Joe and I have been married for 40 years. Joe has always been very active in our community of Dunmanway, West Cork and even more so since his recent retirement. In April Joe was diagnosed with Myeloma, a hard knock for our family. Joe initially had 16 weeks chemotherapy treatment in Cork, followed by surgery and a 5 week stay at University Hospital Galway – the specialist centre for Joe’s type of cancer.
As well as worrying about Joe’s diagnosis and how he was coping with treatment, I was very anxious about how we were going to manage financially. You think about saving for retirement or holidays, but you don’t think about saving for being sick. I worried about where I was going to stay for the 5 weeks that Joe was in hospital in Galway and applied for a credit union loan to pay for accommodation.
Then by chance I heard about Cancer Care West and their support for families of cancer patients. When Joe had his first week of treatment in Galway in September, Cancer Care West paid for my bed and breakfast. Not having to pay for accommodation was a huge relief but after a week in a B&B I knew that when we returned to Galway for 4 weeks in November that I would need a place of my own – a month is too long to stay in a B&B. Cancer Care West organised an apartment close to the hospital – I can cook and do washing, there is space for our children to stay at weekends and I can relax during the time I’m not with Joe.
For Joe, knowing that I am ok is a huge relief; a huge pressure has been taken from us and he can relax and concentrate on getting well. I do know that Joe is ok for now, but with the type of cancer Joe has, he will need to have this treatment again. I can cope with this because now I know I have the support of Cancer Care West behind me.
When Joe gets home we plan to do some fundraising for Cancer Care West, but no matter how much fundraising we do, we can never express what their support has meant to us.