Dean elaine new years 20112

In sickness and in health

[caption id="attachment_66531" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Dean and Elaine celebrate New Year 2011. "]

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I left New York at the start of the summer. I was planning on being in Ireland to work on my Ph.D while staying at my parents' house in Wexford. This all changed when I heard Dean utter the words: "the cancer has come back."

I have known him for almost three years and we have been dating on and off since then, as I was in New York and he was in Andorra (a small country between France and Spain). I really like the guy, we get on so well - but I wasn't willing to give it a real shot because I know how hard the long distance thing can be. I have comforted enough girlfriends through breakups after long distance relationships. So I was reluctant to be in a serious long-term relationship with him, but we spent so much time chatting on the phone, we'd see each other anytime I was in Europe and he would come to New York to visit me that I suppose I should have just let things happen naturally. But I think that living in New York makes one extremely cynical. In the past I have put an end to good things before they have even started; I don't give them a chance. I have always over-analyzed new relationships as free time in Manhattan is so rare and precious that I didn't want to waste any of it on some relationship that might not work out. Simply put, Manhattan makes you selfish. Since Christmas Dean and I have, for the first time, been giving it a real, proper go and things were going so well and now this.

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Dean had cancer two years ago and we got the bad news at the end of May this year that it had returned. I jumped on a plane to Barcelona immediately to be there with him, no questions asked, I knew I was doing the right thing. I left New York in such a hurry that I had to cancel one of my Irish classes (sorry about that, students!). I spent all of June attending Dean's medical appointments as he went for scans and had blood taken in preparation for what was to come.

He was operated on at the beginning of July to remove a few cancerous lumps (sarcomas) from his back. The radiotherapy started three weeks after surgery and the chemotherapy started the following week. It's simply awful to have to sit and watch him receive chemo but I know I am helping him just by being there, sitting by his side and holding his hand. In my opinion, one of the main things that you can give a cancer patient is your time. No need for flowers, chocolates or magazines- just sit, listen to them and support them.

I go back home to Ireland whenever there is a break in his treatment and Dean comes with me sometimes. The thing about cancer is that people don't talk enough about it because they are scared. But people need to be more outspoken regarding cancer as its effects most families at some stage. Dean's cancer has been one of the best life lessons I have ever learned and it puts everything into perspective.

I sit with Dean during all his treatment, looking at him get weaker but knowing that this is hopefully going to make him better - and each day knowing that we are getting one step closer to the end of his treatment.

I never really paid much attention to the saying "your health is your wealth" but it is so true that without your health you have nothing. When I hear people moan and yell about little bad insignificant issues in their lives, I want to shake them and make them aware of how lucky they are to have their health. I can only hope and pray that Dean makes a full recovery and that this awful disease leaves him alone as cancer is a long and difficult road.

D'fhág mé Nua Eabhrac ar tús an tSamhraidh. Bhí mé le teacht abhaile go hÉireann chun obair ar mo Ph D, ag fanacht i Loch Garman le mo thuistí. D'athraigh sé seo ar fad nuair a dúirt Dean na focail "tá an t-ailse tar éis teach thar n-ais."

Tá aithne agam air le beagnach trí bhliain agus bhíomar 'dating on and off' mar a deirfeá, mar go raibh mise i Nua Eabhrac agus eisean in Andorra (tír bheag idir an Spáinn agus an Fhrainc). Taitníonn sé go mór liom, réitíonn muid go han mhaith lena chéile ach ní raibh mé toilteanach seans dáiríre a thabhairt dár ngaol mar go bfhuil lán-fhios agam cé chomh deacair agus a mbíonn sé gaol achar fada a bheith ag duine. Bím i mo chabhair do neart de mo chairde agus iad croí bhriste tar dóibh iarracht a dhéanamh ar gaol mar seo.

Is mar gheall ar seo go raibh amhras orm agus go raibheas drogallach siúl amach leis fad téarmach ach chaitheadh muid neart ama ag comhrá ar an nguthán, d'fhéicfeadh muid a chéile aon uair a bhíos san Eoraip agus thagadh sé go Manhattan ar cuairt agam. Is dócha go raibh sé de cheart agam seans ceart a thabhairt dúinn agus gaol dáiríre a bheith againn ach dar liomsa is é ceann de na rudaí is measa faoi bheith i do chónaí i Nua Eabhrac ná go n-éiríonn tú an-ciniciúil.

Ní thugam seans do rudaí mar cuirim deireadh leo sula dtosaíonn siad. Bíom de shíor ag ceistiú aon buachaill a bhfuil suim agam iontu. Bíonn duine chomh gnóthach i Manhattan nach dteastaíonn uathu aon am a chuir amú ar bhuachaill mar seans nach n-oibróidh sé amach. Éiríonn tú santach i Manhattan. Ón Nollaig seo caite, tá méféin agus Dean ag siúl amach lena chéile agus an-dáiríre faoinár ngaol, bhí rudaí ag dul ar aghaidh go breá agus anois é seo.

Bhí ailse ag mo bhuachaill dhá bhliain ó shin agus fuaireamar an droch nuacht ag deireadh mhí Bealtaine go bhfuil sé tagtha thar n-ais. Gan coinneadh chuaigh mé láithreach go Barcelona chun bheith in éineacht leis. Níor cheistigh mé tada, bhí a fhios agam go raibheas san áit cheart, ag déanamh an rud ceart agus táim anseo ó shin. Bhí orm Nua Eabhrach a fhágáil go scioptha agus ní bhfuaireas seans deireadh a chuir le ceann de mo ranganna, brón orm faoi sin a dhaltaí. Chaith mé an chéad mí ag freastail ar cruinnithe dochtúra, scans agus scrúduithe fola le Dean, ag reitiú le haghaidh cad a bhí le teacht.

Bhí obráid ag Dean ag tús mhí Iúil chun cúpla cnap ailseach (sarcoma) a bhaint as a dhroim, thosaigh an radiotherapy coicís i ndiaidh na hobráide agus an chemotherapy an tseachtain ina dhiaidh sin. Tá sé uafásach ag breathnú air ag fáil an Chemo ach bíom ina chabhair aige díreach bheith ansin in éineacht leis.

Sin an rud l'aisle, ceann de na rudaí is fearr a d'fhéadfá tabhairt d'othar l'aisle ná d'am. Ní gá bláthanna, iris nó seacláid a cheannach don dhuine, díreach bheithsásta suí leo, tacaíocht a thabhairt dhóibh agus an rud is tabhachtaí, éisteacht leo faoi conas mar a mhothaíonn siad.

Téim abhaile go hÉireann, nuair a bhíonn brise sa chóir leigheas agus tagann Dean abhaile liom uaireanta. An rud faoi ailse ná nach labhraíonn daoine faoi mar go bhfuil eagla an domhain rompu i ndiaidh ailse ach téann ailse i bhfeidhm ar gach uile clann agus caithfear iarracht a dhéanamh bheith níos ocsailte faoi. Tá an méid sin foglamtha agam ó ailse Dean agus cuireann sé gach rud i gcomhthéacs sa saol.

Suighim lámh le Dean agus é i mbun chemo agus é ag éirí níos laige ach le gach seisiún agus muid níos giorra le deireadh an cóir leigheas, éiríonn sé rud beag níos easca.

Níor thuieas riamh an tábhacht a bhain leis an ráiteas "muna bhfuil do shláinte agat níl tada agat" ach aontím go huile agus go hiomlán leis mar is cuma faoi gach rud eile agus duine tinn l'ailse. Nuair a chloisim daoine ag cáineadh faoi rudaí bheaga sa saol, teastaíonn uaim buille a thabhairt dóibh mar go bhfuil an t-ádh orthu agus ní thuigeann siad é seo.

Le cúnamh Dé gheobhaidh muid dea-scéal agus beidh Dean ceart go leor ach is fada an mbóthar é ailse.