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In the news - Lift patient and Author Peter Goldsworthy

3rd September 2019

In Detective Sergeant Rick Zadow, Peter Goldsworthy has created a character with legs, if not eyes that see. Blinded by a gunshot to the head, Rick’s career has been cut short, but he has a rich inner life, and a self-destructive streak that takes him on a perilous, and at times hilarious, journey through the pages of his creator’s first crime novel.

The book is called Minotaur for the Greek god with a man’s body and the head and tail of a bull, who lives at the centre of the Labyrinth. At various points in Goldsworthy’s labyrinthine plot, he has sown the seeds of what might become a second adventure for Rick and his actual and virtual world of absorbing sidekicks, including guide dog Scout and digital assistant Siri. Whether that will come to pass will depend very much on the fortunes of the author.

Peter Goldsworthy says cancer is “a test of character”. Picture: Matt Turner.

Peter Goldsworthy says cancer is “a test of character”. Picture: Matt Turner.

A year ago, Goldsworthy was diagnosed with myeloma, a serious cancer of the bone marrow that affects the plasma cells. The news came at the end of what he describes as an eight-year marathon writing Minotaur. He took breaks along the way to work on another couple of projects — including the libretto of the opera Ned Kelly — as well as working, as he always has, as a GP, but it was a debilitating process.

“I’m not sure I’ve got another literary marathon in me,” he says now. “They are always exhausting, and obsessive, and a weekly, sometimes daily rollercoaster of thinking you are a genius and knowing you are an idiot.”

Goldsworthy’s diagnosis came almost by accident, after he’d booked a long-delayed operation for a knee replacement. The day before his appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon, the radiologist who had taken preliminary X-rays called him in.

“He said, ‘Yeah, you need a replacement, but look at the bone marrow, not the bone, the marrow’,” he recalls. “He thought it looked pretty funny. So I went straight down to the surgery and took some blood. I didn’t really believe him. I took the blood myself and sent it off, and three days later, sure enough, he was right. It was myeloma.”

Goldsworthy has lost two friends to the disease, so even without his medical training, he knew this was a serious cancer. One of them was the actor Paul Blackwell. A couple of months before his death last February, Blackwell and his wife went to dinner at Goldsworthy’s house. “We were comparing drugs,” he says.

Adelaide writer, poet and doctor Peter Goldsworthy. Picture: Matt Turner

Adelaide writer, poet and doctor Peter Goldsworthy. Picture: Matt Turner

With the diagnosis, life was put on hold. An end-of-year trip to Sri Lanka was cancelled, as were plans to attend the premiere of Ned Kelly at Perth Festival in February. He began the process of selling his medical practice. The literary marathon that was the writing of Minotaur had, however, not yet finished. As it turned out, the final draft was completed while the author was in the cancer ward of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, undergoing the first bout of what would be three months of chemotherapy. It was so toxic that for the first 10 days he was kept under observation in hospital. “It wouldn’t be the first novel finished on chemotherapy,” he says lightly.

Goldsworthy’s buoyant mood on the day SAWeekend visits him in the inner-city terrace he shares with his wife, Lisa Temple, owes something to the fact that this is “a Dex day”. The cocktail of drugs he’s now on includes Dexamethasone, which speeds him up at the start of the week, and leaves him flat by Friday. “It’s cortisone, which I have Mondays in a big dose,” he says. “So Mondays and Tuesdays I talk too much and I don’t sleep very well … I’m a bit manic. So shut me up if I don’t shut up. But I don’t mind it because it gives me energy.”

For more about Peter Goldsworthy visit his website here.

Yes, we practice what we preach!

28th August 2019

Yes, we do go on about the benefits of Exercise Medicine for our oncology patients, but as we all know, regular exercise is good for all of us!

Exercise is known to

  • boost mood

  • improve mental health

  • improve sleep

  • manage weight

  • improve bone and muscle health

  • reduce risk of many chronic health conditions

  • increase chances of living longer

The staff at Lift are committed to exercise for all of the above reasons and below are a few photos to show the different ways the practice what they preach!

Lift attends the BCNA Adelaide Conference

29th July 2019

LIFT was lucky enough to be invited to attend the BCNA Adelaide Conference held in Adelaide on the 27th and 28th of July.

Titled "Together Towards Tomorrow" the weekend was a wonderful opportunity to listen to a range of speakers, meet new friends, and catch up with a few old friends! As well as a wonderful opportunity to socialise, the convention brought together a range of speakers who offered great insights to topics such a lymphodema, adjusting to ‘the new normal’, body image after cancer, exercise medicine and the financial toxicity of cancer.

The end of the first day was marked with a mini field of women ceremony on the banks of the Torrens.

A big thank you to the  Breast Cancer Network Australia for including us in this wonderful event!

VOX POP - What does the Lift logo mean to you?

4th July 2019

One of the most common questions we get asked at Lift is “what does your logo represent?”. Our answer is usually something along the lines of “whatever you want it to represent!”

Our logo was designed with much thought and care as to the type of centre we wanted to create. The brief given to our designers was that we wanted to create an image or shape that highlighted the coming together of disciplines and services. We also wanted to reference the clinical background of the 2 founders, that of Physiotherapy (body) and Psychiatry (mind) and the belief that mind and body cannot be easily separated.

When our designers came back to us with this logo they explained that the shapes represented an oak leaf, a symbol of strength and a sun, rising up behind the leaf.

Today we have asked you, “what do you think the Lift logo means"?” and we have had a variety of interpretations. We love the fact that there is no one answer to this question and it really is a logo that can be interpreted any way you want to. Even if that is a lemon and a lettuce!

Lift Cancer Care Team walks the Mother's Day Classic to raise money for breast cancer research 

13th May 2019

For the second year, Lift has entered a team into the Mother’s Day Classic to help raise money for breast cancer research.

Team Lift was comprised of a lovey mix of staff, patients, family and friends. Some of our young team members were not so keen on the walking element of the event which made for a very leisurely stroll and a late decision to switch from the 7 km walk to the 4km walk.

A few of us have been involved in this event individually in the past, and every year we comment on how well organised the morning is. This year was no different with group warm ups on stage, a get pink tent - complete with pick face paint and hair spray for anyone looking for an extra touch of the colour de jour! Volunteers were roaming around handing our hundreds of pink helium balloons, making for a very impressive sea of pink as participants were waiting to start off.

The most beautiful part of this event was the very present spirit of support and camaraderie amongst all in attendance. For Team Lift, it was an opportunity to meet the family and loved ones of new friends. This was a highlight of the event for the Lift staff as it was very special to be trusted and treasured enough to be introduced to the nearest and dearest of the wonderful women we have the privilege of working with every day at Lift.

If you have every considered coming along to this event but haven’t quite made it, pencil it in for 2020. See you there!

World Cancer Day 2019

Feb 5th 2019

World Cancer Day is an international day to recognise the global burden of cancer and shine a light on ways we can reduce the number of premature deaths for cancer and improve quality of life and survival rates.

World Cancer aims to call upon government leaders and health policy-makers to significantly reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity, and integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.

This year’s slogan, ‘I Am and I Will’ is an empowering call-to-action urging for personal commitment and represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future.

On February 4th, we asked members of the Lift community to think about what they pledge to do and we photographed their thoughts.