Carolyn Cross is the sort of genuinely compassionate person that you’d want on your side after a diagnosis of breast cancer.
And Macksville is the luckier for having her as their new McGrath Breast Care Nurse.
Carolyn, however, says she feels like the lucky one.
“It’s a privilege to work with people in the worst part of their lives and help them find a way through it. Who else gets to do that?” Carolyn said.
Carolyn was appointed in January this year, and is based at Macksville Community Health.
Carolyn wears many hats in the role but, in a nutshell, she empathically guides women and their families through the maze of available treatment options and aftercare procedures.
“It’s not just about a diagnosis, I take a holistic approach,” Carolyn said.
At present the position is part-time and Carolyn spends the other half of her time in the Cancer Institute in Coffs Harbour.
But Carolyn is constantly developing the role to cover a wider network of support options, and is passionate about turning it into a full-time job.
“I’ve got so many ideas. The role will be bigger than Ben-Hur in no time,” Carolyn said.
After only six months Carolyn says she already feels a special connection to Macksville.
“The community groups in the area are just so wonderful, everyone in Macksville is so passionate about helping one another out,” Carolyn said.
One of Carolyn’s achievements, the acquisition of an L-Dex machine which screens post-op mastectomy patients for lymphoedema, she says is testament to the strength of community spirit.
The machine was bought with funds raised through the Macksville Lions and Ex-Services Clubs.
Prior to its arrival, patients were expected to travel to Coffs Harbour for the test which Carolyn says only takes 20 minutes.
She counts among her other successes the facilitation of a bus service from Nambucca Heads to Bowraville for the Breast Screen bus visits which brings women from the Djangadi and Gumbaynggirr tribes together for a relaxed day of barbecues, and yarns about breast awareness.
Carolyn has also been working to bring an Encore heated pool therapy program to the Macksville pools, which will start in early October.
In future she hopes to implement the McGrath foundation’s Curve Lurve program which educates high school girls on breast care awareness.
She facilitates a breast care support meeting on the first Monday of every month from 10am to 12pm at the Cancer Resource Centre in the Macksville Hospital.
Carolyn is in Macksville most Mondays and Wednesdays, and every second Tuesday, and welcomes referrals from any person or their families who have experienced breast cancer.
To contact Carolyn Cross, please call (02) 6568-0697 or 0438 771-296.