You can’t always see it, but Melissa Laan wears a cape. She’s quite literally Super Single-Mum juggling the ongoings of five kids and three dogs.
As Melissa stood up to speak in front of the Women’s Health Night crowd, three of her kids sat on the floor, ingeniously occupied by a new lego set.
Clearly, her kids come first. As many mothers tend to do, Melissa puts herself last and braves the pain of any slight ailment.
‘I ignored a lot of red flags, ‘ said Melissa.
‘If I had an upset stomach, I often just blamed it on stress… or the KFC zinger burger I had for lunch.’
But as Melissa bravely admits, when her symptoms escalated to a scary degree, she ended up in an emergency and discovered a 25cm tumour in her bowels.
She was immediately flown to Brisbane for emergency surgery by the Royal Flying Doctors (RFD).
Although Melissa’s surgery was a success, she had a long road to recovery.
‘Bowel cancer can happen to anyone at any age,’ she said.
‘If I had acted sooner, when I first noticed symptoms, I could have prevented such a crazy aftermath.’
Doctor Emma McCahon, who also spoke at the event, advocated for devoting just 1% of the day (which equates to 14.4 minutes) towards your health.
‘14.4 minutes to spend on good nutrition, quality sleep, exercise, play or connecting with others can drastically improve your overall wellbeing,’ she said.
‘Look after yourself, so that you can look after others.’
2022 was the first year council hosted a Women’s Health Night, and over 130 ladies attended. Information stalls, light snacks, prizes and activities were all well received.