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Beating cancer after finding lump during early stages of pregnancy

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Sarah McGinley was just five weeks pregnant when she discovered a lump on her neck.

Doctors reassured the young teacher that it was pregnancy related, and it wasn’t until after her son Rua Patrick was born and the lump persisted, that she was referred to the endocrine clinic.

After a long wait, an ultrasound, a biopsy and some honest warnings from her the doctor at the clinic, Sarah was diagnosed with Stage 2 thyroid cancer.

“Nothing really was made about it and they weren’t too worried about it at all, and every time I went for an appointment I would tell them my symptoms like they asked,” she said.

Sarah would tell her doctors of her symptoms, most of which were normal, except for the lump on her neck which was thought to have been pregnancy related goitre.

Her bloods were always fine and never gave away any warning signs or showed up any malfunctions of the thyroid.

“When I was lying down I couldn’t swallow properly and it was quite restrictive on my neck and I could see it.

“Not that I was paranoid or anything, but I knew there was something wrong.”

At the clinic, Sarah remembers her doctor’s honesty and efficiency with being able to spot the abnormalities almost immediately.

Soon after, Sarah had her thyroid removed along with some surrounding lymph nodes.

The 32-year-old from Wellpark received radioactive iodine treatment in St Luke’s Hospital in Dublin, where she was in isolation for almost a week.

“It was very difficult at the time. I think the hardest part was when I got home and I couldn’t actually go back to my own house because you can’t be near children or pregnant people for a different amount of time for each person.

“So for me, I wasn’t able to share a bed with my partner or the baby or be near him.

“I was able to be in the same room as him so long as he didn’t come near me which is impossible with a baby, so I kind of had to keep my distance for another week then, so that was hardest on me but he didn’t even notice!”

Despite these difficulties, Sarah was able to have some well-needed rest while on the radioactive treatment, completing schoolwork and watching television.

Adamant she was going to breastfeed her son until he was one, Sarah recalls the disappointment of being told she couldn’t continue to do so.

It was her surgeon’s kindness and empathy with handling her situation that largely got her through her diagnosis and ultimately arriving at acceptance of her illness.

“She was so empathetic; she just very kindly talked me through how the surgery would affect me and how I wouldn’t be able to continue breastfeeding and that really broke my heart.”

Acceptance of her illness came after Christmas when Sarah believed she was fit to return to work, but didn’t realise the toll which the surgery would take on her, as well as everything else that would be coming.

Her surgeon, Orla Young at UHG, and nurse sat her down to kindly explain to her that it was okay not to go back to work just yet.

“I was feeling really exhausted, wiped out exhausted, and they said yes, that’s totally fine and expected and normal and really validated my feelings and me realise that it’s ok, and I was now someone who was really sick which is difficult to get your head around when you’ve not been sick, ever.”

Now officially cancer free, Sarah ran the Colour Dash race with her brother Joe and sister-in-law Jess last week to give back to Cancer Care West and the Daffodil Centres which were a huge help to her.

The Centre also offers counselling to family members and those affected by cancer as well as massages to patients.

Sarah has since returned to work at St. Joseph’s special school where she has received nothing but support from the principal, students and their families.

“I feel like there’s normality returning to my life. When you’re dealing with going to hospital and being told that you have a cancer diagnosis you suddenly enter a parallel universe that’s out of your comfort zone.

“Everything is so strange, and you don’t have a frame of reference for any of it and you feel very uncertain of everything.

“The support, love, understanding and kindness my amazing family, friends, colleagues at St. Joseph’s Special School [where she works in Newcastle], staff at Cancer Care West and the Irish Cancer Society have provided me with over the past nine months has kept me positive and completely focused on getting the all clear which I got today from St. Luke’s.

“My story is ultimately a happy one and I send strength to the families who don’t get to experience the happy ending I did.”

She hopes that Cancer Care West can produce more helpful booklets with the proceeds she raised. Sarah has a fundraising page that can be found here

CITY TRIBUNE

Glass roof over Latin Quarter among raft of proposals to Galway City Council

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to put a roof over the Latin Quarter – with outdoor heaters to combat Galway’s changeable weather – is among a raft of suggestions that will be considered by the Council as it draws up the next City Development Plan.

The widespread use of outdoor theatre and extended opening hours for retail and cultural attractions are also on the cards as members of the public and lobby groups push for a city that offers the broadest range of tourist attractions.

As part of series of measures put forward to improve the outdoor offering in the city, one submission – which is understood to have been noted by the Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath in his report on plan, which is at ‘pre-draft’ stage – is to put a glass ceiling on the city centre’s main commercial thoroughfares.

Planners are currently considering the proposal as part of more than 500 submissions made to Council in the first public consultation for the document, which will shape development in the city for six years after 2023.

It’s proposed that by covering the length of Quay Street/Latin Quarter in high retractable glass panes ‘mounted on decorative supports’, and installing street heaters, ‘a comfortable outdoor ambiance could be created’.

This is one of almost 50 submissions made in the area of economic development, where the theme of improving the city’s night-time economy and tourism offering feature prominently.

In another submission from Fáilte Ireland, the tourism authority expresses its desire that the next City Development Plan should have a chapter dedicated to tourism, such is its importance to the city’s economic success.

As well as developing Galway’s growing reputation as a ‘foodie destination’, developing the night-time economy is identified as being ‘an important aspect of ensuring a vibrant city centre and means more than just developing a bar and restaurant culture’.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

100 new jobs for Galway City Sports Direct outlet

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Sports Direct retail giant is set to create up to 100 new jobs when it takes over the former Debenhams department store in the Corrib Shopping Centre.

And the company’s sister outlet Heatons looks set to make a return to the city – possibly in the same building, although management are remaining tight-lipped.

Sports Direct has taken a lease on the Debenhams premises, which has been vacant since before the pandemic, and it will open in June.

“The 65,000 sq ft store will comprise four floors and will consist of Sports Direct, USC and Brand Max. 100 jobs for the store will be created,” a spokesperson confirmed to the Galway City Tribune.

The spokesperson could not confirm that the Heatons brand – which is also owned by English billionaire Mike Ashley – will also be opening as part of the move. The group is currently advertising for staff to work at a new Heatons store in Galway.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Forty firefighters tackle major blaze at Galway golf shop

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Up to 40 firefighters from across the city and county fought a major fire at the GolfStyle superstore off the Tuam Road for around six hours on Thursday morning.

Gardaí on routine patrol in the Liosbán Business Park shortly before 3am noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building and immediately alerted the fire service.

The building, which was unoccupied at the time, is understood to have suffered major structural and roof damage in the fire that started in the first floor.

At one point, 11 fire engines from the city, Athenry, Loughrea, Carraroe and Gort fought the blaze, using water tankers and aerial ladders, as well as having a command unit in place.

Firemen equipped with breathing apparatus also had to force their way into the building to tackle the source of the fire, that possibly could have been caused by an electrical problem.

The fire was brought under control at around 7.30am, but the Fire Brigade remained at the scene for a number of hours afterwards in case of any secondary outbreak.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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