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I'm Shinada Moore, and you are listening to everyone on the podcast.
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This week, I am joined by an incredible woman who earlier this year was diagnosed with terminal cancer, yet here tells me it has taught her a new level of happiness and that life is worth fighting for. This time last year, Alana Sheehan gave birth to her third baby, a little girl, Phoebe.
By January, the night of Phoebe's christening, Alana had her first seizure and by March, she was undergoing brain surgery to discover the true extent of her illness and diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a very rare, incurable cancer with a 50 percent chance of surviving longer than two years.
I can't find the words to describe the impact of this conversation with Elena has had on me, I can't find the words to describe the lessons she shares here about life, about why nothing matters except our health, about how we can't afford to take any of this for granted.
We have been given this one extraordinary life and it is ours to live somehow. In the midst of 20/20, Alana is kicking cancer's ass. She's fighting back. She challenges us all no matter what. We are battling to do the same. Alana, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. You look so full of health and vibrancy and happiness and oh, I'm just so happy to see you here. Although if I assume which is really upsetting still, I hate I would love to have met you in person, but I just think you're doing you're such an inspiration to us.
And what an incredibly tough year. You're so brave. Thank you for joining us. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you. And you know what? If you were in the same situation, you would be the same as we think. You probably think you wouldn't, but as mothers were tougher than we think we are and we we just get our sorry, we just get our shit together for our children. And that's, you know, you got to do what you gotta do.
You have three little kids. The youngest was due this time last year. Take us back to. Yeah, take us back to this time last year when you were waiting for your little girl to arrive. So Phoebe was born on the 11th of the 11th, but is six days away. I think it was a week before I was due Phoebe. I was at home nesting like a crazy woman, just normal stuff. We were after buying our house.
And I knew that I was having the Garceau in my mind. I just I couldn't believe my luck like everything had finally, you know, we had for years we had worked our asses off and we were finally where we wanted to be. And the house was ours. And I was having my girl. Our family was finished, everything.
So then I went into labor on the 11th. And while I was in labor, we actually got a phone call off. Our sister stayed at the house like everything legal had had come through. So it was officially ours while I was in labor and everything just seemed perfect. I honestly, I was thinking like, I am the girl that has it all. And my main worry was. When I go back to work, how the hell am I going to manage a three year old in one preschool, a five year old starting primary school and then a six month old and crash?
That was my main worry. I was like, how am I going to do this and get on time for work? And, you know, I the boys had moved because we live in this area. The boys had moved Kresh to this area. So I was kind of even though we've lived here for six years. That was all in there as well. So I was just worried, like, we're going to find a childminder, all these silly things.
In the end, it just didn't even matter. So basically, I had Phoebe just madly in love, her labor as well. It was just everything was just perfect.
And then we were living the life like, you know, just living this dream my life.
Like, I'm not even joking. Like I was exactly where I wanted to be. Everything was just wonderful. And then Phoebe's and I just decided my family from South Africa and England were coming home for Christmas. So I decided that I wanted to get her christened around Christmas. Like, normally I waited a year or whatever, but I wanted my family to be there. So I decided to have her christened on the 4th of January. And that was the nice that I had my first year, maybe three years ago.
I had a really, really dizzy spells and like, you know, just normal life, just busy mom. I was working full time and kind of here and there. I went to the doctor and then I came because it was quicker than going to the doctor. And I ask if you are this is so important for every woman as well. If you are feeling sick, if you feel like there's something wrong, no matter what anyone says to you, if you still feel it in your gut that something is wrong or something isn't right, listen to yourself and stay going until you feel happy with whatever results you get.
That's just so important because I wish I had done this, but I was just. I don't think it would have changed anything in the long run, but, you know, when you just look back and think about stuff first, I had a history of headaches and headaches from when I was about 10 and I went for MRI and CT scans and nothing came up and then they just stopped. But then I started getting these dizzy spells. And I mean, it was like I was like spinning.
I crashed into world. I wasn't able to drive. And I went to my doctor. I went to a doctor and she prescribed me with Sudafed. I'm like, that was just give me a prescription for suicide and sent me off. And at the time, I was like. OK, there's nothing wrong and kind of as well, I think I wasn't thinking this, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking, you know, like I'm just I'm too busy.
Anyway, I don't have time to go to the doctor. At the time I was working, but I was working three days a week. But in those three days, I was working 14 hour days. Let's say the Friday and Saturday were about 14 hours and it was just manic. Well, I had to do what I had to do to get our house. And that way as well, I got to spend more time with my children. So, you know, everything everything was.
How it was for a reason, you know what I mean? Like, this is our life and whatever, but it's such a common trait in us. We do so much. We we take on so much to try and achieve those goals. But yet we let ourselves down as a result. Yeah. One hundred percent. And I think people, when you're in that situation, you just don't see it. But now when I look back, you could pay me all the money in the world and I would never, ever have that lifestyle again.
I wouldn't put myself through that. I actually I could just cry for myself. And I know so many mothers, especially Irish mothers, are the same that they just look after every single person and everything, like the house is shining. But you might have had a shower for three or four days.
It's just it's absolutely pathetic. And I know, like I do see myself slipping into that routine again. But to all the mothers, it's a cop on and look after yourself. And I say it and I have to keep on reminding myself it's true. No, thank you.
It's the kick that we all need all the time. You don't prioritize our own health and we don't know what's around the corner. Yeah. So how do you feel the day of the christening? Was there any warning signs with the day of the christening? This is again, like every time we have a party and with Christian was just because there was probably about at least one hundred and fifty people at our house. It was massive. And I'm sure my mother is a chef.
So we always go all out. I cook everything ourselves and then try and get lamb like we were just absolutely exhausted. It was the same with any other party, but I felt I felt completely normal. I felt kind of shaky during the day. But I think I just thought it was just a bit stress, a bit of stress and just I was just tired because I just had a newborn as well.
Like she was little. I think she was probably about six or maybe eight weeks old, Max, I can't remember. But we went to the church, had a lovely, lovely day. Everything was like I never thought that that was coming.
And we came back home, had piracy and everything, and then that nice myself and went to bed. And I like I wouldn't have known anything that happened. Only he said it to me the next morning. I was fast asleep and I just started shaking in my sleep. And like, we didn't I don't even know what a seizure was. And Martin, both me and I was after biting down on my tongue and he woke up to the sound of me choking on my own blood.
And so luckily for me, he was there. He turned me over. So he turned me over on my side and I was OK. He knew I was OK. And then the next morning I woke up and he told me and I just I actually wouldn't believe and I I did not believe him. And he just said, look, and he showed me my pillowcase and I just I knew that he wasn't my son. I don't know why you mess like that, cos I honestly thought it was a joke because it was just so unbelievable.
But then I think it was over Christmas, obviously. So I have to say, I think it maybe three or four days to see the doctor. I just told her what had happened and she said seizure is a very, very strong word. I knew. Like, Martin wouldn't overreact, Trentham, he's a very kind of straightforward man, black and by the way, he described this, I know that's how it was. So I said that to the doctor and she was kind of OK, maybe not.
Oh, I don't know. But anyway, I just I said, look, I want my Bloodstone and I want you to check me in every single way that you can check me, because I have never had any history of this.
So I need to see if there's something wrong, my blood, urine, whatever. So we did that and nothing came back afterwards, OK? Nothing came back, no, everything was fine, it was not in your blood or anything, any indication that there was a problem?
No, nothing. And then that was the 5th of January. And then I was fine. I completely fine. But still, I was I'm on maternity leave, so I'm at home every day with the big thing and fear. Next time he did have preschool, even words like that. You had preschool at the time. But because I live in the country, I, I just kind of made up my mind. I was going to send him two days a week because I couldn't actually drive.
And it turned out it was taken hours to get in and I was just too much. So we were at home most days on our own and Martin was home probably six or seven or even. So then it was the. The week of Valentine's Day, I spoke to one of my really good friends and the both of our Faymann, my husband, her boyfriend are workaholics and they're actually pretty good friends as well. So we were saying to each other, look, we're not going to be going anywhere on Valentine's Day because it's Friday night.
So why don't we just spend it all together and just have this big cheese love fest, you know, like us and the children, and make Valentine's cards and just have a little thing nice. So. I the day that I was going down to my friend Cristina, it was Valentine's Day, Friday 14th, and I had packed up the car, I had a really bad pain in my back, my lower back. And I do I have back trouble anyway.
But this was really, really bad. I was barely able to walk. I just managed normally. I would love and her and said, look, I'm not coming down, I just can't. But I got some Angel was looking over me and said, get in the car and go to your friend's house. Otherwise, I would have been with the children on my own the next day. And we at that stage, I had decided from January I was like, look, there's something wrong with me.
I'm just I'm not OK. Normally I'd be a lunatic. Like, I would knock back a bottle of wine on Friday night after work. I do the same again on Saturday night because I was home late.
It would help me sleep and it's just the life of the shit.
But from January 4th onwards, I had decided that I just I'm not drinking. Like, I just there's something wrong with me and I need to I don't feel like I knew, like, even that night that she's my best friend. We would have had matters and wine and watched crap on telly. But I sat there. I had I don't know what I had. I had a big bag of crisps anyway and something which was so, so, so unlike me, and then just went to bed as normal.
And then the next morning Phoebe thought, I actually I feel emotional now. She was in her little house and I didn't love her baby girl from Valentine's Day. And I stayed up in the bedroom upstairs in her house. And like I walked, I woke up, managed to get out of the bed with my back, and I'm carrying Phoebe down the stairs and I mean, I got to the sitting room, which was about five steps away from the stairs, and I just walked in and I could hear my friend think, Morning, Harry.
Hi, Phoebe. And then I just felt I looked at her and I tried my best to open my mouth. But like I said, I still get that feeling. Now, if I am going to have a seizure, like my whole tongue getting pulled back to my throat and it's like. If you could fight it as much as you want, but you can put to the ground with Phoebe in my arms and I was just looking at her and I was trying my best, I couldn't even open my mouth.
And I was trying my best to reach out my arms to get Phoebe onto pouch or even just to put her on the ground safely within.
Like all of our children, we had her to and my team in the room at the time, children in the room and Christina came over, grabbed Phoebe by the babygro and luckily caught her. I collapsed onto the ground and I was violently shaken, like, I don't remember anything. I completely passed out, luckily enough, and I was just having a seizure. And she. Christina. I think I was having a seizure for maybe 10 minutes. She rang the ambulance and they were talking her through everything to do with me.
But she said all together, it went on for about half an hour, but there was no blood this time, Ranthambore. She said, I was it was foam coming out of my mouth like magic, like my children are there watching me and so are her children. And then all I know is the ambulance came then. And in the meantime, once the ambulance got there, she had rang my husband and her partner. So they came down and I think they were only working maybe five minutes or so.
Then everyone was there and Christina was just rubbing my head. And she's such a good friend. She wiped all the foam from my mouth, like, find the girl who goes back for you. That's the truth. I don't remember any of those. I woke up in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and it was probably half an hour away. And I just woke up and I was so scared because I didn't know why I was there.
I was just so confused and I just wanted to scream because I didn't. I don't know where I was, I didn't know what had happened, and then the ambulance driver started asking me questions, he was asking me my name, I knew what my name was and he's asking me what age I was. I don't know what age I was. And he was asking me about my children. And I knew that I had children, but I could start crying now.
I knew I had children, but I didn't know what their names were and I didn't know what age they were. It was just it was so scary because I knew I knew I was a mother, but I just didn't know anything about my children. Like, it was so frightening. I think I like it's all kind of blurry. I went I went to the hospital and. And once they came round, I remember they come in to see me and they basically they filled me in what had happened, but I still I still had no idea what was wrong with me.
And I was thinking, OK, maybe I could possibly have epilepsy or something. I'm actually done. And I always thought, like, I was the real kind of. I don't know. I am actually such a relaxed person. It's a bit of a joke, like I like to get things done, like I'm a busybody. I am completely one hundred miles an hour at that week and stopped on because I am such a relaxed person. Like I was in hospital and I was I was chilled about what?
I was fine. What I stayed in that hospital for, probably that was combatted for about maybe six days and I had no idea what was wrong, like not a clue.
I went in that hospital, but they said something had come up. So they wanted me to go to caucus. So I went to Cork and I met with a neurologist and he accused one of the best smart and competent made him.
And he just said, OK, so something has come up in your scan. Still, even at this time, I wasn't panicked. I was completely fine. We had a blast in the ambulance on the way down. And so he got up the image of my scan and I could see straight away it was my brain is like this. And a quarter of it was a completely different color. So I knew whatever it was like, it was really big.
It was like, well, from looking up at the view that I got, it was twenty five percent the size of my brain.
So he basically he he was just so strange about he said, look, we can just leave us. Or if she said, I don't know what it is. But he said it's a pretty I said she said there's probably a three percent chance of cancer, that the the image of my brain normally when it's cancer is around the age of the scan has kind of close and it's a bit messy. But this was crisp, crisp, clear. So he said he was highly, highly unlikely that it was cancer.
But to find out, I would have to have an operation and they'd have to do a biopsy on whatever's in there. So with those two choices, like I am proactive about everything. And of course, I don't know who would say just leave it. So I was like, yeah, one hundred percent just will do this. Obviously I didn't at that stage as well. I still don't know how serious the operation and their son would be, but I agreed to go ahead with this.
And then while I was there, he was like, OK, that's perfect for see you on whatever it was. And it was six days time. So I was kind of thinking and I was like, oh, gee, is my first time thinking this actually might be something serious if it's six days time, like normally, you know, if you get your time for or something. But I guess the next year I was told it was a brain tumor and I was like I was upset, like the whole journey back.
Like, my mind was just going a hundred miles an hour, but it was going a hundred miles an hour because I had a brain tumor. I didn't think it was cancer and I didn't know anything about brain tumors or anything like that. So he knew there was a mass there, but it wasn't clear whether cancerous or not. Yeah, so you agreed. So what happened six days later? So you were in to guess. I went I went back to call my mom and my husband came with me, they were basically they came in with me that morning because I said I'd wait around and get some stuff done before the operation and they were with me and I wasn't like the night before.
I remember taking photos with glucan with them. And I think I was taking them because I just remember I didn't tell anybody, but I just I'm getting emotional now because this is even like the first time we're seeing this stuff. You're really good. But I just remember taking photos and I had my hair down and. In my mind, I was like, yeah, like I'm going to be bullied because I'm not going to go around with half my hair like I'm all or nothing.
So I say, I'm going to get the operation done. I'm going to shave my head. And already the night before, I was just getting emotional, thinking about losing my hair. And I was taking pictures of me and the boys. And like I was I was definitely feeling something. I was. I was just upset I had to go through this, I think, but I was still very, very positive. It's like it's not cancer.
I'm just I'm just sad. I go through this operation. I go through this, but I'm going to be fine. So that morning, I went there, my husband and and got in the gown. I had to have, like, a part of my head shaved already. And I was like, that's fine. And I remember saying to the doctor, look, just go just shave off all you have to do. I don't I don't care.
Like, I am mentally ready for this, but they just shaved a tiny piece and I went down for surgery and they were all lovely. I just they were so nice. They just made me feel very, very comfortable. And I basically the surgery for the surgery, I had to have basically. Metal ping all around my head, obviously, to keep me in place, I was screwed to something I don't even know. I didn't actually see it, but I felt I had marks on my head afterwards.
But I was awake for about half an hour after surgery. Obviously, I couldn't feel anything. But it was actually it was kind of funny. I had to have a squeeze, a squeezy toy in my left hand. And so while they were doing whatever they were doing, they like to squeeze the toy and had to squeeze us and keep on squeezing so they could basically dissect as much as they could without affecting the movement on the left hand side, my brain, because the right hand side was affected in my brain.
So that was that half an hour. But like in that half an hour, I kept on obviously, like I'm highly like out of it, like so much medication. And I kept a for kind of falling asleep and I said, I'm sorry, I'm just so tired today. But then I kept on snoring so loud. I kept waking myself up and I, I was mortified. I was so embarrassed. I'm so sorry. But what's operation and like before like, I'm laughing now.
I thought I was actually like, no time for the thank God. Like, sometimes all you can do with that was like going into operation. I knew there was a side effect, like I might have trouble afterwards with my speech. It could be permanent or it might be temporary. I just felt that if something went wrong, like I could end up paralyzed on the left hand side of my body. It's like it was a very, very serious operation.
I have a huge scar on my head. Like, I don't mind. I ended up with I think I have to play a plate in my head. I hange and a couple of screws. It was a very, very serious surgery.
I'm not lying. They're anxious. We're not lying there. How did you manage those fears as you're lying there knowing that these risks were there? I know like there's an end goal, you know, when you were hoping for the best but to be awake, to be lying there, to feel know you don't feel the pain, but you can hear the noises. You you're you're aware of the situation. How did you stay calm?
I actually I really, really I have no idea. I think, like, I'm not like poor me. I am far from poor me. Like, I hate anyone. I don't even even everything I've been through. I have a little bit of sympathy for myself, but I'm never like, oh Jesus. You know, for me, I've had a lot of stuff go on in my life. And I honestly think, like, really, really bad things.
And I just think it's just prepared me for this, you know, the way I would like go through it for a reason. My life has prepared me for this. Like I wasn't. I really I wasn't I wasn't that nervous. Like, I was a bit nervous. I didn't I was like, I'm going to be fine, OK? I know I'll be fine. side-Effect twice. And even that morning, I know my mom probably had a heart attack once I went for surgery, but I remember one of the doctor thanked me because we were half an hour hyper.
I don't know what we were last night. We were probably just all like nervous, freaked. But while I was in the bed before they took me down, we were having the time of our life. And one of the doctors, while he was waiting me down, he actually said to me, Do you realize you're going to brain surgery this morning? I said, yeah, I don't want to be sitting down crying.
So laughter really is the best medicine. Yeah, it really, really is. And sometimes, like, it's all you can do, you know.
So the surgery came and went. You you woke up, you didn't have the side effects, thank God. No, but when you get news. Well, I I was after that, I was in hospital for maybe two or three days just to see how everything went. Basically, I had the dressing on my head just to wait to get new fresh dressing to make sure I was OK. La, la, la, la, la. And I can't let out hospital.
And normally you would get the results and maybe, I don't know, Max, a week, but the day I got out cold, it happened like the whole country. I walked out of the hospital and basically they locked the door behind me. Oh my God, I'm grateful I got my surgery when I did that side, I was very, very lucky. But I was told, OK, look, I'll ring you with the results. Normally, we would have you come in and meet the doctor and go through everything with you.
But they said, look, we're going to have to bring you the results. It's probably going to be seven days. So I didn't hear anything. I like one side of my brain was so, so slow. Like, it was really, really frightening at times.
Like, just I remember one day Martin asked me to send e-mail for him, and I just sat there silently with the phone because it took about an hour and I didn't I still couldn't send the email I sent to me in my life and things like that. I was making the boys bed and it took me maybe four or five hours under to think about. And I still wasn't finished, you know, so I was struggling with my brain. I wasn't even really paying for the first week.
I wasn't even really thinking about bringing the doctors or my results because I just wasn't able like I was just trying to function on my own, just a normal thing.
And then the week went by and then it was I Fitzmartin. It's like I'm kind of getting worried now because we haven't heard anything. And I was like, I've enjoyed like ignorance is bliss, but I kind of need to know now. So then it came up to the two week mark and at that stage we were just kind of getting annoyed because it was like on wait, I'm sitting around waiting to see I have cancer now and then. I think Martin basically random every single day on the third week.
And then when it was exactly three weeks, he I got a phone call, like at that stage I had my phone in my hand like 24/7 because I was waiting for them to ring. And I just ran upstairs because I didn't know what they were going to say. And the boys were downstairs. I ran upstairs and I kind of knew the second I answered the phone like what he was going to say. And he just said and I just said, OK, what's happened?
Because I'm upstairs now. I just closed the door and he said, it's a high grade tumor, Alana. And I didn't even know what that meant. I just said, OK, do I have cancer or not? I got this I had I brought over the two weeks because I knew how bad my head was. I brought down the list of questions that I wanted to ask the doctor whenever I got to talk to him was how I found out I had cancer.
And like I literally. I had someone who had just. Just kills me what I was still alive, like, I was in so much pain, but I was still alive and I was just trying my best just to think because I knew it was really hard to get hold of him. I spoke to the secretary at about 50 times and it was really hard to hold him. So I was just trying my best to just get myself together. And I was just looking at my book, but I couldn't breathe and I was trying my best.
But I had stupid question throw down like, when can I go on holiday? When can I drive? Like, these were the questions I had prepared because I thought I didn't have cancer. So a lot of stupid questions that and instead then I still have I still use that notebook because it's dated this year, you know what I mean? Like, it's my diary and I still I still have that page. I have to actually put up my screen some time.
But he was basically telling me over the phone, you have a high grade tumor. It's glioblastoma. Grateful for whatever, I had never heard of any of this, I didn't know how serious it was, I just said to myself, you know, just things just kind of ignorant questions you think of if you don't have if you don't know anything about cancer, just normal stuff. And so I just said, am I going to die like this?
Affect my life expectancy expectancy. Yeah, this is my brain now. And he was like, yeah, it greatly affects your life expectancy. But I didn't know if I had a week to six months, five years, I had no idea. And if I had asked him, he would have answered me, but I just wasn't able to. So then Martin walked into the room and he knew, like I was lying on the ground with a pain in my hand, just trying to write down as much as possible.
And he just looked at my face and he sat down beside me and he was just crying his eyes. I was like it was just it was absolutely horrific. And I still I look at that page and I'm so proud of myself because I had wrote the nurse's name, like my treatment plan, like all this stuff. I don't know how I did this. You know, like I all we found out was I'm going to have to do chemotherapy for six months or I'm going to have to do radiation for six weeks.
My nurse was going to be called space and that and that was it. And then he was like, OK, do you have any more questions? And of course, I had I still have questions today because I wasn't able to get them out. So I just had no doctors. And so that was that. And basically all I had then I didn't start. My brain had to heal from the surgery course. So I still can't remember how much of a break I had.
But I'm going to say it was five weeks and then I started my treatment. But in those five weeks, I like I didn't speak to another medical professional, so I just had Google and Google said that I had I think it was like 15 to 12 to 15 months to live. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. So I, I had started already because the house had officially became ours, like we had lived here for five years before. But I, you know, once it's yours, you start putting in the law and everything.
But I had started doing boxes for Phoebe, Finn and Luke like their baby boxes, like dummies and, you know, like their first baby girls and blankets and all the stuff. I had started them. But I remember my friend coming over and I basically said, OK, everything's OK because I have their boxes on like no one else would be stupid just the way I was thinking. Like it was just. I did I did feel sorry for myself, like it was just absolutely fucking horrific.
Like I said once once I found out, I, I basically I didn't want to hold Fabi, I, I didn't want to be near the boys. I just wanted to be on my own because every time I'm sorry now, but every time I looked at them. I just I was so aware of how much I had to lose. I just I didn't want to be near them at all because it just upset me and it just ripped my heart apart, like you can imagine.
Oh, I, I, oh, I actually can't like because I couldn't cope. Yeah.
Like it was just horrific. I felt like someone was tearing like really really like violently like ripping my like the most pain you could imagine. I sat down one night to watch like Martin actually said to me, you need to like go can't just get in there and sit down with the boys and watch the movie. But I was sitting down beside them and I was rubbing their hair and I was smiling like why the movie was on. And I just had to get off because I just wasn't able.
Like, it wasn't just like, you know, just a little terrier here and there I was sobbing my heart out and I didn't want them to know anything like they had known I was so open and honest with them, you know, like I'm going to get this operation. And when I came home, they shaved off my hair so they could be part of this and all of that. But it was just it was just too painful. Like, I really I just I say for about I don't see time, like I just don't know.
But I cried myself to sleep every night, like I was just like, yeah, that's it. I'm a dead woman walking. Because it's not the girl that you see on Instagram now, but, you know, I have had to go through all of this to get where I am now. If people are like, you're so brave, I'm going to do the same thing, but I'm not like you. But I. I went through this, you know, I it's been a long road.
So what came next in the phases, you know, so if that's how you were feeling when you were diagnosed.
And they say there's all these stages of grief for what came next for you. And I think, like I think my mind is kind of protecting myself now at this stage, I think because I just can't even remember. And I think, like, my head has blocked it out. Yeah. But I think once I went for, I started looking up stuff. Everything was so grim I could not find one positive thing. I was looking up images of like what my head was going to look like radiation.
And then I started radiation and I was crying. I was thinking. I started my Instagram halfway through radiation, and at that age, like they give you the doctor, they told me I have a 50 percent chance of getting past two years. I thought at that stage I was like, OK, but that's still crap. But like, that's a lot better than what I thought. And so it kind of like. It was it was extreme, like the worst of the worst, and then it was worse and then it was bad and whatever, but like I think I said to myself, I read somewhere something, right?
Like, I yeah. Like as I said, I had always come across everything. There was always problems thrown at me throughout my life. And I'm always someone, OK, I have a problem. I'm going to get through worse. What can I do to help myself. But then this was the first time and that's why it was like a nightmare. It was a problem that I couldn't make away, but it was always going to be here.
So I was like, OK, I just need to change the way I look at us. And basically, I just don't. I only live.
Day by day now, I don't think if I can go any further, if I think in a few years or something, I'll break down. I just go day by day and I just start being positive. I joined and I know I sound like a greenie, but I join two groups on Facebook where I'm like, obviously doctors have to be very matter of fact about aspartame and they do have to prepare you for the worst.
That's their job. Yeah, of course, boss. On Facebook, I felt like I felt like I was I'm not even a joke. And I was like, I am probably like one of three people in Ireland who have this, probably one of 50 in the world. Like that's how alone and. Just yeah, I just I out on my own and I felt like no one else had this, but then like after time I started realizing, like I joined this group on Facebook's Facebook where there was presence of people with the same thing.
And I thought it was an old man's cancer like that. Men got it between 50 and 70 years old. But as time goes on, there's children with this, with teenagers, there's adults, there's loads of other mothers. And there is like 70 year olds that have had it for like five years and that are still alive. Like saying that like I still could die after two years. But I fully believe now like now I. I am absolutely grace, and I'm really, really proud of myself just for getting as far as I have come, but I fully believe now, like going from other people that I have spoke to.
If you look after yourself, the best you can, if you like, for cancer in general, like I am not a doctor. This is my opinion. I would say, like if you stay away from carbs and sugar, your breathing really improve and your circumstances and your giving yourself the best shot, basically in my in my case, because it's so severe, I feel if I eliminate carbs and sugars and stick to a really, really good diet, take supplements, take as much as I can, I'm giving myself the best fighting chance possible ever.
Like there's a 60 something year old man in America.
And he has had it for I think he got diagnosed nine years ago. So I'm looking at that thinking I am a thirty three year old mother and I've got like my husband, my family to fight for, surely, like I'm just full of so much hope. I am a dope, full of hope. You're not a dope full of life. So I think I match the cake and I don't know what's going on. And I'm like, oh, I know I will always have cancer.
And I know that it is terminal cancer, but I am just hoping that I will live with that for as long as I possibly can. And I will do anything I've got to. I, I love my life. I love my house. I love my children. I love my friends. I love I really I'm such a lucky girl in every other way. Like, I'm not going anywhere. I can just go go away. Leave me alone.
I adore you.
I hold this attitude like you are. You're taking no prisoners. You are no. You're not going down without a fight. And you are. Oh, when you spoke there about your diet and sugar and carbs and nutrients, it just made me think like, why do we wait for a diagnosis to choose us to give ourselves the best chance? Why don't we give ourselves the best chance now?
Today, I know, but like, it's easy to say that. But I know for a fact, if I didn't have cancer, I'd still be having the kind of Red Bull. I'd still be skipping breakfast, you know what I mean? I would. And that's just how life is. It really, really is. But I do think as well, I think when you have cancer, you get cancer because your body is missing and your immune system doesn't have what it needs to fight off the cancer.
Like there's loads of studies done now that are basically saying the only way to cure cancer is to assist your immune system, to fight it off. So I do think, like, there's obviously something wrong with me that my body can't fight it off right now. So I just need to help us. I could be talking about it waffle, but it's helped me get through what I need to get through right now and give me strength every day just to get up and.
You have a good day and look after myself and just keep hope, but that's the most important thing. It's what helps you in the moment, day by day. What's going to help your head get through this? There's too much to enjoy with those three kids. And it's wonderful life that you built with your husband.
Yeah, like, I really as well. I'm so I'm sure if you spoke to anybody with cancer like this sounds like such a contradiction because, like, I am just so grateful, like before before I had cancer, like, I was like, oh, it's not this is annoying me all upset over this and stressed out with this. But really, I didn't have one single problem before I had cancer. I had there was nothing wrong in my life.
I was just a whinger and I was stressed out and I was tired and like I just think everyone needs to really just kind of look at their life and assess and see, like, I know it's easy for me to say now, but look at their life, assess it and see what's really important. And if you're feeling upset, if a commute is killing you, maybe just change your job like, you know, some things just don't matter.
And they're the things that we think matter until our backs against the wall. Do you know what I mean? Yeah. Like, I really know that I have cancer. Like, I just like I'm like this favorite rose tinted glasses, but I just like if it's sunny outside, I'm just so happy. It's a nice day and I'm not thinking of anything else. I'm just so in the moment with the boys as well before it's like, no, I haven't been this horrible mother.
And then like, you know, I love my children more than anything. Like sometimes instead of saying, oh, let's bake a cake together, let's paint, I would have been like, no, I need to clean the kitchen now. I need to I need to wash the floors. But now I'm like, no, like the floors. They can wait until tomorrow. I'm going to do the painting because they want to paint a picture, you know, little things like that.
Like it's easy for me to say now because I know, you know, because I'm a freak. But just to every mother, like especially mothers, because mothers are absolutely brilliant. And the only reason we're washing the floor and cleaning the kitchen is for our family. But they don't care if it's clean or don't care. They don't. So, like, have the fun with them instead. Obviously, clean your house. Both don't make it for their priority like they are their priority.
You are going to kill them now when they get home.
After all, do you think despite everything this year you found actually a new piece of happiness?
Yeah, I like I feel like I know the meaning of true happiness. Now I feel I can cry. You can say and it sounds so cheesy, but yeah, I just I know the absolute true meaning of happiness. Like, I don't get stressed out over stupid stuff anymore. Like I all that matters is. My family and I faced this and, you know, like the first the first, like talking about covid and the first time I didn't give a damn because I was actually so happy.
I was devastated. The only bad thing. I was devastated for my husband because he couldn't see his parents are both very old. One one, one seventy something. One is something. So. He couldn't see them and I love them. Well, I was really devastated over that, put everything down to the ground because I was locked away just with who I needed to be with. And I was able to process all of this. And, you know, if there's something like, say, if you have a problem or something to when you meet people like, oh, how are you?
And you have to keep on reliving it over and over again. So I was just happy that I didn't have to relive it over again. I kind of came to terms with it myself on my own behind closed doors. And then in the meantime, I decided to set up my Instagram, and I did that kind of I think I think I did it because I wanted control over over my sickness, like I think I never expected. Like I've twenty thousand followers now.
I never expected that I did it because I wanted to hurt myself. I wanted to. Do it for my children to see if you ever have a problem, no matter how hard it is, you can get through it. I swear, like I didn't know what do do by the minute. I see you later. I'm dead now. But I basically I'm living with them. I'm leaving them with, I don't know, my personality, but I know like what I liked, what I didn't like.
The three of us playing together like our family life I think is just invaluable like that way. But then as well, another important thing for me was like, I even know myself with someone fake, like you hear all these rumors and like, oh, I heard they got their head cut open and they see that. But I just wanted so people going around saying, yeah, she died last week or she's dying in three weeks time.
I wanted it all to be like factual facts coming from my mouth.
It wasn't Chinese whispers It's the story of your life. So you you get to tell us. Yeah, basically, yeah. And you've had such huge support since launching the Instagram and from your local community, and it's incredible to see the outpouring of support. Yeah, it's unbelievable.
I think I have I'm that I think I know for a fact I have cried more times over people's generosity and love and support than I have over having cancer. And that's amazing considering like I have terminal cancer, I like there are no words and I even get emotional. Think about again, there are no words. And I actually find it really, really frustrating at times because I want like everyone, people who just give me a like kind of photo, someone who has donated a fiver on my golf on me, or someone who has messaged me to say, I hope you have a lovely day.
Every single person in the village, like the support I have received, is just endless. And my gratitude, like I need to stop from trying because I'll never I'll never say or get across what I want to get across. But people are just amazing. And I wrote a post the other night, and this is the first time in my life asking for help because I am like a strong woman. I don't need anyone. Yeah, right. But it's my first time asking for help and I'm after getting nervous and I just think to everyone back, stop.
No matter what it is, if you're just have to break up your boyfriend or your terminally ill or your cleaning your house, if there's someone there offering you help, just take the help. Like don't don't do things on your own to everybody. And everybody feels the same. People are so nice and everybody is willing to help each other. There's no reason for anyone to suffer with anything alone, and especially mothers. I can't say this enough. You're just so incredible.
You're so inspirational. I know you don't want to hear that. And I know you don't think us. And I know you're like I'm just me. I'm just getting on with things. I'm just doing what you have to do.
You're not your perspective on how you have turned this into a program, but how you've turned it into a positive, how you have seen it as an opportunity to be an even more incredible mother and give your children these beautiful memories and not have them see sadness, but to see you actually, like, live your life. And at the same time, send us all these lessons about like the stuff that we worry about doesn't matter, killing ourselves over a clean house on a career and no sleep and running on empty.
That stuff's not life. That's not. And it's such a shame that its own it has to take this for us to realize.
I know, but I honestly like just the last bit that you described, like career clean house, a hundred miles an hour. That was my life before. And if I didn't have cancer, I probably should be doing the same thing, because that is like it's just it's really, really sad. But like and I think especially I just my heart breaks for women because, like, you know, even my mother in law, she had eight children.
And she she says to me, I'm like, how did you do? And I spoke to other women, like other older women with loads of children.
And they said, I just feel sorry for your generation because you expected to have the children and you're expected to have a career and you're expected to have a house and you're expected to look good. And you know what I mean. There's just so much my heart breaks for women because it's not our fault personally. It's just everything. Kind of backed into us that these are all things that we need to do and we all need to have it all at once.
And it's just it's not fair. Like, do you feel do you feel the same? Oh, all the time, yeah. Like, I'm looking at you, you're doing your job and like, your amazing. Did you know this does not feel like a job?
This feels like the luckiest thing I get to do what I'm looking at you and I'm thinking your amazing dream, like all that informs this isn't do my job sitting at home.
I'm cuddling my newborn. I'm having the most you know, I get to sit down and you get to teach me something and I get to give that out on the Internet and the hope that somebody else listens to us and that they get something from us that that doesn't feel like work, that feels like the luckiest thing I get to do.
Yeah, I know that is it is a nice thought, isn't it. We should be doing is looking after ourselves. That is the only thing that matters.
Looking after ourselves and our children and just like having like frequent meals, like small things fast. We don't do a shower is not a break. No it's not. I know I've often felt like I am at the spa. I'm like, oh my God, I'm going to foliate and I'm going to shave my legs.
Well, that's just you're spoiling yourself now.
Would just I know it's ridiculous, but it is just so true. It's true. We need to look after ourselves, and I hope that if anyone listening today hasn't got that message across. Yes, yeah. That they start looking after themselves. How are you feeling about, you know, the the treatment coming down the line and just. Twenty twenty one. I well, everything is like a process, like if you ask me a month ago, I, I was feeling really scared about chemo ending because I just feel like I'm kind of out on my own.
But to be honest with the statistics, if you have your operation, your radiation and chemo, then you have a 50 percent chance of getting past two years. So I have decided that I am actually I'm really, really excited now to finish chemo because I read I get really depressed like all that week when I know I'm going to be taking my chemo, but I'm so depressed and it's like it is literally setting me back a week, you know, health wise, mentally, physically, everything.
It's just I feel like I'm being pulled back every month. So I am so excited to finish treatment and like to start going just to get into routine, to start going for a walk every day like I am finally at home. I'm not working just to get into my new prolonging my life routine. You know, I am just really, really excited. And I want to like normally I like my idea of a good time, like would be like if I could do anything, like, I would just there would be probably drinking involved, involved with my friends.
Like if you know, my social time, not not with the change in my life. I don't like alcohol, but now like I want to do things like I want to meditate and I want to read a book in the evening, like get off my phone for a while. I just I want to go for a walk, I want to like I am a really artistic person. I want to get back into that again. I want to just do real things.
You know, I don't I would never, ever drink again, stuff like that, like that life is gone now and I am a little bit sad over it because I love getting up and going out for a night out. But why I like this is where I am now and I'm just looking forward to my new life.
And I said to Martin the other night, so I'm going to look at flights for like February or something to go somewhere. So I am I am actually kind of worried about the world I like. I'm kind of freaking out. That sounds so dramatic, but like, what if I die? And it's course it is still here. And one of the things actually on my list is my friends moved to New York and I was just after having fun and I started flashing before.
So we're all going to go to New York and get our careers and everything. But I still have never been to New York and I really want to get there. But right now, there's no sign like I'm not ready to go anyway, like I'm thinking maybe next year or something. But yeah, I pressure like f off. I'm going to give it a year. Like after that I've got things to do. So please. You know what I mean.
Please. Yeah. I just, I'd love to just. Yeah. Just have memories of my family. I think in the meantime we're going to get a caravan and just take off everywhere in Ireland. What a great idea. That's right. It would be nice. Oh, I could talk to you all day. I really could. And I'm just I'm so grateful that you have been so honest and sharing your story, you know, here today.
But in general, to give us all the kick, we need to realize how fortunate we are, how much we need to look after ourselves, how much we have to live for. And as your Instagram says, that we all have a life worth fighting for.
Yeah, definitely. One hundred percent. I wish you such good health. Thank you. And I really I really mean this. I want to see I want to see you kick his ass. Yeah. And and I want to see you create wonderful, gorgeous memories and happy days with your family. Thank you so much.
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