I hope you've kicked off your new year with a positive note.
I had a dodgy Christmas in the in. I was in and out of hospital and feeling very ill. I managed to get away with my family for three nights over New Year to Dromoland castle. It was such a divine treat and I loved and relished in every second.
Alas, I came home and struggled dreadfully with nerve pain in my neck, shoulder and upper back. I have three remaining tumours and one happens to be sitting on a pile of nerves and is causing havoc.
I came into hospital last week to have nerve blocker injections and some pain management. The first go at nerve blocking injections didn't work, so I was back into theatre yesterday for a rather barbaric treatment that involved being awake for key hole surgery where I had electric shock treatment followed by steroid injections into the nerves. Not fun to say the least. I'm waiting for a new drug to arrive that I hope will arrest the rest of my cancer. I have my fingers and toes crossed it comes soon.
An advertising campaign by the Irish Cancer Society has caught my eye. Not for positive reasons. I posted a piece on my author Facebook page earlier today and thought I'd add it here. I feel really strongly about this campaign. The strap line is "I want to get cancer." Those are the words they are splashing across bus stops and bill boards around Ireland.
The advert makes it clear that they want to get cancer as in obliterate it. I understood that. But many people didn't and don't. Many people, some of whom have had cancer, have found themselves having to explain to children why anyone would want to get cancer. They've had to explain that the advertisers didn't really mean it that way.
The woman who explained the awful hurt of this campaign the best is Dolores Grace. I have included her post here too so may read it. Her words are heartbreaking. Her situation unthinkable. This ad campaign has added to the horrendous time she's having. I won't harp on because I think both posts say it all.
I just thought I'd share our words here.
I've been in hospital all week - I'm still here. So I've sat on the fence about the latest #IrishCancerSociety campaign. I wanted time to digest it and allow it sit with me before I said anything. But a week on, it's not working for me.
They say they want to be "hard hitting" they say they don't want to hold back because we need shock tactics.
I've no problem with that. I have lived with this disease for ten years. There's nothing glamorous or fun about cancer, so it shouldn't be billed as such.
But where is the notion that Irish people have emotional intelligence? Where is the idea that perhaps there isn't a household in this country that hasn't been touched by this hideous disease?
We don't need shock tactics with the most inappropriate wording I've ever seen.
So you want *shock* tactics. I'll tell you about my own.
I'm not looking for anyone to produce a violin or tilt their head in sympathy, but as a small reality check let me tell you what I endured yesterday.
I have excruciating nerve pain due to where a tumour is currently resting in my neck.
So under local anaesthetic I had keyhole surgery where the surgeon performed shock therapy. This was so strong it lifted my entire body off the bed each time. Then I had steroid injected into the nerves. In case you're wondering, it hurt a lot. It was traumatic. It was scary as hell and I didn't enjoy it.
I like to think I'm pretty tough after a decade of battling this nasty beast of a disease. But yesterday left me bruised and traumatised.
I wouldn't wish that on anyone walking this earth.
Cancer is not a joke. Nor does it need ill phrased snappy campaigns to raise awareness. We know. We all know. We wish we didn't, but we do.
Before you dare to preach to me - I understand what you're attempting to do with this ad. Oddly enough, I'm not stupid. But as a person who earns a living writing words, this is the most insulting, insensitive and awful campaign I've ever seen.
I would like it taken down.
I would like to hear an apology from The Irish Cancer Society to those whom they've hurt and upset.
Further more, I would also like some transparency as to where the massive amount of funding they get goes.
Suffice it to say I don't "get" this campaign.
This post below says it all.
My heart bleeds for Dolores and her young children.
Post by Dolores Grace
I am writing to you the Irish Cancer Society to urge you to rethink your current advertising campaign. You say it's shock tactics are to raise awareness. Let me tell you in a nation as small as Ireland there is not a house, a street, a village a town that has not "got" cancer. Lights have gone out all over our country because people have got cancer. My children at 7, 9 and 10 have just watched their brother who "got" cancer die. They cannot understand and I must say I'm with them as to why you would place these ads on national television at the times you have. My 7 year old said why would anyone say they want to get cancer it's awful. They do not get subliminal messages and your timing of this ad is shocking in that regard.
On another note I ask that you open up your accounts to public scrutiny and let us all see where the money goes that's raised. It certainly doesn't come back to help families. Several times I went to your daffodil centre in the Mater and while I could not fault the niceness of the staff they could do nothing for me. I wanted counselling for my young children who were dealing with an horrific situation. I wanted help for us as a family and most of all I wanted help for my dying son. We were given lots of shiny brochures and sent on our way. I contacted Arc Cancer Support who I admit I had never heard of previously. They opened their door and their hearts to us. It was a place that provided solace, treatments, counselling etc to us as a family in an amazing way. And yet they do this on a fraction of the amount that you get yearly.
I bided my time because I thought a time will come when I will need the ICS so maybe I said to myself they will come good. But that time came incredibly rapidly for us. Following five months of treatment, my sons received the news that he had weeks left to live. All he wanted was to get home. He was an inpatient for four of those five months and just desperately want home. We were told the ICS will provide ten nights of nursing which would assist us in fulfilling his wishes. However his medical condition at this point was complex. As we discussed with his team his options it was very clear he would not need ten nights. I pleaded that we have five days and nights instead. Surely that's the same cost. I pleaded that we would pay ourselves if necessary but no you couldn't do it. So arrangements were made that he go to a hospice following one night at home. Even on that one night at home we did not know till 5 pm that night that we had a night nurse. You say that money that's raised locally on daffodil days stays locally. I know Athboy is an incredibly generous supporter of your Daffodil Days and yet the money wasn't there locally.
If you truly want to get cancer walk the wards of St. Vincents in the mater. The day ward is so full the staff are stretched. There are plenty in there who've "got" cancer. The other ward is full getting a bed is a lottery. I've no doubt these scenes are the replicated in all the other hospitals.
Here is link to the advert.
I don't want to get cancer.
I don't want anyone else to get cancer either.
Love and light