in February next year.

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