I better start off by introducing myself and explaining how I even ended up with the cork cancer care centre.
It started in 2016, I was your average 23-year-old, in my final year of college in Carlow, who loved going out going with my friends, going to festivals, had a part time job, the usual. On our exam results night in September, I celebrated a little too hard and ended up falling down a hole in my friends back garden. I cut open my hand and my head. The next day my parents had to come up to collect me and they then made me go to hospital in case I needed stitches! While I was in hospital, they did a routine chest X-ray as the radiologist was a student too and wanted to practice. 3 weeks later I found out I had a tumour in between my heart and my lungs. It was stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had no symptoms.
For the next 6 months I had chemotherapy while continuing in Carlow doing my final year. I then moved to Dublin to get radiotherapy as the tumour was too close to my heart. A week later when I thought I was finished everything, I started getting night sweats and pains in my side and couldn't really breathe properly. When I went back into hospital, they found out that the cancer had spread to multiple places and that I was now stage 4 and would need a bone marrow transplant. So, I went back on a more intense chemo while they tested my siblings for bone marrow. As none of them were a match they went to the world-wide bank where there is 25million donors. None of them were a match either so they decided I would have an autograph stem cell transplant which is when they use your own bone marrow. So, I went up to St James hospital in Dublin I was put in isolation for a few weeks and had my transplant the day I was meant to graduate.
3 months later and I got the all clear on Valentine's Day. Now it's just check-ups every 3months for the next 5 years. I'm still recovering as my immune system is useless now but I'm getting there.
And all that brings me to now, while going through all that The Cork Cancer Care Centre supported me and my family. Genuinely don't know what we would have done without them.
The team in there are a real-life Heroes. My mam went too the centre before I did because of so many people recommending it to her. When I got sick my mam became my full-time career and gave up work to look after. I really believe that your family are your rock when you are sick, and they need to be strong to be there for you. I had a rule that no one was allowed cry around me. The centre made my mam strong by giving her counselling, treatments such as reflexology, reiki, energy healing, angel cards and massage. By supporting my mam, they were actually supporting my whole family.
I then went to the centre and I can’t even describe what they did for me. It was so good to go somewhere, where people didn’t look at me and feel sorry for me or whispers about me or just act sad around me. In the centre I was treated normal which is all I wanted. I was supported by people who actually understood what I was going through. While going through treatment you aren’t allowed do so many things but, in the centre, because the volunteers and staff were trained in oncology, I knew I could do things like certain massages and it would be safe. I got reiki, reflexology, shamanic healing and so much more. It was the one appointment I would look forward to going to instead of always having just hospital appointments. I also met such amazing, friendly, inspirational people through the centre. Many of these people I now call my friends. They are always there for me whenever I need them. What I love about the centre is how personal it is. It’s like going into someone’s sitting room. The people in there don’t treat you like some number, they know you and your story. The centre isn’t just there for you during its opening hours, you can contact them at any time and they always will listen. My family and I are genuinely so lucky that we had the centre to help us through the hardest time of our lives. And even now that I am clear since February, they still help us, but now my whole family go including my dad. I’ve had treatments done since, I’ve done a mindfulness course in there and I get lymphatic drainage done each week in there too and all of this is for free. So, I was delighted when Linda asked would I be the ambassador for 18 to 30-year olds. It really is a privilege and I am so lucky that I am now able to help them and say thank you for everything they have done for me. The doors of the centre only stay open by the fundraising and gifts of the public. We are very lucky to have so many people help us, help the people of Cork who really need it
On this date (8th June 2018) my family’s life changed, some for the worst but some for the best. Being diagnosed with breast cancer changes your world. I felt like I was in Willie Wonka’s wonkavator. I was up down left right, all over the place with all emotions possible. I know for a lot of people Cancer has not been so kind and has taken away so many good people. For me it has shown how strong I am and what wonderful kids I have and how they have given me the opportunity to make this journey a happy one.
Every cloud has a silver lining if you look close enough so I choose to make each stage of the treatment a fun one where possible. I am now thankfully all done, just for my yearly check-ups. I have learnt a lot thought it all but most of all I’ve grown and met some amazing people along the way. I have met lovely nurses, doctors, etc but the best bunch of people are the Cork Cancer Care Center, they have been there for me through thick and thin, through the tears and laughter. I have been able to be truly myself and they provided the means for me to grow and get better both physically and mentally. I will be forever in their debt.
I’m putting this out because I want to let people know that Cancer is a horrible disease and it should just F**k off, but without it I don’t think I’d be in such a happy place right now. It’s not all doom and gloom, I am a face of someone who has been through the ringer and still come out shining, and so have many amazing people. Cancer is something that should be talked about and not hidden, it’s not a taboo and the more we talk about it the more we learn and get better educated. Knowledge is so important.
My advice if you know anyone who is going through this journey or is nervous about what to do if they know somebody going though is just talk. It’s the best medicine for the soul. A simple text, message or card can help so much, well it did for me.
My name is Jasmine and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in summer 2019. I knew the cancer centre already because I was supposed to volunteer here as Reiki practitioner which I was very much looking forward to. When my Garda vetting was finished I was just after getting my own diagnosis which was quite a shock. It took me a while to be able to turn to Linda and the ladies for help because I felt like I was the one that was in the role to give not to receive. I’m glad though I did I got lots of help from all the ladies and I always enjoy having a good chat with you Claire. My favourite thing to do is Music, I sing in a band called Firefly-Cork, and play low whistle and do some gardening and arts. I am very grateful for this group and the centre. Where you can talk and also rant and cry if needed without being judged. I’m in the middle of treatment now. :) here is a picture of me with my steroid hamster cheeks and my partner who I’m very grateful for too
Hi everyone, I’m Gemma I was diagnosed with breast cancer Nov 2015. I had chemo followed by a lumpectomy and radiotherapy. The pic is with my daughter at my 50th last Nov something I don’t think I would have done but it created a new (good)memory for Nov for me. I met Linda when “Bartlemy Woolies” were giving some blankets, in 2017 she invited me up , I called to centre delivering more blankets and Linda made some appointments for me that have been so beneficial. It’s lovely to chat with Claire and others in the centre. I’m presently crocheting to pass time. I love walking to clear my head.
About this blog.
We tell the stories of our Warriors. They have written down their Story of Cancer down to share with the world. Some cured cancer, some are still fighting it. Read their stories and leave your comments below.