Thursday 21 June 2018

'Best Christmas ever' - Irish grandmother who had terminal cancer now in remission

Anne Herlihy pictured with her husband TJ at the renewal of her vows
Anne Herlihy pictured with her husband TJ at the renewal of her vows

Kathy Armstrong

A delighted grandmother has revealed that she is in remission after being initially diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Anne Herlihy was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in 2014 but her Christmas wish came true when she was told she was in total remission last month.

Anne, who is from Charleville in Co Cork, said on The Neil Prendeville Show on Red FM today: "I was told Christmas week that I was in total remission.

"I wasn't feeling well over the past few months and I thought that the drug might have stopped working and the cancer had progressed.

"My oncologist ordered a scan in December and instead of me waiting and worrying about it he just called me straight away and said there is no evidence of disease, there's no evidence of cancer now."

Anne had been told that just three out of ten people survive ovarian cancer five years after diagnosis.

Anne Herlihy inspired the nation and Graham Norton after her appearance on Liveline
Anne Herlihy inspired the nation and Graham Norton after her appearance on Liveline

Doctors decided to put her on pioneering new drug Olaparib, which Anne credits with her recovery,

She said: "After all the common treatments failed for me this new drug was being trialled in Ireland and you had to meet a certain criteria, one of the criteria was that you had to meet the BRCA Gene, the cancer gene, and my oncologist thought I would be suitable.

"I was put on this drug two years ago and it prevents the mutated gene from repairing the cancer cell.

"The timing with this disease has been perfect, if you can call it that, because there have been so many advances for treating cancer over the last five years."

Anne hit the headlines over the past two years as she ticked things that she was wanted to do off her bucket list.

Anne Herlihy performed Both Sides Now with her hero Tommy Fleming
Anne Herlihy performed Both Sides Now with her hero Tommy Fleming

She joked: "I kind of pre-empted it (the bucket list) a bit, my poor husband TJ, after all that hard work.

"We renewed our wedding vows, we met the President of Ireland, I sang with Tommy Fleming, I took my first driving lesson - and my last.

Anne will continue to take Olaparib until it stops working and will have hospital check-ups every four to eight weeks.

She said her sickness took a toll on her family but she is now excited to look to the future.

The mother-of-two said: "We had the best Christmas Day ever.

Anne Herlihy pictured with her husband on Inch beach
Anne Herlihy pictured with her husband on Inch beach

"The next thing I'm looking forward to now is my granddaughter's communion in April, I didn't realise how much this was affecting her, she was asking me all along would I be there for the day but I couldn't give her a definite answer.

"Now she is dancing with joy and she keeps saying that she knew I would be there."

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