It's been a few months since they've seen each other but there is a beautiful, enduring relationship between Christine Archer, the ACT's Nurse of the Year, and her former patient Alex Terpstra, a young public servant from Casey.
Mrs Archer is a melanoma and skin cancer specialist at Canberra Hospital Services and cared for Alex when last year, aged just 27, she was diagnosed with stage-four cancer after finally having a "suspicious" mole on her forehead checked out.
She had tumours in her brain, neck, lung, pancreas, pelvis and thigh. She had 12 months to live, without treatment.
Christine Archer was there that first devastating day to explain it all to Alex in her calm, professional and empathetic way.
"It was such a blur, but having her there and the wealth of knowledge she has, it's just unbelievable," Alex said.
Mrs Archer gave her hope. "Oh, definitely," Alex said. "I didn't know much about melanoma and cancer so poor Christine copped a lot of questions, it was endless, really.
"But she always had an answer. What I appreciated was, no matter how grim the news, she always found something positive to tell me."
Alex had four doses of immunotherapy with the drugs Ipilimumab and Nivolumab. And, in a miracle of modern medicine, she is now clear of the cancer.
She has scar tissue where the tumours were, but no active cancer cells. She is back at work. She is healthy.
"I've got my life back," she said.
Alex is on the verge of tears as she explains what Christine meant to her during her treatment.
"Words can't describe. I could sit here all day and say how wonderful she is. Honestly, you're a superstar," Alex said. "I think you need to be someone pretty special to work with terminal patients.
"She has her own family to worry about, but every day she comes to work dealing with people like me, and you have to be pretty amazing to deal with that.
"One of my favourite things is, you always had a big smile on your face and never spoke to me like I was terminal, which I appreciated."
Mrs Archer, 38, was named Nurse of the Year in May but was camping in Botswana with her husband Jack and their boys, Harry, 7; and Ned, 5. When her name was announced at the awards ceremony, the applause was, nevertheless, deafening as her peers celebrated on her behalf.
Originally from Murwillumbah on the NSW north coast, she studied nursing at the University of New England in Armidale.
"I always wanted to be a nurse, even when I was little," she said, "I liked the idea of looking after people ... And there were just so many career pathways with nursing."
In Canberra for 17 years, Mrs Archer has specialised in cancer treatment from the start of her career, focusing on melanoma for the last seven years, just as new drugs were coming off trial and turning, for some people, melanoma from a death sentence to a treatable condition that could go into remission.
"It gives you a lot of satisfaction to help people out, often when they are in a very vulnerable state," Mrs Archer said.
"If you can help them to navigate the system and understand the treatment, it gives them a sense of control over their lives."
Ms Archer works from the Canberra Region Cancer Centre at the Canberra Hospital. She said Canberra was fortunate and unique in having specialist nurses for every kind of tumour. She is looking forward to continuing to help.
"There is still a lot of opportunity to develop not only this role, but develop melanoma services in Canberra," she said.
And she was moved by what Alex had to say to her.
"It's really touching and really satisfying to know she's back to enjoying her life," Mrs Archer said.