Clocking Up The Miles
Retired bus driver, Sean Kavanagh, has certainly clocked up the miles during his long career, driving school buses and tour buses all over the country. It was a career he enjoyed, meeting people from all over the world and showing them the delights of our island, particularly proud of his home county Leitrim. He was coasting into a well-earned retirement, no longer on the road every day, when he suddenly found himself on the road again but travelling for an entirely different reason. Sean was diagnosed with Prostate cancer and needed to have all of the medical procedures and treatments that go along with this diagnosis. This involved regular trips to Galway to see his oncologist and the supporting team who helped him throughout this unfamiliar journey.
In May 2023, Sean started a round of radiotherapy treatment – thirty-three sessions over seven weeks. Despite his comfort with life on the road the daily trips from Leitrim to Galway seemed daunting, so Sean was delighted when he was offered a place in Inis Aoibhinn, a residential lodge for radiotherapy patients attending University Hospital Galway. The lodge is run by Cancer Care West, a West of Ireland charity, located on the grounds of the hospital. Sean was allocated his own ensuite room for the duration of his treatment. He was able to travel from Leitrim on a Monday and return home on Friday, staying the four nights in the wonderful care of the Inis Aoibhinn staff. Sean has nothing but praise for how they looked after him, “Everyone who works here is exceptionally friendly and helpful. They cannot do enough for you. It has made a difficult period in my life so much easier and even on occasion, with the chat and banter it’s been fun. I was so well cared for and everything was done for me to ensure I was comfortable.”
Sean decided to also avail of the rehabilitation gym programme Cancer Care West offered from their support centre just down the road from the lodge. Alazne, the Exercise Physiologist, designed a programme to suit his specific needs. Sean had never attended a gym before, so this was new to him, but he was delighted he availed of this service. “I enjoyed going to the gym and spending an hour or so there during the day. The programme included some exercises which helped me with the side effects of my treatment. I also did some yoga which helped me keep mobile without over-stretching myself and I always felt energised after my sessions.”
As Sean looks back on his time at Inis Aoibhinn he has some words of advice to others “I highly recommend to anyone located on the West coast of Ireland who is starting out on a cancer journey to call Cancer Care West immediately. They provide a range of brilliant services, free-of-charge, and they do so with such kindness and compassion. They really do clock up the miles with you on your cancer journey and their support makes it all so much simpler. I will be happy to ring their bell to signify the end of my treatment and with that I can go home, but I will never forget how much they have done for me.”