Racehorse trainer Gillian Heinrich has received the news she is clear from bowel cancer
“IT FELT like I had just won the lotto”.
That was the response from jubilant racehorse trainer Gillian Heinrich yesterday after she received the news every cancer sufferer hopes to hear – that she was in the clear.
Heinrich, who won the Order of the Gold Coast for 2007 after becoming the first woman to win a trainers premiership at a major racing precinct in Queensland, was diagnosed with bowel cancer on March 3.
The situation was so bad that her bowel was completely blocked.
Even when her surgeon, Dr Mark Doudle cut out the blockage he couldn’t get around to the other side of her bowel to see if there were any signs of cancer there.
After months of treatment, Heinrich’s surgeon could finally do that yesterday via a colonoscopy and fortunately for the first lady of Gold Coast racing it showed she was “completely” clear of bowel cancer.
“I was worried and everybody that gets cancer worries,” said Heinrich, who has been training on the Coast for 30 years and won the city’s biggest race, the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, with Military Rose in 2010.
“I thought, ‘what if something was left there’ and my surgeon said to me (yesterday) morning, ‘we haven’t been around that side yet’ and I said, ‘I know just hurry up and check’.
“I was very nervous and when the surgeon said my bowel was completely clear I was just so relieved.
“It felt like I had just won the lotto.”
When diagnosed with bowel cancer earlier this year, Heinrich was told she would require at least six months of chemotherapy.
But she has seen friends struggle through chemotherapy and later lose their battles with cancer in recent years and she was determined to find another treatment.
Enter hyperthermia therapy, a type of treatment where body tissue is exposed to higher temperatures to kill cancer cells.
A clinic on the Gold Coast, Natural Vibrant Health in Robina, had just started offering hyperthermia treatment and Heinrich committed 100 per cent to the alternative style of treatment.
“There is a lot of people out there with cancer that don’t know what to do and it’s always good to have the two options,” the 57-year-old said.
“At least then you can choose which way you want to go and that way you’re not forced into doing something you might not want to do like I didn’t want to do chemotherapy.
“I really believe in hyperthermia therapy and even my whole body has picked right up and this is the best I’ve felt in years.
“I’ve been undergoing hyperthermia therapy for about three months and a lot of times it’s been five days a week.
“So you have to be committed to it but it’s worth it and my doctor Valerie Cole has been absolutely wonderful through all this.”
The hyperthermia treatment has broken Heinrich’s cancer cells down and all that is left to do now is for Heinrich to fly to Robert Gorter’s Medical Center Cologne in Germany this month to help remove the remaining shattered cancer cells from her body. There is always the chance cancer may come back but Heinrich will get regular check-ups in the future.
Buoyed by the good news yesterday, Heinrich will return to Gold Coast trackwork and commence life as a trainer this morning for the first time since she was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
“I’ve really missed the horses, especially now all our babies are in and this is when you are looking for your next good horse,” she said.
“I will start off a few mornings a week to start with and then after Germany I will come back and try to get into it before the Magic Millions (in January).”
Expect Gold Coast trackwork to be abuzz with smiles and plenty of hi fives this morning.
You would struggle to find a person on the Gold Coast who would have a bad word to say about Heinrich and this is wonderful news for a wonderful woman.
Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin