Breast Cancer Survivor since 2014
Cancer isn’t fun. It was a horrible year. But it did change me and make me a better person I believe.
I was diagnosed through a routine mammogram. There was no lump to feel, so I was completely shell-shocked. The doctors told me the outlook was good, but all I could think about was that I had cancer and this could be it. Every time I saw my beautiful grandchildren, I wondered if I would get to see them making their communion. There were waves of fear and sadness
I attended a Survive and Thrive workshop with the Marie Keating Foundation which gave me the kick I needed to say to myself ‘You survived! Go live your life, enjoy yourself, and be grateful.’
I used to think my job was so important, and I would clean the house every day.
Cancer has taught me that life is for living. It woke me up to the fact that life is not a rehearsal. This is the real thing. These days I live in the now.
We waste so many years planning to do things or putting things off, saying I can’t do that because I need to buy a new car. I had gotten into a rut of being a sensible grown-up. Buying a new car might be the sensible thing to do, but it’s not really much fun. We don’t need to put €1,000s into a house that’s going to be left behind us. Having a nice car or a nice house isn’t half as much fun as rolling down the hill in the park with your grandkids. I’m the fun nanny.
I’ve made some amazing friends – other women who have been through the same thing. This year at the Relay for Life in Ballyfermot, four of us got a tattoo on our wrists that says ‘Believe’, with the pink breast cancer ribbon running through it.
I love my job, and I do the best I can at it, but now when I clock out I clock out. I live every single day. I try to do something fun and enjoyable instead of sitting around watching TV and getting ready for work. My partner and I might drive to Howth, buy a bag of chips and just sit watching the sea. I don’t say I’m too tired to go to the park or it’s too cold to walk on the beach. Life is a celebration.
Lorraine was diagnosed in May 2014 as part of a programme provided by her employers Marks & Spencer which invites all female employees over 40 to have a mammogram every two years. She underwent a lumpectomy, three months of chemotherapy and two months of radiotherapy. She finished treatment on December 15th – the day before her 47th birthday.