13. The plan in Istanbul, where the money is going and my incredible community.

Hectic few days here in Strokestown, it’s all so last minute. I’ll be able to catch my breath once we get on the plane! Packing up the last few bits this morning. Had a lovely day yesterday seeing family and friends. More of the same today, so many people want to come wave us off. I forgot last night that people were here to see us off for this big adventure, I was saying goodbye as if it was just a normal visit. Had to have a bit of a reality check for myself. I have a mammoth task ahead of me and I forget that sometimes as I’m just kind of going along with myself in the moment! I want to come back after the summer cancer free. I’m setting the bar high but I have the ability to do it. I’m getting some amazing help in the clinic I have chosen. They have great successes with triple negative breast cancer. I’m giving myself the best chance possible at long term survival with this choice we have made. No palliative chemotherapy for me! No hospice! No way José!

The YouCaring fundraising page seems to have a life of it’s own at the moment! It’s insane! We have reached more than one third of the target. It is truly amazing what can happen when you ask for help. It took me long enough! But my God is it coming in hard and fast. There are some fundraising events being organised for when we are away starting with a coffee morning in my hometown next Friday the 9th of June. Thank you so much to Eileen Leneghan for organising, me ould neighbour and my older sisters good friend. We live in an incredible community and I’m so grateful and *a tiny bit emotional about how people have come together to support us.

What’s the plan Mairead?
We are going to the airport tomorrow morning at 7:30am. Ellie Ann and Mike are very kindly giving up their Sunday morning lie in to bring us. When we get there, the clinic are collecting us and bringing us to our Airbnb apartment we have booked for the week. We will look for an apartment which will suit us for the rest of the summer when we get there. I am going to the clinic Monday for a PET scan, meeting doctors Tuesday for results and will be starting treatment Wednesday. Treatment schedule is 10 days on, 10 days off for 5 cycles. This will bring us up to the beginning of September. I’ll finish with another PET scan at the end and see if we need to do anymore or if I’m good to go! Myself and Paul are flying over together initially and my mam and sister Sharon are bringing Ali over to us after I finish my first 10 days of treatment. We will miss her so much and I’m sure she will feel our absence but we have to think of the bigger picture (head over heart here). I’m not sure what to expect in terms of how I’ll be feeling physically. Chemotherapy bashes your body so I’m sure there will be some effects but I’m in absolute peak physical condition going into this so I’m assuming I’ll be in relatively good shape. Will have to wait and see about that. I will have time to come home during the 10 days off but I’ll play it by ear and see how I’m feeling before I decide anything. So that is the plan so far! I’ll know more when I get there and I’ll update the blog regularly.

I’m trying my best to message people directly to say thanks for the donations online but I haven’t been able to get to everyone but please know that I am so grateful and I appreciate every single penny that is coming in. I’m also a little behind in replying to emails and messages but I’ll have loads of time to catch up on that in the next few days so if you haven’t heard back from me, you will soon.

Where is the money going to?
Each round of treatment I will receive in the clinic is going to cost €10,500. They have advised me to get 5 initially but it may be more based on my PET scan results. And each PET scan costs €1250. I did not expect to have enough raised in 3 days to cover the first 3 treatments. It is unbelievable how quick people have come to my side. I’m feeling incredibly supported and loved*. Myself and Paul are so blown away by peoples kindness. There are so many names we don’t even recognise donating money to us. It’s the strangest feeling to see that happening, it’s a little hard to get my head around but it feels really, really good. THANK YOU! SO MUCH! It’s very hard to express the gratitude I feel right now but know that it has me feeling very emotional.

Bon voyage everybody! Looking forward to seeing all of you at our victory celebration after the summer xxx

*I get misty eyed regularly seeing the kindness pouring in. Staap it!!

P.S Do you like Ali’s adventure outfit? Wellies in summer…. you have to laugh!

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  1. Hey Mairead,
    I’ve heard about your situation through my husband who is also from Strokestown.
    I realise you’ve done a lot of research and so perhaps you’ve already come across this information, but just in case you haven’t, there have been some recent breakthroughs in the field of immunotherapy. In particular, an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda has shown promising results in certain tumors with a specific genetic defect, regardless of where the tumor originated.
    Here is where I first read about it:
    Needles to say, if your cancer cells fit the genetic makeup, this is worth checking out. I would talk to medical professionals who specialize in immunotherapy/gene therapy to see what may or may not be suitable for you.
    I don’t know what the best online resource on breast cancer clinical trials is, but here’s something I found relating to the same approach in triple negative breast cancer:
    Keep up the good work and I wish you all the best,

    • Thank you Leah, it might be a consideration for the future. Lots of great research happening x

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