51. RIP Emma

emma mhic mhathuna

Emma Mhic Mhathuna, a powerful woman, a mother, an inspiration, a failure of the state. She is someone who was badly wronged and fought back. She took no shit, stood up for her rights and beliefs and paved the way for other women to come behind her. She shouted loud for all those who don’t have a voice.

I am sick of being treated like nothing, we give our lives to this country and our health is the last thing these people care about and it’s about time that the Dail realise, that if they’re going to take responsibility for our lives, they better do it well or they’re gonna… you know they need to be fired! And while I can’t save my life, at least I can save your lives and your children’s lives and I just hope that when I’m gone, the whole country will adopt my children and keep an eye out for them and it’s for them that’s pushing me to do this and I love everyone so much. I promise you, my death won’t go unnoticed, I will make sure that they pay for what they’re doing to every single family in Ireland, whether you’re on a waiting list too long or you’re just not being treated fair, you just tell them you’re my friend and I’ll come and I’ll sort them out for ya! Let’s show this government what we’re made of and we’ll remind them who we are as a country. Go raibh mile maigh agat.”

Emma Mhic Mhathuna, May 2014

Like the rest of the country, I’m deeply saddened to hear of Emma’s passing. Her story resonates with me on so many levels… as a mother, a woman, a person sitting on waiting lists, someone with an incurable disease, someone invisible to the state… I recently re-entered the Irish healthcare system after spending some time in treatment abroad. With active metastatic cancer, I expected to be seen quickly and offered some treatment options. I was seen in a few weeks after requesting an appointment. I was asked what I wanted. I said I wanted to be treated in Ireland, being abroad was too difficult and costly. I said I wanted options. She said OK, we can do that. Let’s get you scanned to see what we’re dealing with, we’ll need a bone scan and a CT. Two weeks later I had a bone scan. Two weeks after that I got results which showed activity in the vertebrae. I called up to see if there was a date confirmed for a CT scan, I was told I was on an 8 month waiting list. 8 months!!! Given my medical history, it seems that to be waiting for that long would likely see join Emma in the afterlife. Left untreated, metastatic cancer can pop up anywhere and if it goes to the brain, the probability of survival is greatly reduced. That’s what happened to Emma, it went to her brain.

I’m obviously not going to stand for being on a long waiting list. I have made phone calls and emails to speed up the process. I’m taking a leaf out of Emma’s book and taking no shit. And if it comes to it, I’ll call on her to come sort them out. Rest in peace Emma, and pull those strings from above for all who have been wronged and continue to suffer at the hands of the state. We have a powerful angel in heaven now on our side. Watch out Dail Eireann!


  1. Hi. That is terrible that you are having to wait so long for a CT dcdn. Have you tried phoning the department and asking for an earlier, cancellation appointment? Keep nagging. I have realised that you need to create a fuss to get what you need.
    I know that I have mentioned it before, and am risk of hounding you about it, but please please look into mistletoe therapy. If you go to Camphill then it will mean around 10-14 days staying at Camphill (near Aberdeen) for the high dose induction phase, then injecting subcutaneously at home twice weekly. . . . So not a massive time commitment. And perhaps visiting Camphill once a month for another IV. They are very much patient-led and take a totally individual approach, depending on what you want, and how you are. I genuinely think that they have saved my life. . . If not literally (time will tell) then metaphorically. It’s not an alternative to conventional treatments, but something you can do alongside. I am 2 years into my stage 4 diagnosis and on Thursday I will have my mastectomy and full node clearance. In June I had a liver resection. . . When I was diagnosed they said “no surgery, palliative chemo only”. I am doing much better than they all thought and I believe it’s the mistletoe, nutritional supplements and dietary changes that have made the difference.

      • I am hormone positive, so have that treatment option available. I have been on tamoxifen and zoladex for 18 months, since chemo finished. But yes, I had 6 liver tumours originally- this reduced to 5 after chemo. And when they operated they could only find 1 actual tumour and 2 areas of scar tissue to remove.
        My recent CT scan showed a slight increase in my lymph node-but not enough to stop surgery. It might be something or nothing. . . . . . Only time will tell.

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