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11. Scan results

My heart was heavy last week. I got the call Wednesday to go in for my scan results. I knew it wasn’t going to be good. They rang me 2 days after I had my CT scan, any other time I’ve returned for results has been a week later. I managed to change hospital and oncologist in March so I wouldn’t have to deal with the ice queen and her damning words and dismissive attitude around my treatment choices. I have to say, I’m bloody glad I did because I’m not sure how I would have taken the news from her. She might have gotten a slap. Could you imagine??! So what is the news?
Well I’m sorry to say that it seems my cancer has progressed. Increase in size in all tumours, extra spots on the liver and the most worrying of all… Spots on my spine and a new metastasis in my lower back. That explains the stiffness and hip pain I’ve been feeling the past few weeks. I have a pathological fracture in my spine. That’s bone being eaten away from the inside. I’m not sure how bad it is but I am sure that if it progresses more, I may become disabled. That’s if my liver doesn’t fail first which is now a growing concern.
What the fuck are you going to do now, Mairead? 
Here’s the options…
1. Palliative chemotherapy being offered by the hospital (the same option they offered me back in August, this hasn’t changed). This is ongoing chemotherapy for as long as my body can take it. Would you choose a palliative option? Palliative is for old people isn’t it? I’m too young to be thinking about that. What happens then? Die in a hospice? It’s an option. But I don’t fancy it.
2. Do nothing – I’m probably not going to do that, I want to live so badly!
3. Continue doing what I’m doing with diet, juices, supplements, high doses of vitamins, cannabis oil, saunas and a whole range of holistic healing therapies. I’ve been doing this for 9 months and it’s exhausting.
4. Visit a European cancer clinic in the hope of making a full recovery. There are lots of different types of clinics which range from holistic to integrative (using western methods combined with supporting treatments including vitamins, minerals body healing shit ya know?). It’s clear to me that I need to do something more aggressive to try to get on top of this so this is my best option.
To top it all off, my breast tumours decided to break the skin about 6 weeks ago and I now have an open, non healing wound which I need to dress every day. It’s very unpleasant and will probably require surgery, something not being offered to me here in Ireland.
So there you have it, it’s fairly dismal news and I wish it was different but it is what it is and I’m still confident that I can make a full recovery. The challenge has stepped up a few gears and I’m going to need help now. Both professional medical help and financial help to pay towards the cost of the clinic. They are very expensive. We’re talking tens of thousands. I’m in contact with several at the moment and am waiting to see if any will take me (some don’t take stage 4 as it messes with their success rate statistics). I have preference for two which I’ll get into later but for now…
How are you feeling, Mairead?
Ya know what? I’m actually grand. I had a hugely emotional few days since I got the results Thursday. It felt like diagnosis all over again but worse somehow. It knocked me. And it was horrible. Luckily, it was well timed that I was going to be at a retreat a couple of days later. Amongst other things, I worked on releasing emotions (of which there were a few!) and connecting to my body. I feel grounded, centered and empowered. I can do this. I need help but I’m sure I can still make a full recovery. Are ye with me? We can do it together! All of your thoughts, prayers and well wishes are so appreciated. I feel loved and I know everyone just wants the best for me as a wise friend reminded me a while ago when I was feeling miserable thinking people thought I was stupid for the choices I made. Would I change that now? Yes and no. Yes in that I might have gone to a clinic sooner to increase the chance of a good outcome. But no because I’ve had some profound healing experiences along the way. But I thought you said it’s progressed? Yes it has but just because a scan shows progression now, doesn’t mean there was no healing happening at all. It seems that I don’t have control over my healing though and that’s to do with mindset. My focus can get swayed by influence of others. Things I read or hear… Or words that play on my mind which have come from the mouths of doctors. You’re going to die, your liver will fail…  Sometimes I’m firing on all cylinders and am a healing machine and other times, I think I’m going to die. And in those moments, I am dying. Thankfully I’m out of that headspace again and I am looking at a happy ending.
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I visualized my daughter in the future at the retreat. It was a very pretty picture. I saw her on her first day of school. I saw Paul, Ali and I walking on a beach at sunset holding hands and she was taller and older than she is now. I saw her as an adult. I saw her my age. I have a future. We have a future. She needs me. I had a particularly grim night recently where I got overwhelmed thinking of leaving Paul and him bringing Ali up on his own. I have a lump in my throat thinking about this again now. I can’t leave him. I can’t leave them. Ali will end up being reared on cornflakes and hot milk. What a tragedy with her mother having such a passion for healthy food! Help me stick around, please! I find it hard to ask for help let alone money but I really need to now. We have managed to offset the costs of everything for the past 9 months so far without any help but shit just got real and it’s time to take drastic action. I have family and friends ready to go with fundraising pages and ideas and I would really, really appreciate if you could help. I know that money is tight for a lot of people and please, don’t give it me if you don’t have it, but maybe you could contribute to a fundraiser in some way by lending a hand to the organisers or running one yourself. I want to stick around. My baby needs her mother. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I need it now more than ever. And thank you everybody, from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful for the kindness of people. Moving home after I was diagnosed was the best idea and I feel a strong sense of community support. For a town that I couldn’t wait to get out of as a teenager, it’s actually great. Home is where the heart is. Love, gratitude and hope. Mairead xx


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13 thoughts on “11. Scan results”

  1. Mairead, myself and our gang have been in touch all day, very worried really, can’t know what to do other than storm the heavens with prayers. We will work to help you do the best possible as you are now the expert on your wellness and way forward. Tell us your best option and we will start working to back it. Julie

    1. Thanks so much Julie, plans still being finalised but we’re hopefully going to Istanbul on Sunday for 3 months of treatment xx

  2. Hey cuz, it takes enormous courage and will, which i have nothing but admiration for, to do what you are doing and what you must be going through. Know that we are all 1 million % behind whatever decisions and paths you choose in your healing and will help in whatever ways we can. When i first got word of your situation all those months ago, i thought to myself, if there is anyone who can beat this, through sheer determination and courage (and a bit of stubbornness 🙈) that was Maireaid and even after this set back I still think the same. You will prove all the doubting doctors wrong, it always seemed impossible until it was done 👊🏽 xo

  3. Mairead i met you once cootehill, you were friends with my son Keith, You are a very brave girl, but Mairead would you not try the cemo along with the holistic therapies, Good luck in europe if thats what you choose xx

    1. Hi Patricia, thanks for the lovely message. I am going to ask integrative clinic which uses low doses of chemotherapy. The holistic methods just weren’t strong enough! 💕

  4. Hey mairead,
    You have an army of people who will be willing to do whatever we can do to help.
    All the best,
    Foley

  5. Dearest Mairead,

    Having read your post I would love to donate to your treatment. If you set up a fund me I will happily give you my support.

    All my love
    E

  6. Mairead, I know your beautiful sister Sandra. I’m so sorry for what you have been going through. My sister had the same diagnosis in 2015, but her options in Perth WA where fantastic. Double mastectomy with reconstruction, ovaries Fallopian tubes removed (We have BRCA 2 gene mutation), chemo and radiotherapy. Plus she did Chinese medicine and a diet of no process foods. She has done so well and is looking great. She gets checked every 6 months with scans. She has no signs of cancer at the moment (this is the new way doctors tell you are in remission). I have the gene fault as well and I am having preventative surgery – gyne and double mastectomy. Did you get tested for the BRCA 1 or 2 gene fault. It’s worth asking your doctors to refer you to the familiar genetics clinic in your area, so that if your a carrier your family can also get screened. Good luck with all your treatment

    1. Thank you for your message Clare, I don’t have the BRCA thankfully. Sorry you ladies are going through all of this, it’s tough going! xx

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