"My cancer diagnosis affected every aspect of my life. My work, my physicality, my home-life, my plans. First, there was debilitating fear, that word Cancer is such a frightening word. One I didn't think I would come back from. Then there was the enormity of the surgery. Losing my breasts affected the core of my femininity. Losing my hair became a much bigger loss than I had mentally prepared myself for.
Ironically I coped much better with the physical changes than the mental and emotional ones. The biggest loss was any sense of control, I had to let go, fall into the system, and trust that it would fix me and bring me back to normality.
I had been aware of Arc's existence for many years but became particularly aware of their work through the annual ARC fashion show, in which I have taken part, along with many other Irish fashion designers. During my chemotherapy, I became so unwell in every sense. I was so weak from the drugs that I went to my Oncologist after the 4th round and told her I simply couldn't go on. I wanted to quit, not something I do easily. She immediately suggested counselling at ARC for both myself and my husband. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it myself, maybe because I thought that was for other people, preferring to cope privately, but miserably failing.
Through several sessions I was given the tools to cope, to separate myself from what the drugs were doing, to rationalise that this wasn't me, but the drugs affecting me. My husband also got counselling, finding a place where he could express himself openly and feel very safe in doing so.
I also found reflexology very calming and helpful.
I decided during my treatment that I couldn't go through what I'd been through, experiencing so much love, care and kindness from so many people, without finding a way to say thank you.
The enormous gratitude I feel for the ARC team for the help they gave me at a time when I've never felt more vulnerable, made me want to support them, and in so doing, know that I would be helping others going through cancer.
I am very proud to be a brand ambassador for ARC."