Friday 16 November 2018

'You can't let cancer consume your life - I just finished the Camino trek for the third time'

‘In a good place’: Bernie Walsh of Clonsilla, Dublin, has a positive outlook despite the return of her cancer. Photo: Caroline Quinn
‘In a good place’: Bernie Walsh of Clonsilla, Dublin, has a positive outlook despite the return of her cancer. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Dublin mother-of-two Bernie Walsh is among nearly one in three breast cancer patients in Ireland who have been told their cancer has returned.

But her inspirational call-to-action to other women with metastatic breast cancer, which cannot be cured, is to not let it rule your life.

Bernie (58), from Clonsilla, has just completed her third trek of the Camino and is now busy with rehearsals for the Coolmine Musical Society's production of 'Michael Collins: A Musical Drama'.

"Cancer can be frightening but you cannot let it consume your life. I have too much to live for," she said.

She has been involved in the musical society for 20 years and said it has helped her through the worst of times. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and, during her treatment, developed a serious allergic reaction to chemotherapy.

She was undergoing the treatment in the Mater Hospital when it attacked her lungs, forcing her to be hospitalised.

Having survived the scare, she enjoyed years of good health but found the cancer returned last July. "I developed a pain in my back. I had not been entirely well."

She paces herself and if she has a dip in energy she takes a quick nap. But she started a new part-time job in sales and marketing in January.

She is very grateful to the Marie Keating Foundation for the support she has received and has been an active fundraiser for the charity, including taking part in fashion shows.

"I am in a good place. I take a chemotherapy tablet daily and have hormone injections every few weeks.

"Treatments are improving all the time. I am a public patient but get the best care."

Irish Independent

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