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Image / Editorial

We Need To Talk About Cancer


By Ellie Balfe
11th Mar 2016
We Need To Talk About Cancer

As today is Daffodil Day, here on image.ie we are dedicating a lot of our content to talking about cancer; it’s elements, effects and evolution of care.

We are featuring some truly inspiring people who have all either been touched by cancer or are involved in caring for people who are dealing with it. Their stories and advice both teach and touch and I am extremely grateful to each person who has contributed to our focus.

Personally speaking, I know only too well of cancer and it’s long arduous, dark journey. My lovely Mum was diagnosed three years ago with CLL, a type of leukaemia. She has gone through two rounds of chemotherapy, the first for nine months, and the second for eight months. As the effects of the treatment took hold, we watched her deal with her weakening energy, we watched her deal emotionally with her change in circumstance, we watched as she endured bone pain, huge sensitivities and allergic reactions to drugs, once having to be carried to the car by my Dad and brought to hospital as the pain was too much for her to walk. We watched as she battled with her mind, body and spirit to find some solace and peace throughout her experience. But that was really all we could do – watch. When someone is going through this it can be very isolating, in fact it is isolating for both the patient and the family. It throws a family into quiet disarray, no-one really knows what to do. Everyone feels disempowered. ?The familiar dynamic is broken, the worry is all-consuming. And it doesn’t really lift.

Oddly, and as with a lot of these stories, you become ‘used’ to it, you cope, they cope and you get through. It hasn’t been easy; not for her – she has suffered greatly, and not for us – we felt helpless. But we did all we could, which was to be with her, to chat, to try to entertain, distract and divert. To bring flowers, hugs and to hold hands. There’s really only one thing you can do as a family member- be there. Just show up. Be as strong as you can and sometimes then, go home and cry.

So, my family are just one of so very many and I know that what gets you through is other people. Obviously the specialists who are treating you are vital, but so are the listeners… Support comes in many forms – hairdressers, fitness experts, natural health practitioners, makeup artists, counsellors and style advisors as well as friends and family. ?I hope today that you feel moved to donate to the wonderful and essential work of The Irish Cancer Society by clicking through to them here. They work passionately and tirelessly to ease the way for cancer patients and their families- they are the epitome of caring support and I personally think they are a beacon of light for people on the dark road of cancer.

I want to offer my huge thanks to our friends, Triona and Louise who have offered up their time to delve into their hearts and write what they found there.

Out of the dark comes light and I hope we can at least play a tiny part in that illumination by shining a little torch this week!

@EllieBalfe

If you want to make a donation to the Irish Cancer Society you can CallSave 1850 60 60 60 or visit here.