Nina’s Story of Resilience and Transformation

May 20, 2024 | Blog Articles

I first came to Quest 10 years ago – I was unknowingly suffering from PTSD following extensive cancer treatment. I wanted to learn how to get on with my life and find resilience, to learn how to put the experience behind me, and most importantly, to get back into the workforce. In the 10 years since, hasn’t turned out the way I’d hoped.

Following is a story of my journey – the ups and downs, the expectations and the realities, and how Quest’s programs over the years have helped shape my experiences and outlook.

My life changed expectantly and without warning. One day I was working in the lead of a major project for one of the big four banks. I was leaving with my 7 year old daughter to take a road trip, when shutting the door I was struck by the most insane and incredible agony. The result was being rushed to hospital by ambulance, and over the next 18 months living out my own nightmare.

I was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, Ewings Sarcoma. I had extensive chemotherapy (14 rounds, equalling 47 days of five chemotherapy drugs). After seven months I then had an operation to replace the humerus bone, then radiotherapy, and more chemotherapy.

Looking for answers…

I went to Quest looking and hoping for all sorts of formulas to get my life back, the life I felt had been taken from me. Many hopes and dreams felt shattered. The first fight was to survive, and then when you survive you find your life has changed, and your body and capabilities have changed. I was looking for strategies to move forward.

After my Quest experience, I then found that the prosthesis was loose, which meant more surgery, but finding a solution and to keep my arm wasn’t easy. I was sent to consult with 14 surgeons had another operation, only to have the prosthesis dislocate within six weeks. I waited another year in a sling to have a type of rare shoulder surgery, that I believe to this day has not been repeated anywhere in the world. During this time I went back to Quest’s Healing Your Life program and also to their pain management program.

Following that surgery, my arm dislocated again. During Covid, and I waited two years for another operation. During that time, I had a death in the family, and due to Covid I could not be present

So, why Quest?

“I first went thinking I was going to find the tools to rebuild my life, and then get on with my life. What I wanted was the life I’d previously had, back again.”

I worked for years to get my old life back, but it didn’t happen. Then the questions came up:

“Who am I? Who am I now? Who can I be?”

As I kept trying to restore a life, things just kept going wrong. So, I continued going back to Quest. Each time, I felt that my self-care cup was filled up again.

I appreciate this is not everyone’s story. Some people might have something that goes wrong, and they’re able to work out how to move on from that. For me, I feel like the last 10 years have presented roadblock after roadblock.

What happens at Quest?

What I can tell you happens at Quest is that you get the opportunity to tell your story, and you get the opportunity to say it out loud – that might seem like a small thing, but it’s huge to many people. It’s life-changing, because we live in a society where people don’t really want to hear stories that are full of friction and pain. They don’t really want to hear what we’re feeling.

When most people ask us how we are, they want to hear, “good, great, fine.” They might even pre-empt that response by saying, “you look well, you look great.” It doesn’t matter what’s going on or what you’re going though, they will look for something that is normal or okay.

What I’ve learned through Quest is that that is a protective mechanism and more about what the other person can cope with – it’s actually about them, not you. I say this with experience!

We don’t really want to sit with what Petrea calls “sitting in poo.”

To say out loud what is wrong, even if the other person in front of you doesn’t say anything except listen, is extremely powerful.

To experience Quest through a 5-day program is to take five days out of your life to care for your nervous system and learn how to respond to yourself in a way that’s going to be helpful.

Being at Quest for a week may not take away the pain and it may not take away the challenges. On the contrary, you might go back and find you still have to deal with the challenges. You might find that the challenges are still there and/or you might find that you can make changes that are helpful to your life.

“What Quest does is show you a toolbox, and the toolbox is all sorts of things that are going to be helpful to get you through the challenges that you face.”

There’s also incredible self-exploration, where you will find and then understand your reactions to life and why. You leave knowing more about yourself and understanding more about others. You leave with tools to make any situation better, even if it’s how to communicate to others what you need.

It can be a brave thing to walk into a situation, not knowing what to expect. The staff at Quest will ask you questions about what you need before you come.

It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, if it’s the first time you’ve been to something like this, there’s bound to be apprehension of the unknown.

I remember being in the waiting area at Quest and one of the other participants came up to me knowing I’d been there before. She said to me, “Is there anything here I should be worried about?” Of course, my answer was, “No, nothing at all.”

That’s what I mean by apprehension – you’re possibly walking into something where you’re unsure of what’s going to come out, or how you’re going to come out. If you’ve been through something significant, you might not know when you walk through those doors what is going to come out: what needs healing, what feelings are there, and what is going to come up for you.

“You’ll be in incredibly safe hands, possibly the safest hands I’ve ever met – and I’ve been dealing with medical support for over 12 years.”

Quest is a process and a place that you can trust. If the problem is small, if the problem is big, or if you just have questions about life, this is a safe place to come, unpack and explore.


Though marked by pain, Nina’s journey is ultimately one of courage, resilience, and healing. Join us in making a difference in the lives of survivors like Nina by donating to Quest for Life. Your contribution will provide hope and healing to those who have endured the pain and challenge of illness and injury, empowering them to rewrite their stories and embark on a journey towards a brighter future. Together, we can make a meaningful impact and help individuals reclaim their lives.

Please help to give people like Nina hope and healing by donating to Quest’s 2024 EOFY Appeal.


  • Wellbeing books Including Your Life Matters – a Guidebook for Life by Petrea King
  • Meditation CDs including Be CalmSleepLearning to Meditate

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