Cancer really is a bitch… But thanks for all your help along the way . . . .

It has been a lifetime since my last blog post. When I started writing I always said I would only do it when it felt right and I had something to say. I’m not sure where to begin but mothers day seems like a good start. My life long friends would know my mother and I had a tempestuous relationship when I was a teenager. She took a moment to adjust to her eldest daughter getting pregnant in first year of college but was right by my side to help every step of the way, changing his nappy during the night for me to just have to feed him. The first cancer diagnosis in December 2018 I feel was easier as there was more hope, hope to be cured and to live. This time around I find the heartbreak in my mams and families eyes hard. She has been by my side every step of the way since I got diagnosed last autumn. I am in awe of her strength and selflessness in taking care of me, my family and hers. I so wish I could fix everything for everyone and my family. They constantly do their most to reassure me on my crazy days, dry my tears on days where the tears just won’t stop and console me with hugs and kisses exactly when I need them. Not boasting but these roles are ones I am more used to doing for others than the current way of things. 

My mammy and me with the 2021 Daffs from Drogheda Dolls & Elmgrove Farm.

Cancer is a real bitch not just to the patient but to those around me. I sometimes feel like  screaming “DO YOU KNOW CANCER” (have you seen my no 0 all over?) . . . . I need help please let me skip the line because I feel like passing out. Then other times I want to be the healthy 35 year old mam able to mind my wonderful son, that helps my family and gets things done and have no link to cancer whatsoever. This is me interchanging constantly wanting so desperately to be well. So to see the worry in my folks, family and friends eyes can be overwhelming kinda exactly like cancer.

You may know my cancer has spread to my spine (T-spine to be specific), this has been the major source of my pain and as a result I got radiotherapy done in January to help with the pain. Unfortunately it was one of these scenarios where it had to get worse before it got better. I misheard the doctor and was working towards a two week recovery period when in fact it was more like six weeks. This might not seem hugely important but if anyone is a patient of cancer or any other illness these little goals are what your constantly working towards and to have the goal post tripled is devastating. 

Several weeks ago I had an allergic reaction to one of my chemo drugs which I got a huge fright. I have taken chemo quite well only having one other incident the last time I was sick. I hate to give out about the staff in the Mater and realise they are only putting procedures in place to protect them and us. But it is instances like this when they occur and your on your own everything is heightened. I began to feel a bit nauseous and then went into full shock. And the worry on the nurses and doctors face made me worry. I felt like the reaction lasted fifteen minutes when it was more like an hour. My dad had driven me to chemo that Wednesday gone to work for a little while. I said to the doctor he would get a fright so I waited to call him until the medical team had my situation under control. I was being kept in. Dad had to drive to Liffey Valley to find pjs, knickers and of course fluffy socks and munchies due to lockdown there was nowhere suitable closer. (Did I ever tell you what a legend my dad is?) I was kept for just one night thank god and well minded. This episode took me an entire week to get over physically and emotionally. This lead me right up to my court date. (More about that later)

A positive that week was the birth of my gorgeous nephew Conán followed shortly by my best friends new baby son Sebastian. These boys are literally my favourite people right now. Hugging them brings my such joy and sadness all at the same time. Obviously I want to live forever but need to be a tad bit realistic too. My goal is to get Séamus to college. So the fact is these boys may not remember me.. only memories created through hopefully flattering stories shared by their parents, my family and friends.

Since the my hospital stay I haven’t actually been that well. My pain has been out of control and very slow to react to my pain medication. My quality of life deteriorated and I for the first time began to feel like I had cancer and like I was unable to mind myself. Thank god I had an honest conversation with the oncology team and relayed my feelings and they adjusted my meds and today is day three and I feel like a different person. I had told them previously of my pain but in hindsight probably not the full extent so note to anyone as silly as me . . . everyone needs help sometimes 🙂 Don’t try and do it solo. I think for me I am constantly comparing myself to other cancer patients, like how active they are, cooking, cleaning etc… How stupid is that. I don’t know what cancer they have, treatment, well I don’t know anything about them and here I am constantly thinking I am not doing enough. 

Me and mam at the four courts – I felt right at home after series of the Suits

Rewinding back to the court date. In advance of today I mentioned court once or twice but with very little detail. On my Birthday 25th October 2017 I attended the colposcopy unit in the Louth hospital in relation to treatment for abnormal cells. Had a different type of treatment (Lletz) been given it was determined that I would have a 90% chance of survival instead of the 40% I had. My reasoning for taking the case was firstly to assure my crazy self I did nothing wrong and secondly for someone to be held accountable as I was under treatment for abnormal cells for eighteen months prior to diagnosis. The above is a simplification of events but the end up is a mistake was made, fault was admitted and an apology was issued by the HSE and compensation was made so for me it is a chapter closed. I feel I can receive the care I need, Séamus will be cared for and I can please god if corona fecks off have some adventures with my friends and family.  Article on course day https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/high-court/hospital-apologises-to-woman-with-terminal-cervical-cancer-1.4500253 My statement https://www.rte.ie/news/courts/2021/0303/1200627-courts-settlement-eileen-rushe/

So that was a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve done a few radio slots and newspaper articles which I do enjoy doing. I hope that Séamus in the future can be proud of me and the effort I made to help share the importance of partaking in any applicable screening programs and vaccinations such as the HPV. One of my most favourite organisations to work with is the Irish Cancer Society and in particular helping with  Daffodil Day. Daffodil Day was on Friday and it really lifted my spirits. This was after last week when Natalie and the Drogheda Dolls surprised me with 2021 daffodils. I feel so privileged to be surrounded by the people I am, I am constantly amazed by peoples kindness. I am in a Television ad for the cancer society which is super emotional. I’ll pop it below, I’m the very last scene and the naked bums running in to the sea.

I feel like I waffled a bit today but its been so long and so much has happened to try an fill ya in. A massive thing is happening right now. The Drogheda Dolls has launched a fundraising campaign in my name for the Irish Cancer society and the Gary Kelly Cancer Centre. It has just topped a whopping €15,000 so please feel to contribute to these amazing charities. To think in my name people are just so nice and blows me away. I’d love to thank everyone who helps me out along the way I might not always say it but really appreciate it. 

Link to go fund me https://gofund.me/907ac0ca

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