After months of chemotherapy for cancer, Tasmania's Governor Kate Warner has been given the all clear.
A PET scan about a month ago showed no sign of the stage four non-Hodgkin Lymphoma she was diagnosed with in January this year.
"After the scan, I went to see the oncologist and she just said 'that's all clear, come back in three months'," Professor Warner, 71, said.
"I feel fine. I feel a lot better than I did with the chemotherapy."
Professor Warner was sworn in as Tasmania's first female governor on December 10, 2014, for her five-year-term.
Always fit and healthy, Professor Warner, who is the patron of Cancer Council Tasmania, was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma after a cracked hip failed to heal.
She was one of the more than nine Tasmanians who are diagnosed with cancer each day, with non-Hodgkin lymphoma among one of the more common types of the disease.
Despite the gruelling treatment including hours of chemotherapy every three weeks, the widely respected and popular academic continued to carry out all her vice-regal duties.
Professor Warner was always optimistic the cancer was treatable and curable. She remains upbeat.
In an interview with The Examiner's SUE BAILEY, she talks openly about her treatment, including losing her hair, and how she remained focused on her work.
SB: How did the chemotherapy affect you - if there were side effects, how did you cope with them? Were you tired?
KW: There were side effects such as a loss of appetite and enjoyment of food.
But most of the effects I had forgotten about and had to consult some notes I made at the time for recounting to the doctor at review meetings.
Side effects included difficulty in sleeping caused by prednisolone, which is one of the R-CHOP 21 drugs - the standard treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma; swollen eyes the day after infusions; tingly salivary glands and achy joints.
In general, I had a jet-lag, spacey, wobbly kind of feeling. I was so lucky not to feel nauseous and I was able to distract myself from most of the feelings or deal with the aches and pains with Panadol. And after the methotrexate infusion, I was very thirsty for a couple of weeks.
And I was tired - particularly towards the end of the R-CHOP-21 infusions and with the methotrexate infusion. But in general, I was able to continue with life pretty much as usual.
SB: Do any side effects persist?
KW: I am having some trouble with damage to my toenails, which I thought at first was caused by bushwalking until I remembered that I have not been for long bush walks over the last eight months or so.
And there is some damage to my heart muscle, but there is a good chance this will recover. And I now have very short hair.
SB: How did you deal with losing your hair? Did it worry you?
KW: At first, it was rather disconcerting when it fell out in clumps. But in some ways, it was easier to come to terms with as it all fell out quite quickly and I was warned this was inevitable.
I came to enjoy being liberated from the hair washing, blow waving routine. I soon discovered that my wig was uncomfortable and I acquired a range of turbans instead.
Losing my eyelashes did make my eyes rather watery - they do serve to keep dust out of your eyes.
SB: Were you always confident the treatment would be successful or were you fearful it may not work?
KW: I was confident it would be successful as I had the assurance of medical experts that I have a form of cancer that was not just treatable, but curable.
My doctors were so positive and made me realise that it was good news that I had the kind of cancer I had.
Thereafter, I tried to think about it as little as possible, focusing on doing as I was told in terms of the treatment, getting as much fresh air and exercise as I could manage and leaving it to the doctors and their drugs to fight the cancer.
SB: How did it affect your day to day life and work?
KW: I can't pretend that it didn't affect the quality and enjoyment of my daily life to some extent, but I did my best to ensure that it did not affect my work - and in fact, I found the distraction of work a great benefit.
SB: Was there any stage when you thought you might have to give up your position as Governor because of the treatment?
KW: Not once the diagnosis was clear and I had got through the first cycle of treatment without having to cancel any engagements.
And I have had a number of friends who have successfully managed to continue working despite chemotherapy and this gave me confidence that I could also do so.
SB: How did you find the Royal Hobart Hospital and were you a private patient there?
KW: I was a private patient.
I was very impressed with the Royal - the staff: doctors, nurses and technicians were excellent both in the outpatient and inpatient oncology wards.
SB: Did you meet any people along the way who inspired you?
KW: I have been inspired by the courage and strength of two close friends who have or had incurable cancer.
One, in particular, has managed to be as amusing and entertaining as ever despite experiencing awful side-effects and living with the knowledge that chemotherapy is a routine part of her life.
And I had curable cancer and chemotherapy for only months, not years. This has made me appreciate how lucky I am.
SB: Has your diagnosis changed your outlook on life - any plans to slow down?
KW: I don't believe so - although perhaps to highlight the need to make the most of the good health I have reclaimed and the rest of life that I have.
SB: Your husband is also a cancer survivor, was it important to draw on his strength and survival?
KW: Yes, and it was helpful to understand how he was feeling about me and how upsetting it is to be in the position of a partner.
It was enormously helpful too - to have him with me when I was first told I had cancer and to be a second pair of ears when prognosis and treatment is discussed.
SB: Do you have a message for people who have just received a cancer diagnosis?
KW: If you can, I think it is better to let the fact you have cancer disrupt your normal life and routine as little as possible.
I found it very helpful to take a walk in the fresh air, even if I felt a bit grim. Invariably I felt a lot better after it.
And I enjoyed walking to the hospital for treatment, savouring the fresh air and sunshine when I was going to be tied to a drip for four or five hours in a hospital ward.
And then walking home again, when there was time. On a couple of occasions, I did think it would be nice to be put in a coma until all the treatment was over but generally I felt I was able to distract myself with work, a book or another activity.
I tried to put the cancer fact in a box and get on with my life.
SB: Has it changed you as a person?
KW: I don't think so.