Faith Fahy is a financial consultant and insurance broker, diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. Faith tells Claire O’Farrell her story
“I was diagnosed April 2012. I had found cysts about four years previously which were drained and that was fine. The doctor said they would probably reoccur. Two years later I found another one and I was in and out in ten minutes, nothing serious I didn’t even feel it. When I found another one I didn’t tell anybody, I thought ‘this is the same thing.’
The following day I was in the breast clinic and I had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. Two weeks later I found out that it was malignant. They said it was two centimetres and it wasn’t in the lymph nodes. I had the lumpectomy and I went on a healthy diet. They told me I would have to get the treatment anyway. I knew then I was going to lose my hair so I started playing around with it, I cut it shorter and I put a red highlight in it. I brought the kids in with me and I made a bit of fun out of it.
When I went back after the two weeks, feeling great, looking great and ready to start the chemotherapy, I was told it was five centimetres and it was in the lymph nodes. That was the big shock. That’s when I started to question anything and everything. Statistics wise I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke and there was no history of it in the family.
When you are given this news, it is hard to take in even half of the information. My husband came with me and took notes. I wanted to know everything, but my head was spinning with all of the options as I was unaware initially which treatments related to my specific diagnosis. I was thinking ‘I hope they get the right one for me.’
I was then under Michael Kerin [Professor of Surgery], and he is just brilliant. We are so lucky to have the Breast Cancer Research centre so close. When they talk about centres of excellence, we have it in Galway. All the staff there are fantastic but in particular for me Professor Kerin’s nurse Mary Grealish was brilliant.
The hardest part I found was going in for the chemotherapy because I didn’t actually feel sick beforehand and I was looking at these chemicals going into my system knowing it was going to make me sick, but it is all behind me now.
I was overwhelmed with the support from all my family, friends and colleagues the whole way through, and it has continued. I learned to accept people offering to help, meet or give their time and I make sure that I keep in touch with those people because you can’t put a value on time and friendship. That was an eye opener for me.
Also, my son is involved in the Cross Border Orchestra and last October he played Carnegie Hall in New York. The whole family went on our trip to Carnegie Hall and I was so happy to just be there and actually see him on stage. That was my light bulb moment.
Now I feel it is a distant memory and everything’s back to normal, sometimes I think, ‘did it really happen?’ It has brought home the value and importance of my own business. It is also important to have health cover, life cover, make a will and all those things to avoid the financial worries of illness. I would say to women, just do the very simple thing and check yourself. It is so important to have early detection.”