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Update from Dr Heidi MacRae

July 20, 2022


The last year has been a roller coaster to say the least. Not just COVID, closed boarders and difficulties for so many people, but for me and my family a cancer encounter that has turned our lives around.

I can not thank my amazing colleagues at Medplus enough for the love and support they have been giving me as I fight breast cancer, they are an incredible bunch. The support from the community has been just as outstanding and I am so grateful to you all for all the messages, cards, gifts, prayers, thoughts, and love. I feel absolutely surrounded by the warmth of your kindness, generosity, and compassion.

Since February I have been doing some Medplus work virtually, and I have just loved reconnecting with those that needed a phone call, mostly about COVID. My vocation has always given me such intense satisfaction and I am so lucky to encounter so many wonderful people in my daily work. Very few people get to enjoy their work the way I do – I am so lucky.

After my surgeries in March and May I felt completely cured and very grateful. I was so delighted and was really looking forward to returning to seeing my patients face to face. My energy and enthusiasm was back and ready to be put to use again.

It is with much regret that I must inform you that I will not be returning to Medplus in August as planned. I found out very recently that I have some brain metastases. Luckily, they are not causing me any symptoms at this time and they were a completely unexpected finding. Treatment options are not so easy, but I am very excited to be travelling to Sydney shortly for some Gamma Knife radiation treatment.

I am very lucky indeed that my incredible family and friends are giving me every support I could possibly need. I have the very best of medical care and I am very grateful to my oncologist Dr Karen Amies at Harbour Cancer Centre.

I know that you will be right behind me as a battle this cancer as hard as I possibly can – and I promise I will. My boxing gloves are out. I will not make any promises about timelines, but I have every intention of returning when I can.

If you want to do something for me, please get behind the Breast Cancer Foundation – have a pink ribbon breakfast for them or just donate. Or pay it forward and help out someone else who is having a difficult time or is in need. Many other families will be going through similar troubles and will need your support, I am so lucky to be going through this with so many wonderful people in my corner.

I still feel passionately that everyone in New Zealand should be able to access the best modern treatments, and if you can, please make sure that Minister Little and your MP know that far more needs to be done to improve access to life changing medications and treatments. Visit the Medicine Gap website to comprehend the situation. The treatment I need in Sydney is not available here yet and I am so privileged to be able to access it.

Very importantly, do not ignore those mammogram reminders, get all the women in your life booked in for breast screening as soon as possible. For those that are eligible please get your bowel cancer screening tests done promptly, all cancers are best caught early. No excuses.