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O'Faolain's bravery wins wave of support

AUTHOR Nuala O'Faolain was yesterday praised for raising the issue of how we face death, in the wake of her emotionally-charged radio interview last weekend.

Ms O'Faolain revealed on Saturday that she had been diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumours six weeks ago and had decided not to go undergo chemotherapy as her life had "turned black".

Yesterday, broadcast journalist Teri Garvey, who also has cancer, said she didn't think Ms O'Faolain was afraid of chemo -- which might give her extra time -- but that she had a different psychology on how she wanted to live.


But Ms Garvey, who was given 15-20 months to live in July 2005, said she intended to live every minute, and maintained that other people are in worse situations.

"People go out the door every day who never get a chance to make amends, say goodbye, whatever it happens to be," she said.

"That is the benefit of something like cancer, that you actually get a call and if you're lucky you get more and more time but at the very least you get time to put your affairs in order.

"I'm just sorry for her despair," she said of Ms O'Faolain's heart-rending interview.

"Nuala's approach is right for Nuala but hopefully she may see the joy and beauty again in life when she sees the wonderful well of affection and support for her. But if she doesn't, she is entitled to her way to go."

Ms Garvey, who was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease as a teenager and breast cancer in the 1990s, was told that the cancer had come back three years ago and said she had undergone a lot of chemo to help lengthen her life.

"I accept the diagnosis, I'm not denying it. I'm just trying to deny the prognosis," she said.

Former social diarist Terry Keane said that she felt the interview on the Marian Finucane show had broken a taboo on talking about death.

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Ms Keane, who is recovering from cancer, said she had learned to take comfort out of the simple things in life and expressed her hope that Ms O'Faolain may come to a "more peaceful acceptance".

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