A little over three and a half years ago, just before Christmas, I was diagnosed with cancer of the vocal chords. Last Friday I got an ‘all clear’ again during my recent check up. Needless to say I am thrilled, and so is my doctor.
Two days after my diagnosis, same doctor asked me to pee into a cup to make sure I was not pregnant before going into surgery. To me this was just another thing to do in line with biopsies, blood tests, and cameras up my nose. In fact it was the one painfree test we did and I remember his face when I asked him what happens if I am pregnant. „Let’s not go there,“ was all he said. Little did I know than that a positive pregnancy test would have meant no life saving surgery, no cancer treatment for me.
Calling my mum a week before Christmas to say I won’t be coming home, I have cancer is the hardest call I ever had to make.
Calling my mum a week before Christmas to say I won’t be coming home, I have cancer and I won’t be receiving treatment in the country I chose to be my home, is what the 8th Amendment means.
No treatment means more cancer growth on my vocal chords, I would have lost my voice, my ability to speak … ever again. Cancer tried silence me. The 8th Amendment would most certainly have achieved it. And it could well have cost me my life.
Would I have had an abortion to save my own life? The truth is: Yes. This truth doesn’t feel great, it doesn’t feel easy, but it is my truth. For me there is no two ways about this. It may not be your choice and I wouldn’t ask it of you. Until you’re in my place though, be no judge of mine.
Loving both is fantastic when life is good. I love kids, was I pregnant I happily have them all. When you’re dealt cancer, when your life is on the line, a NO vote denies you treatment. Your NO vote is you judging me for wanting to live. It is YOU trying to silence me. You’re passing me a death sentence. When you are diagnosed with cancer and a pregnancy at the same time, loving both becomes your choice. Taking risks to your own life becomes your choice. Chances are, I would admire you for your convictions. Voting YES still allows you to do so if you wish. Compassion is to give us all a choice. You don’t want “Sorry, no treatment.” to be your only choice so I’d love it if you voted YES.
I cannot cast my vote in this referendum, but it be a loud and clear. Writing this is me having a voice.