Compassion and Care – Assisting an Inspiring Person with Cancer

October 25, 2020

Total Health Physio is the trusted healthcare provider for a wonderful young lady aged 45 who is living with brain cancer.

This article shares her story and how she inspires us, she really is an angel walking among us.

Background information

The client was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and the Oncologist has indicated the prognosis isn’t a favourable one.

Whilst acknowledging this, we see such positivity in this inspiring human being. She is young, high-functioning and highly motivated to manage her health as much and as well as possible.

A woman with cancer is next to her daughter. A girl is hugging a woman happy

The initial assessment was conducted in a face to face meeting with one of our experienced Physiotherapists. The assessment included:

  • A full medical history
  • A full objective assessment
  • Social history
  • Goal setting
  • An Oswestry Disability Index questionnaire
  • Measurements of pain and fatigue

She has currently paused her chemotherapy because it was having no demonstrable impact on the size of her tumour but was causing significant negative side effects. She investigated the ways in which Total Health Physio would help.

Holding hands towards a healthy future

The client is very motivated to improve her general fitness and to obtain a good baseline level of health in readiness for any future chemotherapy she may require or other challenges she may be faced with.

When establishing goals with her, she identified a simple long-term goal:

  • To live a fit, active and meaningful life with as little pain as possible for as long as possible.

Her short-term goals were:

  • To reduce the stiffness she currently experiences
  • To reduce pain levels (and ultimately to be pain free if possible)
  • To be able to move freely

An example that encapsulated these goals was that she would like to be able to bend over and pick up her small dog and receive a nice kiss (or two) from her furry-friend. Even the smallest goals can be so meaningful.

A woman with cancer is sitting on a white sofa next to her daughter. A girl is hugging a woman. They are sitting in the lobby of a modern clinic. Around them flowerpots with flowers.

Recommendations and interventions by Total Health Physio

Our initial recommendations included an at-home exercise program created by the Physiotherapist together with our Exercise Physiologist.

We vary the intensity of the program according to the client’s pain levels, but generally the focus is on a combination of:

  • Functional rehabilitation, strength output
  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Balance exercises
  • Lower back focused exercises
  • Pilates
  • Meditation

The client has weekly supervised Physiotherapy sessions. This involves 30 minutes of exercise, rehabilitation and stretches, followed by 30 minutes of manual therapy.

NDIS Plan Review & Assistive Technology

In addition to delivering Physiotherapy support, we have been instrumental in securing additional funding for the client through a scheduled NDIS Plan Review. This was a combined team effort from the detailed Physiotherapy report as well as an extensive Occupational Therapy report with recommendations following an initial functional assessment.

A Plan review can be an opportunity to request additional funding to cover reasonable and necessary equipment or services. Our role has included preparing for the review and bringing together an intervention and recommendation report from our team. These recommendations included home exercise gym equipment such as

  • A Pilates Circle for core stabilising exercises
  • Personal weights
  • TheraBands for strength training
  • An iPad for access to the Physitrack app used for in-home exercise programs
  • A mechanical bed to assist with transfers and to provide a better night’s sleep to optimise health and wellbeing
  • Extra funding for allied health supports which have had a positive outcome for this client’s overall health and wellbeing

We believe the combination of the NDIS, our services and this woman’s wonderful engagement in life is a great combination to make a positive impact.


The client is responding well to the therapies Total Health Physio has been providing. She is highly motivated and enjoys the exercise as much as hands-on therapy.

This client likes to be challenged and motivated (with respect to varying pain thresholds) and she is happy to perform her home exercise regime herself on the days when she is not with the Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist.

Feedback and clinical reflections

We have received very positive feedback from this client; she has been very happy with the services provided by Total Health Physio. The exercise routine helps her to feel a sense of control and purpose, and being engaged with us has enabled her to stay physically active throughout the Covide-19 pandemic.

To us at Total Health Physio, this client’s situation has reiterated the importance of really listening to the client’s goals and creating a tailored, personalised rehabilitation plan.

We know that providing a holistic approach to treatment creates a positive relationship between the client and the therapist which can ultimately play a very important role in achieving positive outcomes.

This client is ticking off her goals despite her diagnosis, and we look forward to seeing her beautiful smile next time we visit.

Do you know someone who would benefit from our care?

Total Health Physio is an NDIS registered provider operating in South-East Melbourne.

  • We are a home-visiting practice
  • We offer a high quality, personalised service
  • We are great communicators and listeners
  • WE CARE!

Please use our contact page for any questions.