Good morning everyone! Today I want to give a long overdue update as to how I’m doing with chemo and also a magazine update.
Thank you all so much for your patience these past few weeks while Happy Magazine has been quiet. Thank you also to those of you who have sent me messages of support and motivation lately – they have all helped me so much.
I am doing better now. The last few months have been very tough. Finding myself back in the blue chemo chairs at St James’s Hospital has been difficult, to say the least. The many, many hospital appointments since we started this journey again have been fraught with stress and frustration. In August I started with about two months of chemo that seemed a little too easy to be true while we also went through a process of trying to see if I would be eligible for a special cancer trial taking place in St Vincent’s Hospital (no luck here ultimately). I was managing the chemo very well and continuing with most of my day-to-day activities like taking my little boy to playschool, but was having terrible pain which seemed to worsen as the weeks went on. We asked for an earlier scan date to check my progress and we’re so glad we followed our gut feelings – the chemo wasn’t working at all it seems and things had been getting worse. Definitely not the news we wanted to hear, that’s for sure. I was changed to another chemo called GemCarbo then, about three weeks ago. And boy, I’m finding this one tough. This one seems very much like that first chemo I had back in Jan 2017 – the red stuff, “AC” (which worked so well). This feels as tough as that one was, with me needing almost three full days of complete rest to recover and get back on my feet. I did also have a cold at the same time as these two first GemCarbo sessions and both my little boy and Husband were also ill with coughs, colds and tummy bugs during these weeks – so the last month in particular has felt very difficult.
And now for the GOOD news – I was finally on a break week from chemo this week (after three back to back weekly chemos) and I have felt steadily better each day. The chest pain that I was having before, on the first chemo, seemed to heal a little more with each day and I haven’t had any significant pain all week – a definite improvement. That to me says that my new chemo seems to have made a POWERFUL start, and I am so, so very grateful for this. My mantras right now are, “Today I will be a little bit better than yesterday” and “I am strong, I am healing, I am getting better”. I try to fill my mind with these words whenever I feel the need (which is often!).
I am back in for chemo again this Wednesday, my third GemCarbo, so we are currently getting prepared for that (mentally, and practically too with groceries in, etc and plans in place for help from friends and family after chemo) while also hopefully wrapping up the overdue Happy Magazine print issue – more on that next. The plan is to stay on this chemo for as long as it is working – we are all hoping and praying that it will be very successful at knocking the cancer out completely. We will be doing a few more rounds of this chemo over the next few weeks and then another scan to see how things are going. Hopefully we’ll be getting good news in time for Christmas.
Happy Magazine issue update
On my good days, I’ve been working with a designer to get the September print issue of Happy Magazine complete. This is my other good news – it is just about ready and I hope to be sending it to print this week! I would like to say a very big thank you to all the advertisers in the issue who have been very patient with the delay to get the issue out. We are almost there. It’s a Christmas issue now and we’ve got a very special celeb star on the cover! I am hoping to have it land at all our distribution locations in early December. If you have a postal subscription, this issue will come to you in the post as soon as it launches, and some subscription refunds will also be processed at this time, see below for more on this.
The future of Happy Magazine
In terms of the future of the magazine, I have officially ceased trading as a business for the time being while I get through treatment. The magazine will continue to exist as a limited company but will not be trading again until I am well enough to return to it. As a result, any postal subscriptions that have been paid in advance for print issues that were planned for 2020 will be refunded over the next few weeks. Please bear with me while I organise this.
It is my hope to continue writing Happy Magazine online whenever I feel well enough, on a not-for-profit basis, i.e. without advertising, but the print issues will likely cease for the time being.
Looking for volunteers
I am currently organising a “Boxing Day” for when the new magazine arrives back from the printers – a day where we box up the magazines and label them for the couriers – and it would be great to get some volunteers for that day, which will probably be near the end of the month. On the last issue, we sent a whopping 90 boxes of magazines around the country. So, many hands will make light work! If you live near west Dublin and could help with this “Boxing Day”, please do send me an email at email@example.com.
Alongside all of this, some of you may have seen online that two dear friends of mine, Orlagh and Cathy, are running fundraisers for me. Orlagh will be running the Mount Fuji marathon in Tokyo on 23 November (also my 35th birthday) and Cathy is holding a coffee morning for me in her home. I am so incredibly grateful to both of them for offering to help me and my family like this and of course to everyone who so kindly donates to their fundraisers, during such difficult financial times. I know things are not easy for anyone these days and the love and support people are showing us while we are going through this chapter continues to completely take my breath away.
It is my promise to you all that we will use any money raised in these fundraisers responsibly – to help fund a number of complementary therapies we are doing alongside my chemotherapy, as well as the fees associated with a London cancer trial we are hoping to join and another special genetic test we are hoping to do through our hospital. Money is a constant worry for us as both my Husband and I were/are self-employed (he is still self-employed but has had to reduce his hours a lot to care for me and our son during chemo days). I will link to both fundraisers at the end of this post if you would like to support them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you ❤️
To our friends, family, extended family, all Happy Magazine readers, YOU reading this – thank you all so much for your continued support and motivation at this time. I can’t begin to tell you all how much it means to us. We are leaning so heavily right now on all the support around us – and could never do this all without it. We are so very grateful to our family and friends who are propping us up at the moment. Please don’t stay away, your support is getting us through the dark days. This is my heartfelt thank you.
I hope to be back writing online here regularly again very soon. I hope you found this update helpful and I wish a happy and healthy week ahead for all of us. Let’s do this thing!
To support Cathy’s Coffee Morning Fundraiser: Click here
To support Orlagh’s Mount Fuji Marathon Fundraiser: Click here
Sending all my thoughts and prayers to you .you go girl .you are a warrior.you will get through this .big hugs
You go girl. Holly you are an inspiration to us all. Take the positive from every day. You are in my prayers every day. Love, hugs and 😘 Geraldine Cahill
Dear Holly so nice to receive a post from Happy magazine. Sending warm wishes of support to you and your family.Thinking of you. Claire
Dear Holly whilst I have not been in touch I have been thinking about you since you shared your news with us. I pray that you will get better and stronger. I loved Happy Magazine. Sending you and your family loads of love and blessings. Bernadette
Holly, thank you for sharing about your journey. I find your courage and inspiration contagious! I am 50, diagnosed with bc at age 49. I want you to know that I am sending you strength from here in Chicago!
Dear Holly, wishing you the very best, I too had breast cancer last year and there was times I found it very difficult to cope, but reading your blogs and advice kept me going. thank you Catherine
It’s nice to hear your update, was wondering how you were doing! Good luck with the new chemo & all the other stuff you are going through! Keep fighting!!
Holly your work has been such an inspiration to thousands of people. I really hope you can pick up where you left off in the not so distant future, but only when your health recovers. We will be here to help when it does! In the meantime I have my fingers crossed for this new chemo! Hugs for you and your family. Clare
I wish you all the best with your treatment and send warmest wishes to your family, may you all continue to find the strength to go on xxx
Hi Holly, I had promised to include a bit of humour in my comments to make your day a little better. Unfortunately I got a bit of a set back myself, but it my remains in my head and I promise to send you a few lighthearted comments in the near future. I’m sending you love, prayers and best wishes. I hope your treatment is going well and that your spirit is positive. Be strong and remember you are a Warrior and you will succeed.
Hi Michael, I’m very sorry to hear you have also had a setback. And here you are still, cheering me on! Thank you. We will both get through this with humour and courage, I just know it. Take one day at a time and whatever you do, never give up.