Monday 22 October 2018

'I appreciate the good times more' - Georgie Crawford (33) finishes her cancer treatment

Georgie Crawford, photographed by David Conachy
Georgie Crawford, photographed by David Conachy
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Earlier this year, radio presenter and comedian Doirean Garrihy tearfully told her social media followers that her close friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

She asked her followers to get behind her friend Georgie Crawford, to support and encourage her through her treatment.

The result, Georgie tells Independent.ie this week, was an uplifting ground swell of support from social media users.

The 33-year-old entertainment editor still remembers the early days of pre-diagnosis and diagnosis as being the hardest. Her baby Pia was just seven months old at the time, still sleeping in her crib at night, still learning to crawl.

"As my husband was putting Pia back into her crib one night, I leaned over, and that's when I felt the lump in my chest.”

“I just knew there was something really wrong. I hadn't been feeling very well, I was very tired, I looked off colour, my nails were breaking, there were a few alarm bells.”

“I went for my ultrasound and they said it wasn't a cyst and I had a biopsy. At that time, I had no reassurance from doctors that it was nothing to worry about. I was really worried, really anxious; my baby was only seven months old and I was thinking about her, so I was in a complete state.”

“They called me to come in and meet with them and told me that I should bring someone else with me so I knew it was bad news.”

“I got brought into the room with a nurse and a doctor and I was told that I had breast cancer. Obviously my first thought was about my baby and what it meant for us as a family.”

“Even when I think about it now I feel very emotional. It’s a different world; you never think it's happening to you.”

“It was the first year of my baby's life and I didn't want it to turn into this. But I was very reassured by the surgeon.”

“The next day I went in for a scan and a further MRI on my breast to make sure that there were no lumps anywhere else.”

“During Storm Ophelia when all hospital appointments were cancelled, my surgeon rang me from his house to say that the cancer hadn't spread. It was localised, and they could go ahead with the surgery.”

“It was the best bad news I could have gotten.”

“My surgeon said 'this will be a year out of your life, you will get back to normal. It will be a bump in the road, you will go on to have more children'. I was very reassured by that, and I would hang on to all the positives all the time.”

Friends and family rallied around Georgie to help her, and in May, she had her final dose of treatment. Now, she says, she is more careful about taking time out for herself and taking care of herself.

“Doireann is one of my best friends in work, we sat together for my entire pregnancy, and she made me laugh all day every day. I don't know how we got work done. When I got sick she was there for me, she rang me every day and still made me laugh every day.”

“That's so important, feeling like you’re not left behind. I originally just wanted to let my friends and peers in the industry know that it’s important to check for lumps, that breast cancer happens to women under 50. I didn't expect so many people to start following me.”

“I'll go back in September. I finished treatment two weeks ago. I'm just taking time to recover. My muscles are very weak and tired.”

“I'm still dealing with accepting it every day.”

Georgie, who is advocating for Boots’ “Feel Like You Again” campaign, whereby Boots beauticians can advise cancer patients on make-up tips and skincare techniques, says she is now enjoying her life.

“I have more respect for my body and what I put into it. I don’t feel guilty about prioritising myself from time to time. Oprah says that as women we put everyone else before us, we're very far down on our to-do list. I make sure I get 30 minutes of exercise every day: if I'm well, my family will be well and my baby will be well.”

“I appreciate the good times more… I was at my friend’s wedding and I went down to the beach, and I just took a moment of stillness to appreciate the beach, I felt so good.”

“We're always worrying about what's next, like “I need to have another baby”. I can't have another baby for at least two years. That's hard on us as a family to accept that. But we appreciate the perfectly healthy baby that we have."

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