Cervical Check campaigner Vicky Phelan says “there will be tears” when she returns to Ireland next week to see her children.
s Phelan is undergoing experimental cancer treatment in the US in an attempt to prolong her life after the Pembro drugs she was taking stopped working.
The Limerick woman traveled to Maryland in January this year to participate in the clinical trial and says she is “emotional” about coming home for a month on Wednesday and reuniting with her children, Amelia and Darragh.
“It’s been so long since I’ve seen them. When I came here in January, I really didn’t think it would be six months before I would see my kids. I really thought they might come out.
“Had I known in January that none of my family would have ever been able to travel out, I don’t know if I would have come out,” she told RTE Radio 1 with Miriam on Sunday.
Earlier this month, Ms. Phelan experienced “relentless” side effects as a result of the clinical trial drugs and spent three nights in the hospital. One of the symptoms she experienced was facial inflammation due to Bell’s palsy.
“I kept getting one side effect after another – I really thought, God has this gone to my brain?” she told the program.
However, she said she is “lucky” not to have any of the “major” side effects that would force the trail to end.
Speaking about the loneliness of going through the US clinical trial alone, she said, “I think I probably found this experience the toughest of my cancer journey of the past eight years.
“There’s always the worry — like what if something brings me here and I don’t see my kids or my family anymore — coming home in a coffin, and that’s a very real reality for me here,” she said.
The women’s health advocate said the support she’s received from Irish in the US and at home since her path began is “what kept me going.”
“It’s such little things that make all the difference and make you feel at home,” she said.