Journalist Una Mullally praised for interview on cancer with RTE's Ray D'Arcy in which she puts diagnosis down to 'bad luck'
Published 27/04/2015 | 16:23
Journalist Una Mullally has revealed she decided to write a personal account of her cancer diagnosis as she has run out of ways to tell people she has the condition.
In an interview on RTE Radio One's Ray D'Arcy programme earlier this afternoon, the writer (32) told the broadcaster there was no history of cancer in her family, describing her diagnosis as a "complete anomaly" which she puts down to "bad luck".
Mullally went in for a routine colonoscopy on Friday, March 13th last, when doctors found a large cancerous tumour.
She was told she had bowel cancer shortly afterwards and is currently undergoing treatment.
"I've only told close friends, family and work, so people have reactions that are stunned," she told Ray.
"I clearly am very seriously ill. I don't feel sick. I don't look sick and I think people find it weird. For me, it's incredibly surreal and part of the reason that I wrote that piece today is because I have just run out of ways of telling people I have cancer."
Una's article appeared in today's 'Irish Times' and she gave a subsequent interview to RTE's Ray D'Arcy.
"You kind of just want everyone to know because one of the main things I've come to realise after getting a diagnosis like this is managing people's reactions and telling people is exhausting.
"And there comes a point where I can't go through this story one more time and having to then filter their reaction," she explained.
Shortly after her diagnosis, a surgeon told Una to focus on herself.
"When I first got the diagnosis, shortly after that, I had a meeting with the surgeon and he said this is happening to you, it's not happening to anyone else so don't listen to anybody's crap basically and just kind of focus on putting yourself first," she said.
She recalled how she went in to hospital for a routine colonoscopy for an "iffy" stomach on Friday, March 13th. "We're forever making jokes about going into hospital on the 13th," she joked.
"One of the things that was so weird about it was I was going in for this procedure and Sarah, my girlfriend, was going to pick me up and that was it.
"And right after I woke up and she was there, they called her in early, and one of the doctors was like 'just come down to this room' and I was just thinking 'wow, this is great medical care, everybody is just on top of things straight away'.
"But I didn't realise that they were obviously freaking out as well because the doctors were stunned. The type of cancer which I have, which is colorectal cancer, bowel cancer, you know the specific tumour that I have and so on, 80 per cent of people who get it are over 60, far more men get it than women, I have no cancer history in my family whatsoever. It is absolute anomaly.
"I have to put it down to bad luck," she said.
She told Ray she had experienced some symptoms in the past year. She knew something was wrong and went with her intuition in getting tests done.
"My stomach was unsettled," she recalled.
"It felt like my digestive system was all over the place. I had been in Nepal for a few days doing an article and got sick there as you do when you're in the back arse of Nepal basically.
"I came back. I put it down to that. Upset stomach on and off. Last year I was in Berlin on my own, and I just wasn't feeling well and I came back and I said 'I need to somebody cos something's not right'.
"And Sarah reminded me about a month ago, about a week after my diagnosis, that I had said to her last year that 'I feel like there's something inside of that's making me sick'.
"You know your own body. I trusted my own intuition. I kind of persisted. I need to see somebody. Something's gone wrong. It's not right
"And I'm really glad I did because if I left it for another few months, it would have been a completely different story," she said.
She confirmed to Ray that the cancer is 'Stage 3' which means it has spread to her lymph nodes.
She went to visit a female doctor who sent her for a colonoscopy.
"She just said it might be colitis, send you in for a routine colonoscopy. And I'm glad she did because that essentially saved my life.
"Because the tumour is large and when she told me, like she basically put down the scans on the table and I just looked at them and said 'that's a tumour' and she said 'yes it is'," Una recalled before joking she had seen enough episodes of 'Grey's Anatomy' to know what a tumour looked like.
After the interview, the show was inundated with texts and tweets commending Una for her interview and wishing her all the best.