Cancer is a bastard of an illness.  It effects not just you but everyone around you.  Since I was first diagnosed, I’ve had to watch my family and friends deal with it in their own ways and for me, the person who likes to look after everyone else and mind them, it’s been really hard to know that I’m the one causing them all this worry and upset.  But it has brought home to me how incredibly lucky I am to have all these wonderful people in my life.  I probably don’t tell them often enough how much I appreciate them so I’m going to give them all a little shout-out here.

First up, my friends.  I’m in the enviable position of having too many wonderful friends to list them all but I’m going to pick out a few here for special mention.  I have my own little girl squad who I’ve known for what what seems like forever and who I’ve been through everything with.  They are a constant support and they’re always there, whether it’s to meet for coffee, let me cry on their shoulder, or just send me funny WhatsApp messages to put a smile on my face.

I also have a wonderful group of Mommy friends who’ve been so supportive through all this.  We met online when we were all pregnant at the same time and over the last five years we’ve moved from being virtual friends to real, deep-down lifelong friends.  We started off talking about morning sickness and birth plans but now we know all each others deep dark secrets and love each other all the more for it.  They have been cheering me on every step of the way since my first diagnosis and I feel very lucky to have found them.

Now for my family.  I’m one of four daughters and have a huge extended family.  And every single member of that extended family has stepped up to offer support to me and my family during the last year and a half.  From offers of babysitting, to house cleaning, to just visiting me in the hospital they’ve been stellar.  I have amazing in-laws who are there for me whenever I need them without question.  Nothing is too much trouble for them.

And of course my parents, my sisters and their families.  We’ve always been a very close family – Steve always likes to call us The Brady Bunch because we all get on so well.  They’ve been there for me every single day – whether it’s to celebrate good news, hold my hand for bad news, or give me a kick up the arse when I need one.  Which is often!  They say you can’t choose your family but if I could, I’d still choose mine.


The Brady Bunch

And now as traditional, I’ve saved the best for last.  My husband Steve and our boys, Oscar and Noah.  Steve and I have been together for 16 years this year.  We’ve basically grown up together and I thank my lucky stars on a regular basis that the boy I fell in love with as a nineteen year old turned out to be the love of my life.  He is the calm to my storm and the only person in the world who can reel me back in when I take off into crazy orbit.  When we got married we promised to love each other in sickness and in health but neither of us expected to be tested on that quite soon into married life.  But if it was a test then he passes with flying colours.  He juggles work, parenthood and a sick wife like a pro and never makes me feel anything other than 100% adored.  If our boys grow up anything like their dad I’ll be a very proud mom.


All my boys.  And yes, we are wearing awesome matching PJs!

I know I’m biased but our boys are the sunniest, snuggliest, squishiest and most scrumptious boys there ever were.  And I’ll challenge anyone who says differently!   At four years old and almost two, it hasn’t always been easy for them having a sick mom.  Having me disappear into hospital out of the blue, being too tired from treatment to chase after them and having to deal with the constant changes that my illness has forced on us is tough for people so little.  But throughout it all they’ve been their usual happy, loving selves.  When I was first diagnosed I worried about not being there to watch them grow up and when I found out last Autumn that the cancer had returned that fear came flooding back.  The thought of not being around for every little step or major milestone in their lives kills me.  And that is why I fight.  Since I first held them in my arms, or even before that, since I felt their first kicks, I knew I would do everything and anything to keep them safe and protect them.  And right now, that means fighting this cancer with everything I’ve got so that they can grow up with their mom here.  They are my entire world and even on my worst days, they are the reason I get up, dust myself off and keep going.

So thank you to all my cheerleaders who support me from the sidelines.  Your love and your support give me motivation and strength to carry on.  I love you all.

4 thoughts on “Cheerleaders

  1. PAULA FLOWERS says:

    Hi Irene,
    I rarely read & respond to anything; however, knowing you’re heritage I applaud you – not only you & all your boys, but you & where you came from.
    As a mother myself, I understand the strength that your children give you to fight on every day – they are in so many ways yours, but already (as I hear their stories) they belong to a worldly family. As for Steve; your mutual love will be your backbone & he also carries you well, believe it every day & don’t ever let that C “bastard” get the upper hand.
    You are all loved by many & they all truly need you – let that be your guide & shield ❤… “💐”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jen Twomey says:

    Hi Irene

    I’ve just read this at 5am havoc just fed my little one who is now fast asleep on my chest. With tears streaming down my face I have read this and I cannot imagine what the last few years have been like for you.
    I tip my hat to your unbelievable strength physically, mentally and emotionally. Not many people in the world are as strong as you. You can fight this and you have an army of people fighting it with you in their own way.
    My Iove to you and your amazing family. In the words of Dory “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” 😉
    Jen, Greg (and a very sleep Isla) xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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