Tuesday 17 July 2018

Emma Mhic Mhathúna: 'I don't even know if my little baby is going to remember me'

Emma Ní Mhathúna was diagnosed with second stage cervical cancer in 2016
Emma Ní Mhathúna was diagnosed with second stage cervical cancer in 2016

Rachel Farrell

A-MOTHER-of five who was given incorrect smear tests results and went on to develop cancer has given a powerful interview about how the shock diagnosis has robbed her of a future with her children.

Emma Mhic Mhathúna (37), who was one of the 209 women caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal, tells RTE Morning Ireland that a 2013 smear test said she was healthy when she wasn't... and now she has cervical cancer.

I found out this week that I'm dying. The cancer has covered my bones and everything. I have a test on Friday to see what's happening along with that.

I'd hoped it would be clear but I had a feeling it would be cancer again because I had it before. I didn't think it would be terminal.

I have [told my children]. I'm just crying thinking about it. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do because as a mother, it's my job to protect them and to keep the bad news away from them. We'd such a good day on the confirmation like, my results were ready on the Tuesday but I didn't want to get bad news on the confirmation. I had to collect them from school early and tell them that I'm dying. It's a horrible thing to witness to be honest.

They [doctors] will know more when they get the results on Friday. All the doctors, the gynecologists, the oncologists, my GP - I've such a fabulous team, I'm in good care in that sense. If there's anything available, they'll find it.

Emma Ní Mhathúna was diagnosed with second stage cervical cancer in 2016
Emma Ní Mhathúna was diagnosed with second stage cervical cancer in 2016

The 2013 smear said that I was healthy when I wasn't. And because of that then, I developed cancer. And now I'm dying. And if the smear test was right and I was told that by my gynecologist, who is over three hospitals so he knows his stuff, this guy is amazing. He told me himself that if my smear test was right in 2013, I wouldn't be where I am today. That's what makes it so heartbreaking. I'm dying while I don't need to die. My children are going to be here without me, and I'm going to be without them. I tried to do everything right by breastfeeding and being a full time mum and sacrificing my own life for them, and now I'm going to miss out. I don't even know if my little baby is going to remember me.

What makes this whole situation so sick is that the Government isn't doing anything about it. When this first broke out, I was like 'oh the HSE are surely going to do something', and they didn't. And then I looked to Simon Harris and said surely the Minister for Health is going to step in and do something, that's why we give these people powers, and he didn't do anything. And then I was like surely the Taoiseach is going to do something, and he just seems to be sticking up for them. They're all hiding there in the Dáil and they don't see what I see.

There's women that are dead and just like any women they're people's daughters, they're mammies, all their children are in pain. I just think the only person that can do something now is the president. I never thought I'd say something like that in this country in 2018 in Ireland. The Government need to go, I'm not being insulting I'm being genuine, but they're not actually capable of minding us and that is their job. To make sure that we're ok. I'm dying and I didn't even need to die, I'm only 37.

Last night I was in bed and I was having this really bad dream. I dreamt that I was dying last night and I wasn't ready because I hadn't said goodbye to my children. And in my dream I was trying to ring 999 but I couldn't pick up the phone. In my dream I had gone into Natasha's room and I was trying to wake up so I could say goodbye to her. Then I woke up and thought, thank god I haven't died yet because I want to say goodbye to them. And this isn't fair. No amount of money can replace this.

Emma Mhic Mhathúna Photo: RTE Morning Ireland
Emma Mhic Mhathúna Photo: RTE Morning Ireland

I know which of my children like butter and which of them need time out when they're getting tired. And all the fun stuff we do together, we've such good fun the six of us. I moved all the way down here to Ballydavid. It was such a fantastic place to form our children, our boys. It's really like Enid Blyton down here, they go climbing on the rocks and they go camping in the fields. They're so safe and that's all being taken away from them. Yesterday, I had to sit down with the teachers and said 'what are we going to do'. You understand what I mean?

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