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Dublin Live
Dublin Live
Emma Nevin

Dublin mum battling cervical cancer tells of 'really difficult' physical and financial fight

A Dublin mum who was diagnosed with cervical cancer earlier this year has opened up on her "really difficult" experience which has lead to the creation of a fundraiser to help her make a full recovery.

Nicola O'Donoghue from Tallaght is a single parent to her 13-year-old son and has not been able to work since being diagnosed, causing the family financial hardship. The 31-year-old has had difficulty paying her rent to South Dublin County Council and said she is spending a lot of money on travelling to and from her treatments.

She told Dublin Live: "A large portion of the money that has been raised on the GoFundMe so far has been spent already on taxis to get in and out of St James' Hospital when I was doing radiation for five weeks. I was working part-time before this but the financial situation I am in now because I'm sick is so disheartening."

Read more: Fundraiser launched for Dublin woman with rare life-threatening condition 'on par with cancer'

Nicola said she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cervical Cancer in May after getting two biopsies done. "I was in labour pains here at home, such agony. I have a 13-year-old who I couldn't let see me in pain anymore," she said.

"I had five weeks of radiotherapy then in St James' and I had chemotherapy every Thursday. Now I'm undergoing brachytherapy so I'm getting that in St Luke's in Rathgar.

"After that I'll have a two week grace period to heal and then I'll have another consultation with the oncology team to find out what stage my tumour is at and please God that'll be good news. I am expecting to have to go for another round of radiation, chemo and brachy again because of the stage it is at, but I am really hoping that I won't have to."

Nicola lives in an upside down duplex and said having to navigate the stairs has been one of the most difficult parts of going through treatment. "The brachytherapy is severe and having to walk up all of those stairs to my house afterwards causes a lot of pain," she explained.

Read more: HSE issues grim cancer warning over use of sunbeds before the age of 35 as increase in cases reported

"With the house I'm in now, I have to go up to flights of stairs just to get to my front door because there's no lift. Then, because it is an upside down duplex, that brings me to my bedroom so I have to go up more stairs to get to my kitchen and living room. It's a lot because of the condition I am in.

"I have two urine bags that are very degrading and it makes me feel very vulnerable. Being so young and the state that I'm in, I was always so independent before all of this.

"I'm taking morphine in small doses and I find that it's messing with my head a lot. When I go out of the house on my own now I get very bad anxiety. And I have bad fatigue so I'm scared of falling or fainting."

Nicola's sister Sarah organised the GoFundMe for her and described Nicola as "tough, resilient and is determined to become cancer free for herself and her son."

She appealed to anyone who is able to help ease the financial burden on Nicola to donate to the fundraiser. She said: "With hospital visits being the most prominent part of Nicola's day this put a huge burden on her both physically and financially. That’s why we respectfully ask anyone who would be able to contribute towards her recovery and help her not worry about finances, but instead allow her only to focus her energy on healing and getting better.

"We know it’s been a challenging year for many of you. Nicola is not the type of person to ask for anything off of anyone so for her to allow me to this it is a lot."

Nicola explained she "wanted to get through this without asking for help" but said she "is blown away and really appreciates" everyone who has donated so far. To donate to the fundraiser for Nicola, click here.

Dublin Live has contacted South Dublin County Council for comment.

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