Skip to main content

Author Visit - Doctor Becomes The Patient

Author Visit - Doctor Becomes The Patient
03 April 2019

A Hole In My Genes

The Mount Gambier Library presents breast cancer survivor Dr Jodie Fleming on Tuesday 9 April at 7:00pm at City Hall to launch her memoir A Hole in My Genes.

As a psychologist for oncology patients, Dr Jodie Fleming has helped dozens of patients with their cancer fight until one day she felt a lump in her own breast.

In 2010 at the age of 37, exactly one month after the end of her marriage, Jodie received the terrifying news that she had two primary breast cancers.

Facing the news on her own, Jodie made the decision to relocate from New South Wales to be with her family and receive treatment in Warrnambool. Having cared for her husband through testicular cancer eight years earlier, she now faced her own rollercoaster ride of doctors’ appointments, tests, treatments, chemotherapy and surgeries.

Jodie suddenly found herself as the patient, not the doctor.

Team Leader Library Programs Kristi Leamey said Dr Fleming was forced to draw upon the psychological strategies that she had previously taught her clients.

“Despite having counselled many cancer patients including women with breast cancer, just like her, when Jodie was told she had cancer she describes it like being a deer in the headlights," Ms Leamey said.

“Jodie reflected on confronting conversations she had with numerous patients, which she describes in the book. She draws on their strengths and invaluable life lessons, which, despite having a whole toolkit of professional strategies from her career, became the most important healing process for her mental wellbeing.”

A Hole in My Genes is Jodie’s journey from diagnosis to treatment, from losing her hair to losing her breasts and the most confronting diagnosis of learning that she will never be able to conceive and carry a child.

It is also a book on survival and how having breast cancer has changed her perspective on life.

“Immediately after treatment, I noticed things like colours were more vibrant, smells were sweeter, the warmth of the sun on my skin was simply delightful. I also decided not to take things for granted as I may have before getting sick,” Dr Fleming said.

Jodie’s story is raw and honest. It will give you insight into the experiences of a person living with cancer, battling through treatment and trying to maintain their sense of self within an avalanche of impositions. A Hole in My Genes is also a book about facing adversity and resilience and I believe everyone can take something away from Jodie’s experience and courage.
- Team Leader Library Programs Kristi Leamey.

“This event is expected to sell out. We are encouraging the public to book a seat with the Mount Gambier Library. We are not charging a ticketed entry, but instead we ask for a gold coin donation on the night which we will be donated to the local Breast Cancer Support Group.”

“The one message we hope that people take away from this night is for men and women to listen to their body and to look out for any abnormalities. Jodie was initially told that because of her age, and no family history, that she had nothing to worry about. Luckily, she persevered and managed to survive the biggest fight of her life.”

For bookings please contact Mount Gambier Library (08) 8721 2540 or book online at under ‘Programs and Events’.

For further information please contact Team Leader Library Programs Kristi Leamey at