Thanks to our GP, we've a 'fighting chance' to beat Nick's leukaemia, says TV3 presenter
TV3 star Aisling O'Loughlin revealed her partner was diagnosed with leukaemia within hours of a diligent family doctor spotting signs of serious illness at a routine check-up for their new baby.
It was at six-week-old baby Louis's examination that Dr Barbara Bonar happened to notice that photographer Nick MacInnes looked unwell.
"We were all there together – Patrick and the whole family. She would have seen Nick before, and she noticed that he was a greeny grey colour," said the 'Xpose' presenter. "He literally went to Loughlinstown and was transferred then by ambulance to Vincent's."
Less than a fortnight ago, specialists at St Vincent's Hospital diagnosed Nick (47) with acute myeloid leukaemia – a cancer of the blood cells.
Dr Bonar, a GP at Bray Medical Centre, put the observation down to just "normal general practice work".
"I know them, and I thought he looked particularly unwell. I recognised there was probably something seriously wrong and I wanted an urgent investigation. Within an hour he was diagnosed and transferred," said the GP.
The medic described the general symptoms of leukaemia would be fatigue and breathlessness, yet this is also similar to anaemia and many other illnesses.
The medic urged anyone with signs of fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, bleeding or unusual infections to attend a GP.
"The earlier you present with any form of cancer, the better," she said.
Aisling told how her partner began chemotherapy the very next day.
"I got a shock, but then the staff informed me that this is the way it's done. They blast it with chemo for 10 days. It's a long road ahead. He's keeping exceptionally well. We've got great friends and family."
Looking back, Aisling said she noticed Nick had grown very pale, but the thought of cancer never crossed her mind.
"I thought he needed iron. I thought he was just low in iron, because everyone was sick over Christmas.
"It presented itself initially as a cold. He couldn't lift Patrick and he couldn't go for a walk. We knew something was up but didn't know it could be this.
"Thank God, we've a fighting chance. It's times like this that you get on with it. There's fun as well. You must get on with it. You have to laugh."
The TV3 entertainment star says the fact that Nick cannot see his two little boys, Patrick Nicholas (2) and Louis, while he receives treatment is difficult.
"Nick has minded Patrick from day one and children are not allowed into the wards because they're germ carriers," she said.
"He's being a very good patient and he's thrown the cigarettes in the bin. We're never going to know what caused it, but it could have been the smoking," she said.
Currently, Aisling is on maternity leave from TV3 and will return to 'Xpose' in May.
She thanked the staff at St Vincent's Hospital for their unrelenting kindness and support.