I want to beginning by taking the time to share my story with you. I’m an almost 40 year old (20th August) mother of one delightful 12 year old boy and am married to Shane Kindregan. I am originally from Ballinasloe, Co Galway but we moved to Ballymacward in 2005 after the birth of Oisin and to be near Shane’s family. Shane works in Dublin in the aviation industry so the opportunity to move closer to home is limited. His work hours can be lengthy as he has an incredible work ethos. So he stays in a Bed & Breakfast 3 nights a week.
This is a very difficult task for me, to ask people to donate to a fund in a bid to save my life. In February 2012 I had a radical hysterectomy and internal radiation (brachytherapy) for cervical cancer. All was good until July 2014 when I suffered my first recurrence. The fear I felt was enormous and I went on to endure a very testing time of being treated with chemotherapy, radiation and brachytherapy. At this stage I had reached my limit for radiation treatment so I knew I couldn’t afford to get back the cancer.
In 2016, I returned to work to a job I adored, as a primary school teacher. Disasterously, the cancer returned. I underwent a rare and very invasive surgery at this point. This operation meant removing whatever had been left in my abdomen of my female reproductive organs, in addition to my bladder, my urethra and all tissue in the pelvic cavity. The road to recovery was both trying and complicated. It just felt so unfair that I was being hit by this disease over and over and over again. The pelvic exenteration surgery from June 2016 also resulted in me getting a urostomy. This means, I have a hole in my tummy called a stoma from where my urine exits the body. This was life changing and very traumatic, actually all of it was. Recovery was slow and tiresome. I was depleted of all energy at this stage and had developed many post cancer treatment side-effects such as kidney blockages, lymphodema and the list goes on.
Then in May of this year, the dreaded happened and it turned out my most fierce battle was yet to face me. I was rediagnose with two cancer tumors and cancer spots. I just couldn’t believe it. My family couldn’t believe it and my poor son was terribly shocked and affected by this traumatizing news. My heart went out to Oisin, my poor boy who has seen enough cancer in a small few years to last him a lifetime.
My options at this stage were limited to one, palliative chemotherapy. This news threw me into what felt like a pit of despair. Why me? Why alway me? But I always keep the sunny side out for my precious son and my husband Shane who struggles to be away from us in Dublin during the week where he works. It’s far from ideal but just because a person gets cancer, doesn’t mean the bills stop coming through the door. In actual fact they increase your monthly family costs through the addition of medical costs, medication, therapeutic equipment, travel to appointments, childcare for oisin, and the list goes on. I have been receiving no pay for most part of my struggle.
Today, I am here doing something I find extremely difficult. I am asking you to consider my plea and help me with funding costs for a new treatment I want to try. I only managed to do one session of chemotherapy as it hit me like a train straight on and I immediately knew that my quality of life would be severely impaired had I continued with it and that would be in addition to all the nasty life-changing consequences of the chemo. It’s toxicity was over bearing on me. I just couldn’t cope with continuing this course of treatment.
I have since researched an immunotherapy treatment called Pembrolizumab. Immunotherapy is a groundbreaking way of treating cancer and unlike chemotherapy it doesn’t spread through the body like poison killing both good and bad cells. Instead, it works with your immune system in building an immunity to fight against cancer. Researchers feel that the future of the fight against cancer lies in immunotherapy. Unlike, the USA, Immunotherapy isn’t yet licensed in Ireland for cervical cancer patients. The HSE won’t fund it. There is no current clinical trial here and essentially my hands are tied with regard to accessing the drug. However, I need this treatment more than anything else. I come with cap in hand, and ask you if you could manage donating a few Euro to my cause to support me in funding the immunotherapy, further treatments both medical and holistic and other incidental costs that I shall incur. The immunotherapy itself costs in the region of €8,500 per session. A session/transfusion is done every three weeks for an indefinite amount of time.
Please, if you can help with a contribution I would be so grateful but if you can’t perhaps you could help by sharing this page with your Facebook friends or tell friends and colleagues to look it up.
I am always willing to share my experience with people about my cancer journey so feel free to contact me.
Thanking you from the bottom of my heart,
Audrey Morgan - Kindregan
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