Barbara Blue from Costello, Co. Galway discovered a lump on her breast in June 2022. The 47-year-old mother of one assumed it was most likely a cyst, but went to the doctor due to a strong history of cancer in her family. She had been experiencing extreme fatigue, which she put down to long Covid or perimenopause. In September she was called for a mammogram, and ended up having a triple assessment.
She heard the dreaded words ‘you have breast cancer’ on her daughter DeAnna’s 21st birthday.
“I was by myself when they gave me the diagnosis. I was stunned, and really numb at first. I was asking the consultant questions, but couldn’t absorb everything he said. It just felt too surreal. He left the room, I made eye contact with the support nurse, and then I just started bawling. I kept thinking it was my daughter’s 21st birthday, and I had to break such awful news to her, and that broke my heart. I also just felt shocked and scared.”
Barbara began treatment as soon as the hospital could get her in. Unfortunately, she suffered a severe allergic reaction to her initial chemotherapy plan on week three. Thankfully she had no such reactions to the next type of chemo.
Amongst the various side effects were hair loss. “It was a blow at first when I lost my long hair, but you do just get on with it as there are more important things to worry about. I haven’t bothered to wear my wig as I find it uncomfortable. I actually think it would feel strange to have hair again now! The side effects of chemo aren’t pleasant, but taking it day by day works for me. You learn to enjoy the good days when you have them. I like to do nice things that aren’t too taxing, like going to the cinema or just having a cuppa and a laugh with family or friends.”
Barbara is still undergoing chemotherapy every two weeks. She is awaiting genetic test results before her medical team determines which surgery she will need, and the rest of her treatment.
Although Barbara has had a very tough year – she also lost her Dad in 2022 – she has been blown away by the support and kindness she has received from family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
She is sharing her story to encourage others in a similar situation to reach out for support.
Daffodil Day 2023
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