Many times I have been asked to write about my illness but I never felt able. I kept all the happenings in my head, the good and bad experiences. My children gave me a recipe book for mother’s day but I didn’t keep recipes in it. Instead, I began to write down my thoughts often late in the night when the house was still and I couldn’t sleep.
I was diagnosed in December,2003 with an incurable cancer called Multiple Myeloma which left me with no immunity to fight any kind of infection. I had my first Chemotherapy session on Christmas Eve of that year and have been in treatment of one type or another ever since.
Since 2003 I have had a major health event every single year. In 2005 I suffered organ failure and somehow pulled through but took a long time to recover while still continuing with my treatment. In 2006 and 2008 it was pneumonia and in 2007 Swine flu. I underwent stem cell treatment in 2009 as this had produced great results in a number of cancer patients. Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky ones and after spending six weeks in isolation had to continue with traditional treatment. Moving on to 2013 I was delighted to be included in a new treatment under clinical trials in Ireland. I was deemed suitable for the trial but before the trial began the cancer had spread to my ribs and I had to have radio therapy to heal my ribs before I could begin the trial. This I did in late December, 2013.
Today, this treatment has been discontinued and I now have weekly chemotherapy.
My message is one of resilience and determination and hope. I am here for my family and realise that above all they are what matter most. I have great devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and have been on Pilgrimage with the diocese many times. I like nothing better than to talk of my experience in my local cancer support centre and anywhere I can to raise awareness of this devastating disease and how it might take over your life but not your self. I am Catherine first and that is how I want to be in spite of the knocks. People say that I am so strong and I am strong and will continue to fight this because in time this disease will be curable as many types of cancer already are and in the meantime… I am here.