Sitting in front of me is a woman with a thin layer of grey hair on her head, a lit cigarette in her steady hands and experience in her faded blue eyes. This grey hair and this experience haven’t come with old age, because this woman is young. It came from her suffering battle with cancer, a battle which she is about to win.
Caroline Curran is a woman orientated around her family, her husband of 19 years Anthony and her only daughter Roisin. The day the news came that Caroline had breast cancer was the day this family became closer than ever. To them, she is the strongest woman in the world.
The diagnosis was made after she had discovered a lump on her breast, and was prompted to get it checked after a whole month of procrastination in fear. “I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my body at the time – although I knew the lump didn’t belong to my body, the thought that it could be cancerous was furthest from my mind.”
Imagine what it must feel like to get such devastating, life changing news. Imagine the mind frame one must slip into after discovering they had one of the most threatening, incurable cases in the medical world. And imagine the strength it takes to take on all of this and keep on going. The changes that happened in Caroline’s life thereafter were diverse and on a range from extreme to insignificant.
“The great thing was I got an excuse to leave a job I had never liked”, she laughs. “My body wasn’t able for the workload anymore once I began my [chemo] treatment.” However, one very demanding and agonizing change was the removal of Caroline’s right breast in late September. This operation consisted of 3 hours under the knife and a painful 5 day hospitalisation afterward. “So painful in fact, I had to be given morphine every few minutes for the first two days”, she remembers.
Caroline is now in the last stage of her treatment, which is radiation therapy, and she is pleasingly more than halfway through it. The finish line is just around the corner for her and breast cancer. “The strength just comes from within to face this and fight it, every woman has it”, she says with triumph. “I could never have gotten through this without the constant network of support from my family and friends. I owe them everything, and cancer nothing.”