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Brave Brogan basks in life of normality after cancer battle

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Lifestyle – Judy Murphy meets a family whose lives were turned upside down by child’s diagnosis

People would say to me ‘I don’t know how you coped, but the fact is you have no choice,” says Etain Wilson whose son Brogan was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two and a half.

His diagnosis was the prelude to two years’ intensive treatment at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children’s Hospital in Crumlin before Brogan, from Athenry, was given the all-clear.

“For two years, life was a rollercoaster of checks and treatments and tests. Before he got sick, we never knew about Crumlin,” says his father, John Cloonan.

Six years on, eight-year-old Brogan is a healthy youngster who is obsessed with sport – he plays football, Gaelic football and soccer, is an avid cyclist and swimmer, takes part in triathlons and is learning taekwondo.

But getting here wasn’t simple, as Etain and her husband John explain. The Athenry couple also have two older boys, Cian and Darragh, who are now 13 and 10.

Etain is originally from Dublin and John is a local man – after marrying, they moved to America, but came home when their children were born, settling in Athenry close to John’s family. He had worked as an engineer in the US but re-trained and worked as a teacher after returning home, while Etain was a fulltime home-maker.

Brogan was about two when he went through a phase of not eating and being generally off-form. Etain and John initially thought it might be due to teething or toilet training, but as it dragged on they became increasingly concerned.

“When I’d bring either of the other two to the doctor for their check-ups or if they were sick, I’d mention that he wasn’t right,” says Etain. “But he hadn’t been really sick – he was just a bit off. And he’d been on antibiotics, so we thought it was just that he was a bit low in himself.”

Then Brogan developed a tumour in his throat. He was sent to UHG and straight away, the Galway hospital referred him to Crumlin.

“We knew it was serious then,” says his mother.

In Crumlin, Brogan was examined by an ear, nose and throat specialist, who sent them directly to the oncology department. After further tests, they started chemotherapy immediately.

He had Stage 4 Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, which meant the cancer, which started in the lymph nodes, had spread and there were tumours on his brain, throat and kidney.

However, the prognosis was good, in that most children who get proper treatment at an early stage survive this type of cancer.  There was a long road ahead involving two years of chemo, but Etain and John were told the treatment would be staged. They were kept in the loop, but never overloaded with information.

“If you knew all that was ahead, it would be overwhelming,” explains John.

Their second son Darragh had been due to start school the following week. Only a few days before, that had been Etain’s and John’s main focus. Now, life had been turned upside down.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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A man lies on a bed of nails at the opening of Galway Shopping Centre, Headford Road, on October 26, 1972

1921

Silence is golden

Leaders on both sides have stated that the best assistance the country can give in the making of peace is to keep silence.

During the past week there has been a great deal of speculation, most of it harmless enough, as, for instance, the enterprising American journalist’s “exclusive” on the first meeting of the British Premier and the President of the Irish Republic; much of it positively mischievous, as the case of the efforts of a certain journal, which has grown hoary in the reputation for throwing in the apple of discord, to anticipate failure in advance.

Our American colleague was on surer and on safer ground when he told of how de Valera and Lloyd George met.

“Mr. Lloyd George,” he cabled, “was sitting at his desk when the Irish President entered. For just a minute these two gazed fixedly at one another. Then the British Premier walked across the intervening space and shook de Valera by the hand. He led him to a seat where they sat side by side. The atmosphere was tense. They faced one another. Then Lloyd George reached down for a box of cigars. But the Irish President is of Spartan mould. He neither permits himself to drink nor smoke. He politely but firmly waved the box away. Mr. Lloyd George, however, selected and lighted a Havana, and as the smoke curled upwards the atmosphere became decidedly easier!”

Good planning

The wise and practical man always lays by a store against the time when supplies will be scarce. One of the most serious effects of the prolonged drought is the scarcity of supplies of fodder for cattle-feeding during the coming winter and spring.

The hay crop is not more than half the average yield. The corn crop is far below normal. Turnips in many districts are a partial failure. We have frequently emphasised the importance of growing catch-crops to supplement other feeding stuffs raised on the farm, but it is only under circumstances such as the present that their utility is brought home to farmers. Owing to the early harvest, a larger area than is usual can and should be put down this season. This would make good, to some extent, at least, the shortage of hay and other feeding-stuffs.

The demonstration plots laid down by the County Committee of Agriculture have shown that catch-crops, such as vetches and rye as well as other mixtures, can be successfully grown in all parts of County Galway.

We would urge on farmers the desirability – nay, the necessity – of procuring seed and making early preparation for the sowing of an increased area of catch-crops this season.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Country Living

A weekly peep into wacky and wonderful world of country life

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In the mid-1970s, JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY was a schoolboy with a camera who had an eye for the unusual shots. He took this picture outside McDonagh’s Thatch Bar in Oranmore of a gentleman taking a break from the rigours of life, with the Connacht Tribune poster on the window and also note the weekly Woman’s Choice magazine on the other side. In those days, ‘print was king’.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s most unusual these days in the newspaper game to get anything in the post. Everything pops in on the email  . . . we’re all hopping in and out of Google every few minutes . . . and of course if the mobile is more than a metre away from our person, it’s as if we’re standing naked in a crowded church.

Anyway, last week, a handwritten envelope arrived from the current editor of the Tuam Herald, David Burke, who I soldiered with for a number of years back in the 1980s, which included a copy of an old column I had written for The Herald, back in January of 1984.

The column was called Country Scene and was written under the pen name of Pierce Ploughman, a king of play of words (I think) on a famous late 14th century poem called Piers Plowman and written by a William Langland, dealing with the quest for the true Christian life.

At the time one of the reasons for the pen name was that it would allow me to write a bit more anonymously about some of the characters I’d meet on the highways and byways of country life, but of course after the first column or two, my cover was blown.

One of the jolts we all get from looking back at things from the past is of course that realisation that time seems to have slipped so quickly – almost as in the blink of an eye.

The column David Burke sent to me, and written over 37-years ago, actually jogged a little memory tributary in my brain. I could remember writing it and I could remember the local character it was based on too, thankfully still alive, hale and hearty.

His name in the column was Malachy and like Pierce Ploughman of course it wasn’t his real one and his novelty in his trait of never being quite able to make up his mind about anything. One of Malachy’s dilemmas was summed up in this extract from the Country Scene column of January 7, 1984:

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Novel book offers solace for persistent pain sufferers

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Dr Monty Lyman

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

If you are one of the thousands of people who suffer from persistent pain, listen up.  A new book by a junior doctor in the UK promises to offer solace. “Everything we think we know about pain is wrong. By ‘we’, I mean us as a society; I mean most people in and outside the medical establishment. We misunderstand the nature of pain and this misunderstanding is ruining the lives of millions.”

In his second book, The Painful Truth, Dr Monty Lyman, 28, reveals that he has been cured of longstanding and occasionally severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) through hypnotherapy.

“Hypnosis was something I never heard mentioned at medical school and something I previously sneered at, but my own pain relief has been near miraculous.”

Imagining “his bowels changing from rocky rapids to the languid Oxfordshire Thames” had the most powerful effect.

Working in Acute General Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals, he declares that pain is a protector – “this truth is forming the foundation of a pain revolution”. Understanding this ultimately relieves pain.

He recalls the moment when his interest in pain first began. He was playing cricket on a beach when a hook became lodged in his foot.

“But the pain I felt fluctuated wildly, despite the issue in the tissue not changing one bit. The pain began when I saw the offending object protruding from my foot, was diminished by the presence of impressed onlookers, grew worse when I was on my own, and even more so when I visualized the angles needed for the hook’s exit strategy. The seed in my mind grew into a fundamental truth: pain is clearly not a direct measure of injury. Hurt does not equal harm.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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