My name is Ann, and on the 31st of April, 2010, I was diagnosed with inoperable Cervical Cancer. We had a family wedding the following day, and all the family were asking how I got on. I told them there was nothing there, lying through my teeth as I did not want to spoil their day. I told my family the following day. I started Chemo, radium and Brachy therapy with blood transfusion and a good few visits to the hospital with excess bleeding. I was under the team of Palliative care for one year, due to having to take morphine for chronic pain. Each time I was admitted to hospital, it felt like I was on death row and waiting to be paroled. Thank god each time I fought it. I found a voluntary Cancer Support Centre called The Girls Club Cork, and this is where I put all my energy in my fight against cancer.
To say it was an easy four years would be lying. It was tough, but I think it was tougher for my family and friends looking on, feeling helpless and walking on egg shells. There is no course on how to talk to a person with Cancer. I ask from the deepest part of me to please get your SMEAR TEST and be aware of your body. Only you know your body, so if something is not right, please get it checked out. Tomorrow may be too late.
In May last year, I faced my fears and went to my Gynecologist. I was attending him every three months but asked for a total review again. What an amazing man, he did all the tests. I went back for the results, as I wanted to know if I had to get my affairs in order. As I sat in front of the Gynecologist, my knees were knocking. My husband was with me, and I could see the fear in his face. Matt said, “Ann you are cured.” I would have kissed and ate the Blarney Stone. I could not speak. Elated, I rang my only son in Australia and came home to tell my family. I had won the million dollar lotto against Cancer.
I work on a voluntary basis in the Centre, giving talks to various groups and organizations, and for the first time in four years, I am truly living. The following September, I climbed Kilimanjaro. Don’t know what I was thinking, haha, but each step was for my girls who were flying with the Bravest Wings to show Cancer we are coming for you and The Fight will never end. So please, if you are reading this, please never ever give up Hope. My Mantra each day was, “I got CANCER, but CANCER never got me.” Fight Like a Girl, and as we say in our native tongue, “Is Feidir Linn.” Yes, we can Beat Cancer and get the Cure. x
Be Safe and Well. Hugs,
Ann Dowley Spillane
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.