Cervical Cancer is still an awful B*tch

Radioactive stuff.. hot stuff 🙂

Heads up this is a long post so just in case you don’t read it all I would just like to say please make sure you are up to date on smears, breast checks, testicle checks (is this a thing?), bowel checks… mind your body and try be happy… 

May madness… hen parties, weddings and a confirmation….well actually it’s been all go since the end of treatment back at the end of February. But seeing as I haven’t written in a while I will start with April.. it will probably be a long one…. Back in April I took part in the Daffodil Day Fashion Show in Drogheda. It was amazing, I was a survivor, got to meet some other lovely survivors whom I am hoping to catch up again with at the dip in the nip. I wore a stunning dress from Olive’s Boutique across the road from AIB on Dwyer street, the day started with getting my hair done in Rua up beside Bolton square (fab staff and the girl doing my hair of course lives beside my parents and has the same caterer booked for her little boys communion as I had for Séamus’s confirmation.. such a small world), oh the compliments I got made me make a bigger effort for about two days, well this and the makeup done by Biofresh skincare (for anyone with breakouts they have this amazing stuff, now I can’t for the life of me remember the name but ask for the new spot zapper.. gross I know but I also know most people, particularly those post treatment have skin that resembles a 14 year olds every now and then) It is lovely to see so many local companies support such a great cause. The night itself was amazing, I have never been to the show but seen the pictures every year and kept meaning to go. Me, my mam, my sister Siobháin, her now husband Seán (one of about ten men that night 😉 ), My friends Elaine and Michelle and their mams, Elaine’s now husband Paddy’s mam, her sisters and niece Lisa all went together. We went on the silver package and had finger food and wine followed by one too many gins (that could have been just me .. the nerves) and then hit the function room at the Westcourt hotel with about 400 mostly ladies to watch and for me to take part in the fashion show… I’ll add a link below which will hopefully list the shops who participated but so many shops across Drogheda, Navan and Ardee got involved. I loved the lot but in particular Avida in Ardee and New Generation in Southgate (the survivor models for this shop got their jewelry pieces as a gift which was lovely.) I was first up on stage with Mark Mellet from the Irish Cancer society discussing the importance of Daffodil day and the services it funds for people affected by cancer and their families. Without rehashing it think research to help prevent and cure, think night nurses to help patients and their families in the worst of times and possibly one of my favourite the volunteer drivers, who bring cancer patients to appointments right across the country. This was brilliant I saw so many people I used to work with or went to school it, ran with or lived in  Bettystown with and the support was just awesomely overwhelming. After the on stage chat I whipped back stage oh so glamorous like Kate Moss, stood their with some lovely ladies holding a coat and whipped off the dress to be transformed into a super model … well a close resemblance right?  All I can say is everyone kept saying your amazing for doing it but honestly I was thrilled… such a positive part of my journey so far. Massive well done to all involved in this event including Grainne Lally Black who asked me to get involved, I used to live beside the Lally’s in Brookside and oh the hand me downs of stunning clothes and oh the barbies.. I loved them … bring back the 80s. https://droghedalife.com/news/droghedas-pink-ladies-strike-again-daffodil-day-fashion-show-a-big-success

Me at the Daffodil Fashion Show

What else in April? Oh yes well my best friend Elaine Reynolds’s had her hen in Kölne and I just couldn’t make it. I  was devastated as her friend but specially as her bridesmaid. So we organized a mini-hen in the Farnham Estate in Cavan, just me, Elaine, her sister Lisa and mam Betty. I LOVE this place! Paddy (her now husband) and me organized a limo …not just any limo.. a Hummer.. to collect us as a surprise from her house on the Saturday morning. We were all so excited, Paddy would have loved to come…. The trip to Cavan was amazing Derry Girls soundtrack on Spotify (If you have not watched this yet.. get on it you are missing out.. I laughed out loud the entire way through) and several bottles of prosecco we arrived on top of the world. Quick change and we wined and dined ourselves like there was no tomorrow. Madly enough was walking across the (very fancy) restaurant when I saw the girl and I was saying to myself god she has hair (long reddy, auburny) the spit of Helen (my cousin) and your man looks just like Michael (her fella .. and yes I may be killed but sure anyway)  and yes on their first lovely romantic weekend they get to hang out with me the well inebriated older cousin… great laugh… anyway Sunday morning me, Lisa, Betty and Elaine had a treatment… it was lovely.. I had to get a special cancer massage.. my preference for a massage is like a small man or woman dancing on me back but I had a lovely soft massage which I think she said was strength two not that I have a clue what that meant, (not her fault now just the auld cunt that is cervical cancer), but still being treated like a special person any day of the week is fabulous. Then we hit the pool that is so fancy you swim under a door and your outside admiring the country Cavan view. It was such a laugh you would swear we were a bunch of kids but still the bubbles on your back, peace and the silence (when we weren’t laughing like hyenas) was lovely. It was a fantastic weekend like anytime I go anywhere with any of my girls I just love it.. note to self do it more often.. but maybe not the limo 😉

It was perfect timing really because then we were two weeks away from my sister Siobháin’s (and your man Seán’s) wedding and three weeks from Elaine’s (oh and Paddy too) wedding. Flying along helping with the last minute things and my bloody body decided to be a bit of a dick (excuse the language but honestly this is how I felt) I had diarrhea for 6/7 days and cramps that I can only compare to child labour. It wasn’t getting better so on the bank holiday Monday I headed to the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, now I am not sure if it was tiredness, fear or a combination of everything but I did not cope well with this trip. I queued up at reception explained what was wrong (the system of having to speak loudly so the nice receptionist can hear is not great when your discussing bodily functions), anyway told to take a seat and I quite quickly get seen by the triache nurse who took a bit more information, I was thinking deadly maybe I won’t be waiting that long.. I was wrong. Siobháin and my dad tried to keep me calm but hours later I was like fuck (again excuse the language but proper English just does not do the emotion justice) this I am jumping up to the loo every five minutes afraid to eat in case it gets worse and still nothing. I think Siobháin said something and they were all very nice but I had to see a more senior doctor or something .. anyway eventually I saw a really nice doctor he took bloods examined me and then put me in a new waiting area (still same uncomfortable chairs) to wait for results and for me to get a drip. Now I completely lost it was crying and all and just wanted to go home. Siobháin was leaving that day to go to Mayo (for her wedding) and had got nothing done as a result of being with me, she tried to tell me anything to keep me going. She followed up several times to see about the drip.,, there were no beds so the nurse had to connect me there in the waiting room.. and as I cried and I think the nurse realized I may turn into the hulk with sheer exhaustion, angriness oh and hunger (always food related right?) she found me a bed.. To be honest after that it still wasn’t great the doctor came and explained it was basically inflammation of the bowel (he gave it a different term I still can’t remember) due to the radiotherapy treatment. He wanted me to take the drip as I was dehydrated, gave me some good drugs on script and said to give a few days and come back or go to St Luke’s if they didn’t work. I know they are doing their best and I don’t pretend to know how hospitals work but this beautiful brand new multi million emergency department took 13/14 hours to basically do bloods and give me a couple of litres of fluids.. not sure why or how it happens but the stress it put me under was next level and something which will stop me going in unless I am EXTREMELY sick. At the same time massive thanks to the lovely doctor and nurses who helped me.. This ordeal was pretty crap and stressful for me and everyone around me, annoying that my body waited until the week before the wedding when I was grand for the previous two months… But anyway the main thing it the drugs coupled with heavy carb (white only) loading helped and my bowel is currently behaving itself…

Selfie looking like cr*p in the hospital waiting area

So next up was the Mayo event of the year… Siobháin and Seán Gibbons wedding, and what a wedding it was. My brother Eoin, his partner and their two kids came home from Canada was our first time meeting baby James (7 months) and well I think I am his favourite. Saoirse being three took on Ireland like a pro and was just a whirlwind of pure joy. Their parents weren’t too bad either. We all headed to mayo for the week, I loved helping out with tying bows, and any little mishaps were fixed without any fuss. I think this was helped by the fact that my parents had a good catholic family of 5 kids and Seán’s went a few better and had the 8 .. so many hands make light work as they say and it was such fun.. the buzz was amazing. Louisburgh didn’t know what hit it when the rest of the Rushes arrived as us and Siobháin’s friends booked out the holiday cottages. Mossey’s bar was a staunch favourite as everyone prepared for the big day itself. They married in Ballintubber Abbey and then had reception at Breaffy House Hotel. It was magical, the morning in the house was just amazing, Siobháin was a stunning bride and her girls were the best bunch of bridesmaids as the team got to work.. Her besties Kayleigh and Emma were on makeup and well you can see for yourself they did a great job.. The Abbey was stunning Father Fahey did a wonderful service. I nearly messed it up myself forgetting the prayers of the faithful but Seán had it sorted and well if that’s the worst you know (I am so sorry guys). The day was amazing I cried so many times with just absolute joy for the two of them, they are a great couple and honestly I felt so honoured to be bridesmaid of honour or “chieffy” and be part of the day. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family to help us celebrate and well drink the bars dry. Thank god my body played ball too so I got to enjoy it all and hopefully didn’t take too much attention away as the one with cancer, although my cousin Louise helped take some of the limelight off me, she did an amazing job not a wet week after surgery and she kept it lit a lot longer than me.. massive thanks too to my friend Sarah who was like my nurse maid anytime my body threatened to give up again.. anyway until next time Mayo… 

So I was home from Mayo a massive 5 days before I flew out again to Italy for Elaine and Paddy’s wedding. In the middle of all the weddings, hens and confirmation I also decided to get the house done up, so tried to keep that ticking along and making sure we had everything ready for Séamus’s confirmation which was two days after I got back from Rome. I must thank Séamus’s school here.. Termonfeckin national school in particular the principal Mr Collin’s and his teacher Mrs McCloskey who have been just an amazing support for me and well Séamus (not that any 12 year old appreciates the school life). Due to everything Séamus has missed a lot of school but they were great about me stealing him for Mayo and then again a week in Italy..  Just in case you think I am the most positive person ever and never feel down.. on the Saturday night after the wedding before Italy we had a family day planned.. simple walk on the Clogherhead cliff followed by Fish and Chips on the pier (have you tried them? So worth the trip). This was before we headed to Italy and my brother and family headed back to a Canada, but I woke up in the horrors, see I had all of mayo no cancer then not home a day and have new appointments for scans.. don’t get me wrong this is a good thing.. well unless it isn’t. I choose everyday to stay positive as I face treatment, then recovery but there ain’t much I can do when waiting on scans to see if my body will be able to recover and I could communicate this but instead had a screaming match with Siobháin (they say those closest to you get it the most), the row was over nothing and over in minutes and then I just told her how I was afraid and feeling you know a bit SHITE! That’s all it took, just shared my feelings and I felt amazingly lighter.. see it’s ok to have a bad day it’s ok to feel angry, scared and everything in between but just try take a breath and share it. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that. Sorry Siobháin x

Saoirse on her hols to see the Irish cows

Back to Italy and how amazing it was. Me, Siobháin (her honeymoon minus the husband 🙂 ) and Séamus headed to the airport for our 6 am flight and well so too did half of Bettystown and Laytown (where myself, Elaine and Paddy are from) .. so we had a ball and yes I just mean the flight, possible one of the best things about Ryanair is their prosecco.. I am a lover so too is Siobháin. Séamus loved the coke and crisps.. and yes this was all at 6 am.. Arrived in Rome and we stayed at The Building Hotel and it was super fancy and amazing. Neither myself or Siobháin have ever stayed anywhere like it and we kept telling Séamus not to be getting notions you know. I had booked the three of us as a surprise (which I ended up telling both of them about because I can’t gold my p*ss) a junior suite which had a jacuzzi bath and well it was just stunning. (Cue the video to the family whatsaap to ensure a good enough level of jealousy) Anyway Rome was great all 24 hours, we took the metro around.. super cheap and fast, saw the colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps and well a good bit of Rome. I am thinking of treating myself and Séamus to another trip once I get the all clear as it was just wonderful.. oh I never mentioned the food and well every single thing was just amazing… I felt mostly good here but at times I was really tired but a small lie down and I was good for another while. At dinner in Rome all of a sudden I felt exhausted, this may have been too much food, the early morning flight or the 30 magnets I was carrying for everyone Séamus knew 🙂 .. in all seriousness though listen to your body and it will work better for you. After 24 hours in the city we all headed out to the wedding venue Borge Di Traglia and I think all 80 of us (maybe Elaine and Paddy more) had the best time. As you get older you just don’t have the same time to catch up with everyone but when your all in the same spot celebrating a magical day for two wonderful people the Craic is just 90. Two pools and hammocks had the kids happy out too.. food and drink was a little too nice and now I feel I may have to think about dieting… yep that thought passed.. I again had the best time being bridesmaid who knew I enjoyed being bossy so much (answers on a postcard)…

So we are now right up until Thursday 23 May.. home just in time to vote. Something I have never missed and feel very privileged to be able to do.. this year I brought Séamus into the little booth and showed him how it worked and to be honest I found it hard as I momentarily thought I wonder if I’ll see him old enough to vote himself.. fingers crossed though. I would like more people to show up going forward abstaining from voting does nothing to help. I find myself so frustrated with the system and how everything is so politicized that the real reason or need for decisions is being lost, but nothing will change if we don’t try get the right people in the job… Massive congratulations to my friend Michelle Hall (her son Liam is in Séamus’s class) who as a first time runner got elected locally as a Labor councillor .. I am not a labor fan and struggled here but voted for the individual I believed best suited to represent me locally.. Hall no 1. Also Tom Behan got elected as a Fianna Fall Councillor in East Meath again not a big fan of the party but what an achievement for someone just 31.. goes to show if you want changes why not be the change (that sounds corny but you know what I mean) ..

Saturday May 25th was Séamus’s confirmation and what a day it was. He just makes me so proud. He is as imperfect as the rest of us but totally more impressive than most (not biased at all). We had 50 people in our newly decorated house and the sun came out and we just had a ball. First time I had a caterer, first time I didn’t make the cake (well usually I make like 10) and well it is the way to go. I did have to make a mini sausage pie for Séamus as it was something his dad used to make and well I make now for any special occasion, to be honest it is revolting but he loves it… I did have a moment of fear when I was in Italy and I thought I haven’t tried on the dress I got for the confirmation since I bought it like three months ago.. and well my body since I started treatment has been a size 10 to 18 and every size in between, this would have previously freaked me out but now I think if my body does me a solid and kicks cancers ass I will love it a little bit more.. stretch marks, cellulite, flabby, wobbly bits… the lot. .. anyway it fit and not to stomp on Séamus’s parade but I was told I looked hot! (Does it count when a friend says it?.. anyway I will take it… ) Days like this are so important to me, family, friends together just celebrating life and all the good things…

So what is up next I had a Pet (this one makes you radioactive) scan last week and will have an MRI tomorrow for the results to be ready next Wednesday, the day my cousin has surgery, the day the leaving starts.. I am hoping this is a sign and will be a good day. But if not I know whatever is coming my way I have the best support system anyone could ask for. Please keep the cancers lighting, Mass cards.. anything at all.. I will take it all… 

I feel a bit naked after bearing myself so much above and I don’t do it without hesitation. But I do hope even one person reads this and understands Cervical Cancer is an absolute bitch so play your part to stop it… smears smears smears….. 

Please share my blog so more people become aware and together with smear tests, the HPV vaccine, research and treatment we can stop cervical and other types of cancer too. 

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