Patients experiences

Patients who have been through the prehabilitation journey have been kind enough to share their stories and experiences.

Patient experiences

  • “The whole Prehab program has been outstanding, and clearly a critical part of my recovery, perhaps the most critical outside of or in parallel with the medical treatment” Brenda 65yo lady, SCT Oct 2018
  • 'Wrapt' with PMCC services and the quality of the care I received – Anthony, 66 yo man, Oesophagectomy Oct 2018
  • In regards to surgery school yesterday, thank you for including us. I found the information provided very beneficial, and it was delivered at a pace which was very easy to understand. Both my parents were initially not going to attend, as their English is limited, but my mother did admit, she understood a fair bit. She now understands what is expected of my dad before and after surgery, so she can now influence his actions, as he can be a little stubborn. Thanks again, - June 2019
  • Prehab is great, you do not realise how much it helps you to be a reasonable fitness. Prehab helped me get to have my surgery as it made me fit enough to have it; I think it also helped me survive my surgery. I hope that Prehab will continue to help others going through this horrible disease.  Barbara 74yo female, Oesophagectomy July 2019.

Barry’s story:

Barry was 76 years old, Barry was also a very sick man.

He had a heart condition requiring a pacemaker. He was on multiple medications for long term health conditions and he got breathless whenever he tried to do activities. He was struggling to carry on with daily living.

A few years prior, Barry had lost his sister to bowel cancer, and so, when one day his surgeon said, “Barry, you have bowel cancer, and you will need an operation” he initially felt very overwhelmed and found it difficult to cope.

His anaesthetic team felt that he had a high risk of complications and was even at risk of not surviving this surgery.

Fortunately his surgeon and anaesthetist also told him about the prehabilitation program at Peter Mac and recommended that he tried to get in the best physical and mental condition prior to surgery. With some counselling by his anaesthetist, he decided to take control of his destiny and follow the advice of his prehabilitation team.

He had an exercise physiologist and nutritionist helping him at every step. Barry invested in an exercise bike. He worked hard over a few weeks to gradually build up his heart and lung reserves so his body and mind could cope with the stress of the surgery.

His anaesthetic team made frequent assessments of how his heart was coping and further changes were made to his heart medications during this period.

When he had his second exercise test after 6 weeks of prehabilitation, his anaesthetist was very happy to recommend that surgery should go ahead.

All Barry’s hard work paid off: He had a good recovery after surgery and was walking, drinking, eating and sleeping well within days of having his major operation. He was quickly able to commence his rehabilitation program because his body was familiar with the exercise regime. Most importantly, he avoided developing lung and heart complications.

Following discharge home, he was back on his exercise bike and was able to quickly resume his normal activities.

Barry felt so energised and motivated by his prehabilitation program that he felt he could now achieve anything that he put his mind to: he enrolled at Deakin University and completed his Master’s Degree, something he had always wanted to do.

In the ensuing years, his team at Peter Mac followed Barry’s progress. The 5-year mark flew past without his cancer returning.

Barry thinks that his prehabilitation program triggered him to change his lifestyle before surgery and changed him for the better and for good!