A cancer diagnosis can come at any time in your life and usually comes out of the blue, when least expected. Christina Doherty was preparing for a planned hysterectomy when hers came, after her doctor decided to send her for a mammogram to ensure all was good prior to her surgery. So it was that Christina had her hysterectomy as planned and only a few short weeks later a mastectomy. This was then followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a course of Herceptin during which she developed heart problems which necessitated the installation of a stent. An awful lot for one person to cope with in a twelve month period.
One bright time for Christina however, in amongst all of her health challenges, was the weeks she spent at Inis Aoibhinn, Cancer Care West’s residential facility for patients on radiotherapy. Christina had her treatment in University Hospital Galway five days a week over a period of several weeks. During this time Cancer Care West provided lodging and meals for Christina and her husband Thomas at Inis Aoibhinn which is located on the grounds of the hospital. Christina remembers “Tommy and I stayed there for four nights each week travelling home to Foxford for the weekends. Really everything and everyone was so wonderful I could not have been more happy. One of my best memories is of us all gathering in the sitting room for a sing song in the evenings. My husband and I love music and to be able to relieve the stress of the day with a lovely sing along in the evening was a real joy.”
Christina and Tommy also availed of the Cancer Care West Mayo bus service and she explained what it meant to her “We were picked up every Monday in Foxford and taken to Inis Aoibhinn and then home again on the Friday. Some weeks I had to stop off in Castlebar for other treatment and the bus driver took me right to the door of the hospital. He was so caring and kind. This service is absolutely brilliant and, at a time when things were very tough for me, it really helped a lot.”
Christina is doing well post her treatment and glad to be back in Foxford enjoying life and keeping busy with her seventeen grandchildren. She remains grateful for the great care she received throughout her cancer ordeal and especially for the wonderful service provided, free-of-charge, by the Cancer Care West team. In return Christina and her family have done some fund-raising for the charity resulting in a generous donation – hugely appreciated by all in Cancer Care West who were really enjoyed Christina’s and Tommy’s company during their stay.