Raising Awareness, Getting Real: Dad Has Cancer.

Raising Awareness, Getting Real: Dad Has Cancer.

Aloha,

So, a lot has happened over the last few weeks and my social media accounts have been practically deserted. If you’ve been following me a while, you will know that I went through a breakup last year, moved out on my own and have been recording all of my ups and downs in the meantime on Snapchat and Instastories. It’s been an adventure. But just as I kind of found a rhythm, of course, life has a lemon. My Dad has been diagnosed with cancer.

I am currently sitting on a mattress in my childhood bedroom that I am in the middle of moving back into. I am needed at home now so my ‘independent woman’ lifestyle is gonna have to be put on hold. Also, ya’ll know I’m supposed to be moving to New York in June. I don’t know what’s gonna happen there yet. I would rather stay and be with Dad. Dad would rather me go. It is yet to be decided…

BUT would you look at that? I’m back again with another positive, happy-go-lucky, exciting blog post that’s probably going to bring your mood down like a lead balloon. Not exactly a topic I thought I’d be writing about- EVER. Not because it’s a private matter, which it is, and I’ll get to that in a second. But mainly because I didn’t think it would happen to my family. This blog post is basically a recap of all that has happened over the last few weeks just to touch base with where we are at with treatment, emotions and life in general. I will also leave awareness links at the end for you all to check out and I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT if you actually did because THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT.

And before anybody gets curious, I asked Dad for his permission to share our journey as a family on my blog. He understands how open I am to you guys and was totally okay with me updating everybody on our current situation. By being open about how we are all getting on is purely motivated by the possibility that we may help somebody else somewhere along the line. Which as you all know, is one of the reasons I started this page in the first place. Also, it will hopefully raise awareness around cancer, the affects of and some of the support systems there are for families in Ireland.

I don’t want to go into too much mad detail about how and when exactly we knew, or what exactly happened and where because to be honest, once Dad got diagnosed it’s like every single significant moment that led up to that moment completely melted away. But I’m gonna share the key moments, that I can recall, just so you know how we got here and understand the journey that we are on.

Basically, Dad & I were having a movie night and all of a sudden, he got like a wave of pain over his bladder and abdominal area. The pain was so bad that he actually threw up and went this grey colour. Of course, me, I started slaggin’ him! Mainly because this was a completely weird thing to happen and I just thought he was over-reacting a bit.

If you’ve seen pictures of Dad or if you know Dad, you would know that he is 52 years of age (looks about 38), is incredibly fit and healthy, handsome and strong. He’s a super slick and stylish traditional skinhead, who loves music more than anything in the world. He’s covered in beautiful art-like tattoos. He trains like a mofo & eats clean. He does not smoke, is not an addict and does not harm himself in any way with chemicals, extreme activities or anything else for that matter. He lives a relatively normal life- goes to work, eats right, exercises, likes to read, loves his dog and the family… So for him to just collapse like this was a bit of a red flag. After I’d finished laughing with him about how weird this situation was, I asked him if he wanted me to bring him to the hospital. When he said yes, I definitely knew something was wrong. Dad hates hospitals.

Now, about a year ago Dad had some issues with his prostate count. But the doctor told him it was nothing to worry about and that it would go back to normal with some antibiotics and multi-vits.Β  Nothing more was thought of Dad’s prostate until Dad reached Vincent’s hospital and they began to run really serious tests. Then, we became concerned- especially because they kept him in for a week until the tests had been done thoroughly and he had been monitored. In the mean time, the pain didn’t leave. He was put on medication, though. A point to make is that Dad has also had cancer before. When he was 29, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in his chest. He responded well to treatment and was given the all-clear when I was about two.

So after a week in hospital, Dad was let out and told to take it easy and to keep taking the pain relief- which he did. Then we were called back in for the test results. Dad and Mom went into the room to speak with the doctors while I recovered in the waiting room from a peanut allergy I’d had about an hour before the appointment- typical me. I knew by Dad’s face as he walked out from that appointment that something just was not right. Dad followed doctors to another room and Mom came over to fill me in.

Dad has been diagnosed with Stage Four Prostate Cancer. It’s aggressive. We don’t know what type of treatment is the best option yet, but he has gone to meet his team of nurses now.

For some reason, it didn’t sink in for me in that moment. And to a certain degree, it still hasn’t. We had to wait a week to hear back about which treatment would be the best option. Because of the level of aggression, they won’t operate. They have chosen to do chemotherapy and radiotherapy instead. Dad has his first appointment for treatment this week, so we will know a lot more then. He was really upset that he has to do chemotherapy because it made him so ill the last time. But that’s why I’ve moved home. We’re just giving all of the support that we can and surrounding him with as much love and comfort as possible.

But it’s like the calm before the storm. I think that’s why it hasn’t hit me yet… because the actually hard graft of it hasn’t really begun. Dad still hasn’t become extremely ill. Emotionally, it has taken it’s toll on the family. My family unit consists of Mom, Dad, my brother, Eoin (who’s 28 but acts 21) and me. The dynamics are interesting, to be honest. I’m a lot stronger than I thought. I’m a very ‘get shit done’ kinda person when things are under heat. My Mom worries a lot, understandably, and Eoin is, at this moment, not his best. But we are and always have been a really honest, open, close family and have always managed to keep each other strong. I do honestly believe that things will be okay, no matter what the outcome. We will always have each other in some way.

So, this is why I haven’t been on Snapchat or doing my daily videos. I have been moving house, spending time with family, trying to get through my final year of college, show up for work, stay fed and watered, be strong and stay positive in the mean time. And I know I don’t have to share everything with you guys. I understand that this is a really personal issue and that maybe you don’t want to know. But someone out there might really need to relate to this. And if my family are strong enough to share it, I don’t understand why we shouldn’t. We have managed to keep an extremely positive atmosphere in our home. We laugh everyday. We make fun of the situation, we make fun of each other and we are staying as hopeful, yet grounded and realistic, as we can. It’s a really bittersweet thing because in a very sad way, it’s making us all a lot closer.

Anybody who knows me, knows that I am 100% Daddy’s little girl. We have always been so close. I’ve always been a bit of a tom-boy and it has been because I’ve just loved spending time with him so much. From boxing to fishing to football… We’ve been best friends. Don’t get me wrong, we are also very alike. Which means we can hold down a good scrap if we have to. BUT nonetheless, our relationship has been a bond like no other since day one. These next few months are going to be really tough for my family. But it’s so important to remember that it’s not even about us. It’s about Dad and making sure he’s as comfortable as he can be through all of this. St. Vincent’s hospital have been absolutely brilliant and are hopeful that the treatment plan they have decided on will be successful. We are all completely optimistic and believe that Dad will have no issue overcoming this. Yet, we are all very aware of how life works. We are not stupid. We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. Not because we don’t have faith, but because we just can’t know how life will happen. Nobody does. Sure we never thought this would happen!

Disclaimer: I do not want the documentation of this journey to be a negative one. It is a pillar of strength for anybody going through the same thing and we, as a family, are completely open to any advice that anyone else may have. I have always openly shared my mental health, feelings, life and emotions openly and really did not want this situation to be hidden or kept in the dark.

For those of you that know Dad and are wondering how he is, he is actually doing fine for the moment. The treatment hasn’t started and his pain relief seems to be keeping things manageable for now. And if you are a family friend and this is your first time hearing about it, we are genuinely sorry. Things have been so crazy and we just haven’t really known how or when to tell who.

I will be sharing our journey- the ups and downs- as we go along so if you want to follow how he is and how we are all keeping, Instagram is your best bet! CLICK HERE to follow my Instagram for daily Insta stories & posts.

Now- the important stuff. As mentioned above, our openness is in hopes to inspire or help people going through something similar, but more importantly to RAISE AWARENESS.

Cancer is linked, a lot of the time, to ill health. My Dad is a perfect example of someone who is completely healthy but incredibly unlucky. It can happen to ANYBODY. If you have not been to the doctors recently- go. Get a check up. If you have an ailment you have been putting off getting checked- go. Get it checked. Life is just too short and we genuinely just never know what is around the corner.

I’m gonna link some things below that I really would urge you to check out. If you have any questions, all of my social media accounts are always open and I will reply to everybody.

  • CLICK HERE to read about PROSTATE CANCER. What is it? What are some of the indications? How will I know if I have it? How do I get checked?
  • Some men do not want to get checked because the actual procedure of prostate checking isn’t exactly glamorous. GET CHECKED. Do not be sorry.
  • CLICK HERE for more information on some of the earlier signs of Prostate Cancer.
  • CLICK HERE to visit the Irish Cancer Society’s website. They have been amazing in providing resources and support to our family at this difficult time. And if you have it in your account, even two euro a month goes a really long way in helping families get through times like these.
  • Last week, we lost a very close family friend to their battle with cancer. He was cared for, also, by the staff in St. Vincent’s hospital. They do tremendous work, day in day out, to look after all of their patients. If you have a spare minute or a fiver to spare, CLICK HERE to donate to St. Vincent’s Foundation. Funds go to patient care, research and education.
  • CLICK HERE to follow my Instagram- where the updates and information on Dad’s journey, my journey and the rest will be.

If you take anything away from this post, let it be that just because you think something won’t happen to you or your family, doesn’t mean that it won’t. Appreciate everybody in your life and PLEASE stay on top of your health. Do not ignore your body, do not ignore the signs.

Also, a huge family to all of the support we have gotten from friends and extended family. Tough times show true love.

Until next time,

Jay x

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Raising Awareness, Getting Real: Dad Has Cancer.

  1. I’m really sorry to hear about your dad… but also glad that like my family who is also extremely close, you are able to see this through a lens that is full of love for each other and strength for one another. I hope for a positive outcome.

    Like

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