Our Facebook Group Head & Neck Cancer Support

Support Network Newsletter             Volume 2, No. 3 December 1, 2016

This month’s meeting

Social Meeting in Domain

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Just a brief bulletin to wrap up the year until we meet again on 2 February,  2017. Today’s get-together was purely social with a fair number of us seated under an oak tree opposite the Wintergarden in the Domain. It was great to see Susan Comber, former social worker from ORL who was one of founders of the group.

David and Jill Stephenson were back and we finally got to meet Adam’s partner Mark and their Facebook-friendly dog Lucky.  Below is a photo from another angle.

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Thanks to the Life After Cancer Trust who gave Diana a box of mouth care products. Diana made a lucky dip for us. Some received toothbrushes and floss while I was lucky enough to score some alcohol-free Savacol, something that is hard to obtain.


This is going well. In future we would like as may of you as possible to become members. Then we can post the newsletter on the site and message you when it is ready. If you go to www.headandneck.network, you will find it very easy to join. There’s lots of good content and it’s free!

Holiday Writing

Maybe some of you would like to write your stories over the summer while you are sitting under a pohutukawa tree sipping a non-alcoholic pina colada. I have read a couple of cancer biographies lately and I’m always aghast at how few people get a speedy diagnosis,  but full of admiration for how people get back on their feet. From the patient’s point of view it is therapeutic to describe the experience and have someone else read it.

Diana has written some advice below:

Patient stories are the backbone of our newsletter. Through the newsletter our patient contributors have the opportunity to tell their story in their own words. For our readers, the stories are a unique insight into the experience of head and neck cancer. Our stories raise awareness, educate and create meaningful personal connections.

  • The stories should be 500-1000 words.

  • We suggest you tell your story your way.

  • A couple of photos of your choice are welcome.

  • You are welcome to name health professionals who have helped you through your experience.

  • If you have any doubts you can contact the editor, Maureen Jansen mjansener@gmail.com

Until the lion learns to write, the stories will always glorify the hunter.- African proverb

Holiday Reading

This year I have twice read Kathy Torpie’s book, Losing Face. It is the true story of Kathy, who suffered terrible injuries due to a head on crash with a drunk driver. Kathy recounts her time in hospital, her struggle to recover, dealing with the health care system, and finding herself again. A great read. She is an Aucklander treated and cared for in our own health system. I recommend it for summer reading. Next year I hope to have Kathy come to our meeting and talk to us in a book club kinda way. Meet the author!

Kathy is an international speaker on the topic of the patient experience. She has much wisdom to share. Kathy’s book is available from Amazon as an E book, and you can find a copy in your local library.


From the Chair

Wow, what a year it has been for people affected by head and neck cancer in New Zealand! We have gone from an Auckland support group to a nationwide network. We have connected across time and space. We have made new friends, learnt more about HNC, shared our stories, and collaborated with healthcare professionals and similar organisations. We have connected, supported and advocated, and next year we can do even more. We have an exciting group of speakers for 2017. Our theme is New Directions in Head and Neck Cancer. We look forward to you joining with us.

We have lost another member to this cruel disease. Rest in peace Fred Whittaker and all our love and support to his partner Olwen who is one of the stalwarts of our online sites.

Compliments of the season to you all.

Find us on Social Media


Head and Neck Cancer Survivors' Support Network

+64 20 4002 5563 | +64 21 2130178 |


The Network. 2/18 Rosario Crescent, Red Beach, Auckland, Facebook: Head & Neck Cancer Support | Twitter: @headnecknz | LinkedIn: https://nz.linkedin.com/in/head-and-neck-cancer-network-483914126

Latest Tweet: Sounds hopeful https://t.co/deNHookYV5

Order Stoma Covers

We have taken over sales of stoma covers from the Cancer Society. You can now order from us. We have a range of colours and weaves available.

You can order here by clicking on our web page or emailing us. $20 each plus postage.

You can email us at headandnecknetwork@gmail.com

Contact us

Email: headandnecknetwork@gmail.com

Our Auckland meeting place is Domain Lodge, 1 Boyle Crescent, Grafton, Auckland, 09 308 0161

Next Meeting

This will be on 2 February. We normally start in March but next year we will jump in early. We have already booked our usual room in Domain Lodge and the probable first two speakers are Felix Mariano, Clinical Nurse Educator and Clinical Nurse Specialist from ORL and Dr John Chaplin, Auckland Head and Neck Surgeon.

We will confirm speakers at a later date.

9.30, Domain Lodge, 2 February, 2017.


Thank you to the folk at the Auckland Cancer Society’s Domain Lodge for providing us with a room, tea, coffee and technical help. Domain Lodge is our Auckland home and we appreciate it fully.


We are here for all head and neck people in New Zealand and beyond. You can join us on new website. www.headandneck.network.

Diana and Maureen


Diana Ayling