After two ovarian cancer scares, Haley Bracken knows how important it is to recognise changes in your body and be persistent in getting check ups. Wife of retired Australian cricketer Nathan Bracken and official ambassador of Ovarian Cancer Australia, Haley shares with us how she keeps mentally and physically healthy and why she became an ambassador.
What do you do to keep healthy? With a little one in pre-school it’s hard to stay healthy and avoid the bugs that kids come home with, so lately we’ve had our fair share of illness. We try to avoid these by vigilantly washing our hands when we are out and about, keeping warm when it is cold and keeping up to date with health checks. We are also members of Medibank so we also make use of the MiHealth call centre.
How do you stay physically healthy? I try to keep the dancing up, which is a great way to keep fit. It hardly feels like a workout because you are so busy thinking of the steps; it’s not until you stop that you realise what a good workout you’ve had.
How do you stay mentally healthy? This one is a hard one. Nathan retired recently from cricket due to injury and this has put a big mental strain on us as a family. It’s been a very hard process for us to deal with. He went from being the world’s number one, one-day international bowler to not being able to straighten his leg. It’s been a very big adjustment for us. I try and focus on the positive aspects of my life, and be thankful for the things I have. I have also turned to hypnotherapy, which has really helped.
What foods do you love that contribute to your health? I love avocado. Avocadoes have so many health benefits including being a rich source of fibre and folate.
What have you learnt about health being married to an elite athlete? That cricket is a lot harder on the body than people think. I have also learned that, in the case of cricket, once an athlete retires any injuries sustained become their own problem.
You are an ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia – why did you get involved with this cause and what does your role involve? I became involved with Ovarian Cancer Australia as I competed in the Mrs Australia Quest; a competition that helped to raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer. I also have had a couple of ovarian cancer scares myself, and just couldn’t imagine if the outcome had been different, so I wanted to contribute in some way to help raise funds and awareness for this disease. I officially became an ambassador of Ovarian Cancer Australia after choosing them to be my charity for Dancing With The Stars in 2011. During this time I met Nicole, a young ovarian cancer survivor, who thanked me for what I was doing and really brought home why I had chosen Ovarian Cancer Australia for my charity.
Through your experience and role with Ovarian Cancer Australia what have you learnt and what information would you like to share? Of the 1200 women who are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, 800 will lose their lives. Ovarian cancer is a treatable disease if diagnosed in the early stages. Women need to be aware of the symptoms which include: abdominal or pelvis pain, abdominal bloating, needing to urinate frequently, and feeling full quickly. An important thing I have also learned is that you know your own body. If you feel something is wrong, be persistent.
Haley Braken highlight the facts and symptoms in her role as ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia.
For more information visit ovariancancer.net.au