'It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, you need to check your body, because the issue is not going to wait' - Cristina’s story
After two diagnoses, a mastectomy and a breast reconstruction, Cristina Loiola has taken one big learning from the past year.
“It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, you need to check your body, because the issue is not going to wait. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or if you have good or bad English, you just have to do it.”
The pharmaceutical worker from Dublin was on a visit home to her native Brazil last December when a routine health check flagged a concern. Cristina was visiting her sister who was going through treatment for cancer at the time, and four days before she was due to return to Ireland in January she was shocked to receive some worrying news of her own.
“At the time I was wishing that the doctor in Brazil had made a mistake. I didn’t tell anyone about it except my brother, until I arrived back in Dublin when I told my lovely partner and he was amazing.
“We went to the breast clinic at St Vincent’s Hospital and I received great care from the brilliant professionals they have there when I was at my worst moment.”
Cristina’s diagnosis was again confirmed in February, where she was told that surgery was needed swiftly due to the risk that it could grow.
“We caught the cancer very early, so I had two surgeries without the need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy,” a relieved Cristina says.
After a mastectomy and reconstruction Cristina recently received the news that she is now cancer-free, as is her sister in Brazil at the moment. Cristina is due to start a course of tamoxifen, but will rest for a year first.
Cristina first came to Ireland in 2017 to learn English, and is most appreciative of the reception she has gotten from the locals since then.
“I wanted to help people and I read about the Irish Cancer Society shop in Rathmines. I had some time because I came to Ireland to learn English and I wanted to have contact with Irish people, and I thought it was a good idea to do a voluntary job.
People were so kind in the shop and there were other students like me there at the time.
“I have also received great counselling support from ARC since my diagnosis. Overall I just want to say a massive thank you to Ireland, and to Irish people because everyone has been so kind and supportive here which I’m very grateful for.”
Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line
If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.
Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm
For more information
1800 200 700