Alan Bradley

My name is Alan Bradley. I was born in a place called O’ Devaney gardens in Dublin. I got married over forty years. I have a beautiful wife. I have two lovely sons, Alan and John and I have three grandchildren. In 2019 I didn’t feel well when I was in Spain. I was kind of getting sick all the time when I was over there. You know, I couldn’t hold anything down. So I was convinced I had COVID but when I came home, I made an appointment to see the doctor. So a couple of days later, I went up to him and he checked me out. And they sent me straight to Blanchardstown Hospital and they did a CT scan on me and they came across the cancer.

I think that was the worst day of my life in a bedroom on my own and telling that you have cancer, the only thing you think of you know is death.

I made the decision to take the chemo. I wanted to see my grandchild being born. So she was born it was the best thing that ever happened to the house because the joy that came with it, you know, just seeing her there and watching her growing up and you know, it was brilliant.

So on the chemo, I was on that for about eight months. The first four months was okay, but the last four months it was hard. I would get up in the night-time, run down the bathroom, get sick and get blisters in my mouth, get cramps in my legs. You know, it was a terrible feeling. I didn’t have any energy. That was the worst part of it.

When they gave me immunotherapy. I was on that for about four or five months. And two weeks ago, I just said I can’t take it. So I’m just gonna let the cancer take its course.

Hello, my name is Betty McDonnell. I’m a community palliative care nurse for St. Francis hospice. I’ve worked here for the last 33 years attending patients in their homes who are receiving palliative care in the north county and city of Dublin.

My name is Teresa Garty. I’m a clinical nurse specialist in lymphedema and the complementary therapist here in St. Francis hospice. I’ve worked here for the last 12 and a half years as a member of complementary therapy team. As a complementary therapist, we work alongside conventional medical, nursing and allied health professionals providing complementary therapies to patients, both in the inpatient units and out patients daycare service.

Got involved in the hospice. You know when I was going through my cancer. Betty comes into my house. She gives me my painkillers and ups & downs them. Eileen is a counsellor. She’s a lovely woman and Teresa gives me my massage when I go up there, and she’s absolutely great.

Alan has been coming into me now for the past year. A lovely gentleman when he comes in Alan relaxes by having a chat and we go through all his past life, the work he used to do, and all relates that he talks all about his family. And this is Alan’s way of possibly reducing his stress and anxiety.

As I said I went hospice through palliative care. They’re there to help everybody. If you have the cancer and don’t shy away from because they will help you even if it’s just helping with your brain that you’re going to have a nervous breakdown whatever but they are very good they keep the pain under control and only for Betty today. I’d probably been a lot, lot of pain. You know, so there’s times I don’t feel great during the day. I would ring Betty and she’ll tell me take this or take that or up the tablet or lower the tablet. So yeah, if you have cancer, you know, go to palliative care, they’re very very good up there.

For Alan when I met him first, as he said to you today, it was his physical pain. So we monitored and we control that for him through medication and other methods of relaxation and complementary therapies. We also would look after his psychological support. And now Alan has taken a break from his treatment and allows him, he has made a choice which we support him with his choices and help them to make those choices and making best use of time and the precious time that is left. As none of us know how long that can be.

Palliative care- we’re here to actually help the patients or a person under a journey that to make life easier for them to have reduced their symptoms and that and maybe address any fears that may have so as a member of the multidisciplinary team, there’s the support of say the medical team, there’s the nursing team, social work, occupational physiotherapy and chaplaincy. So we’re all here to work for the good of the patient and that and to make their journey. As long as they have left as good as possible for them.

I would love to see my grandchild get christened. I would love to see her going to first school. I’d love to see her you know, on her 21st birthday party and I would love to see her get married and settling down.

Would I change anything in my life? No you know I had a good life, A good wife, forty years married, we had our great holidays together. So please God that they continue. I don’t know when I won’t be able to get out of that bed. That’s what will happen.