This may be a little repetitive for some of my “fans” (imagine) but please bear with me, I have been trying to write this since Tuesday but this week was just not the best.
My name is Eileen Rushe, I am a 33 year old mam of one (Séamus is the most spectacular 12 year old ever) from Termonfeckin in County Louth and I am currently undergoing treatment for cervical cancer in St Luke’s of Rathgar. I am writing this blog today with the sole intention of making everyone aware of the effects of cancer on me and my family with the hope that every woman and man who reads this ensures their loved ones are protected as much as possible from Cervical Cancer. I realise it is hard to maintain trust in a system that seems to fail at every hurdle but please continue to get tested and take part in the cervical screening check programme and or go for a private screening. The next thing is the HPV vaccine, now I really will not pretend to understand the science behind this other than to say the research supports the vaccine and it has been used around the world on both boys and girls for years. As a mam if giving the vaccine prevents my child from one single day of the treatment I am undergoing I feel there really is no choice, all I will ask is you really research the vaccine from legit proper sources and not just Facebook videos.
So a wee recap of me and I got here (I am currently sitting in the radiotherapy unit in st Luke’s waiting for my final treatment of week 2). The picture above is of me graduating college (DKIT) in 2009. I did it all a bit backwards really, I begun first year in college in 2004 actually in GMIT (Galway) this was after a stint working in local hotels and a five star hotel placement in Kenmare. One of the most catching things for me on the prospectus was that I HAD to go abroad for a years work placement (America here I come). Thinking back I remember clear as day in that first week in college there was a poster on the back of the door saying 1/11 first years have an unplanned pregnancy.. I actually laughed out loud and was thinking what dopes. Well the following February I was expecting 🙂 I know scarlet for myself … Well isn’t it great that happened now because the treatment to get rid of my cervical cancer also sends me into early menopause and makes me infertile. Now honestly this is no big deal for me as I am blessed with the beautiful son I have and to be honest the thought of nappies again makes me even more nauseous than I already am. But it is devastating for those who have not had a family yet. Considering John, Séamus’s dad passed away due to SUDEP on 5 July 2017 it makes my family an even more incredible blessing.
I had to defer year two of my course but returned to complete year two in Galway (Séamus with me)before finally moving back to Louth in 2007 with great thanks to Louth County Council for a house and the amazing support of DKIT and of course my family I finished up with a first in my degree. The picture taken above was when I was most proud of myself, Irish people try to be liberal but having a baby at 20 out of wedlock is never easy and I know people looked at me differently, but at my graduation I was just as good if not better (how big headed am I?) than everyone else there. I had my entire future ahead. Ten years later it is all looking a little less certain.
As I mentioned previously I am a bit of a control freak so within months of Séamus being born I was on it like a hot snot.. a will, life cover all those little things you put off (please don’t) and I was more than ever aware of my own mortality. I couldn’t imagine not providing for Séamus in the event of the worst. I took all the right steps, I have had several smear tests which until 18 months ago were fine but then they noticed abnormal cells which I have received treatment to remove. Now I don’t know how but in December they found my tumour and on Christmas Eve 2018 I sat with my oncologist planning my cancer treatment. Now I know that is a bit of a waffling story but I just wanted to show you that I am a normal woman who has taken every step available to protect myself and I am still sitting here fighting to be cured… so please don’t let the odd smear test pass and please investigate the HPV vaccine thoroughly and make the right decisions. This is cervical cancer awareness week but it should not take a particular day, week or month for you to be aware and protect yourself….
Sorry I didn’t tell you what my treatment is
Treatment: I will have 25 rounds of radiotherapy on my pelvic area and 3 internal this will be accompanied by 6 rounds of chemo. I will not lose my hair it will thin, the doctors have to watch my bowels and the likes to avoid any permanent damage, I will be infertilr and I will be in menopause.
Week two of treatment – I had high hopes of a post earlier this week but I was too sick. It started on Tuesday ‘The constipation’ which was caused by the medicine to help with the nausea and pain. Prune June, orange juice, fibre nothing worked.. Tuesday night I was awake in agony every 20 minutes (my poor sister stayed over) then I went to the day ward for chemo on Wednesday morning. They soon figured out I was REALLY constipated (I have never been constipated before) as a result the added pressure on my tumour and my already inflamed pelvis I was in agony .. then came the good drugs I got moved to a bed and got given some different drugs to help with the constipation and pain … they worked. However cue Thursday and since then ..l I have had the worst nausea and diarrhea…. now I really have been rather mild describing this week and to be honest discussing my bowel movements is not easy but this is my reality and I am just finishing treatment week 2 of 6. I am so grateful for all the help and support of my friends and family particularly my parents who I know are slightly broken inside watching me go through this but continue happily raising Séamus in my temporary absense.
Oh and best of luck to all the boys and girls sitting their entrance exams tomorrow. Séamus is going to St Oliver’s, I am hoping to be well enough to treat him to lunch after.
Cancer is not fun. xxx get checked