While out walking in December 2018, Geraldine began to feel unwell and collapsed on the footpath, which necessitated a journey by ambulance to St. Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny. After much testing and scanning, it was felt that Geraldine needed to have a pacemaker inserted into her heart, and so on January 16th 2019, Geraldine had a pacemaker inserted.
While recuperating at home after this surgery, on February 16th 2019, Geraldine had to attend the A&E department of St. Luke's Hospital, as she had developed a severe upper abdominal pain. Geraldine was admitted and another comprehensive barrage of diagnostics, testing and scanning took place. Five days later on the 21st February 2019, Geraldine received the devastating news that she had developed Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. After further testing it was discovered that it was a particularly rare type of cancer.
After more scans and testing, a treatment programme was initiated by the wonderful Multi Disciplinary Team of the Rare Cancer Centre, at St. Vincent's University Hospital Dublin. Geraldine started her treatment on May 24th 2019.
To date Geraldine has received 20 treatments. The journey up to now has been a rollercoaster of emotions, of despair, of hope, of awful sickness, of hospitalizations, all of which has been made somewhat easier by the wonderful support of family and friends.
The challenge with this particular cancer is that it is incurable, and the work is always about containing and maintaining the growth and the spread.
Geraldine, despite all of the challenges that the past two years have thrown up, has displayed a remarkable level of courage, dignity, resilience and faith, on this journey.
Sadly, however on the most recent scan taken in November, it has shown that the treatment has not been working. The cancer has grown and has metastasized quite significantly into the liver, from the primary site of the pancreas.
Needless to say for Geraldine in particular, and for Fergus, Kenneth and Laura, this has been devastating news.
Due to the rarity of Geraldine's cancer the next treatment option is not available in Ireland, and will require Geraldine to travel to centre of excellence in a hospital in Sweden, for what will be ongoing treatment.
2021 will be a challenging year for Geraldine, because not only will she have specialist treatment in Sweden, but there will also be an array of other medical interventions ongoing here in Ireland also.
A journey such as this has a significant impact on a family, psychologically, physically and financially and although the particular treatment in Sweden is covered under European insurances, the costs of travel, accommodation, maintenance ect, are not. On that note, we are setting up a GoFundMe page for Geraldine to support her with her ongoing journey.
We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and hope that it continues for Geraldine.
- Eilish Lanigan
- Claire Mahony(mcgrath)
- Patricia Cody
Organizer and beneficiary
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