Henrietta, who had led a healthy and active lifestyle, was shocked when she was diagnosed with breast cancer late last year.
Visiting He Puna Waiora Wellness Centre for an unrelenting cough, Henrietta was referred to Southland Hospital where scans and tests uncovered the illness.
She’d had routine mammograms and the results were always normal.
“I was devastated. I didn’t want to accept anything. It took a long time to come to terms with things.”
“I thought here goes I’m going to be a sick woman. That’s how I looked at it.”
Soon after Dawn Wybrow approached Henrietta and offered her assistance, which she greatly accepted.
“She was there for me all the time. She was a comfort at a time when I really needed it. She was someone I could rely on.”
It was quickly decided she was to have a mastectomy and the operation was carried out in December, ahead of another operation in February to remove the cancer nodes.
Dawn helped Henrietta navigate that process, attended appointments with her and visited often simply to talk.
Henrietta has come to terms with the diagnosis and believes that is due to the massive support from family, friends and Dawn.
“I’ve come to terms with it all now. Having the friends I’ve got and the support has been the uplift of all of this for me because I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
Having cancer has taught Henrietta not to be too complacent. You can’t have the “it won’t happen to me attitude”, because it can, she says.
Henrietta’s positive outlook on life has returned and she’s looking forward to the future and spending plenty of time with her grandsons.
“Every day is a bonus.”
Dawn is continuing to assist Henrietta as she heads into her third session of chemotherapy in two weeks.
“Thank you Dawn for being there and for the compassion.”