Need some mammo-motivation ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Read on…

We’re approaching October, a time which not only hails the arrival of Halloween, it also hails the onset of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

  Therefore ladies, as the risk of breast cancer increases when we get older, those of us who are between the ages of 50 and 69 will be getting our invitations to undergo that routine mammogram every two years. I had mine last October, (following a long delay due to the pandemic), and, two weeks later, I was extremely grateful and relieved to get my ‘all clear’ letter.

  BreastCheck is a free service, and, as someone who has a family history of breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer, it’s one which I’m extremely grateful to avail of. For anyone attending for the first time who’s not familiar with a mammogram, let me explain that while it’s nothing more sinister or more complicated than having an X-ray of your breast, it’s also the most effective way of detecting signs of early breast cancer. 

  While a lot of women, (me included), experience what I call ‘mamo anxiety’ worrying about the appointment the second that invitation arrives, even as our concerns are perfectly valid, I know that as this procedure forms a major part of maintaining our physical health and wellbeing, it’s vital we all keep our appointments. 

  However, let me say, that while, according to Breast Cancer Ireland, ‘one in nine women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime’ – making it the second most common cancer in women in this country – early detection will greatly increase our chances for successful treatment. 

  While I do know that many women may use the excuse they don’t need to attend for a mammogram due to having no familial risk, my advice is to think again…while you’re doing it, think of those closest to you, those who matter and those who love you. I mean, doesn’t your partner, your kids, your grandkids, your family, your parents, and your pets deserve to have you around? 

  The answer is yes. Therefore, as my mouth is not a bakery and I never sugar-coat anything, my advice is pull up your big girl panties, push past that anxiety, and keep that appointment (bring a friend along with you on the day) and get on with it. Why? Because, put simply, you’re worth it, and, if you’ve reached that ‘certain age’ it’s best you get used to slotting in your mammograms, and, not just as a routine part of your life; but as a necessary part…kind of like having those dreaded dental check-ups. 

  When you’re all done and dusted, reward yourself with a nice flavoured coffee and a scone, or some other treat you enjoy. Oh who am I kidding, order yourself a takeaway, grab a bottle of your favourite tipple – and I don’t mean aqua-hol, I mean alcohol – as in, a drop of the ‘hard stuff’. If, like me, you partake of a bevvie, then you indulge and you enjoy that pick me up, ladies! For those who don’t approve of alcoholic fortification, or who advocate for teetotalism – as is your right – I’m going to do my bit and add the following…always drink alcohol responsibly, etc., etc., etc.

  Still need some mammo-motivation? Maybe this statistic will persuade you – according to the HSE’s website ‘most breast lumps (90%) aren’t cancerous’. However ladies, if you do feel a lump, a bump, a dimpling, or notice anything different about your breasts, consult your doctor as soon as possible to have them examined.

  In the meantime, check that your name is on the BreastCheck register, or Freephone 1800 45 45 55!


In memory of a reader’s fur-babies Marley and Max…

I’m always grateful to receive letters from my readers.  In fact, because I sincerely appreciate your feedback and value your insights, I welcome your correspondence in all of its forms; (even if it’s – on rare occasions – uncomplimentary)!  

  However, this week, (because this lady gave me permission to print her name), I’d like to mention a lovely letter I received from Helena Madden-Feeney and say thank you so, so much for taking the time to put pen to paper and tell me about what has been happening in your life.

  Firstly Helena, I’m much obliged to you for reading my column ‘every week’, and I’m so glad my musings provide you with some comfort; especially regarding  one particular subject I addressed. 

  You also gave me permission to print the contents of your letter, but I won’t, because it’s a private correspondence. However, what I will say is this Helena…may God bless you and your husband for being so kind-hearted to offer not just a loving home, but a safe haven and a sanctuary to that helpless little abandoned kitten. 

  I’m not a religious person, but I believe in guardian angels; and I’m willing to bet your precious deceased  fur-babies Marley and Max were working their magic the night that cruel individual ‘stopped their car’ and dumped the poor little pet in your garden before ‘taking off at high speed’. 

  This kitten could have been jettisoned anywhere that night; but he wasn’t. It’s my belief that fate, and the little creature’s guardian angels, (your King Charles Cavalier and your Golden Lab) managed to intervene from over Rainbow Bridge. Indeed, (and call me silly), but it seems to me that the cowardly individual who dumped this baby did him a major favour because now a once cold, hungry, frightened and orphaned little feline has, quite literally, landed on his feet!

  The little guy not only gets a five-star home where he’ll never again want for anything, he’ll reward you, his guardian angels’ grieving mammy and daddy, with a love and a loyalty so pure and so unconditional, it’ll enrich your lives in ways you never dreamed possible.

  From the bottom of my heart, thank you Helena and John for your kindness and for honouring the memory of Marley and Max by opening up your hearts and your home to this much-deserving fur-baby. I’d also like to offer my sincere condolences to you Helena on the loss of your darling parents. 


Why is Meghan Markle despised more than Prince Andrew? 

I’m no fan of Meghan Markle or her hubby Harry, but, as I know what it’s like not to get on with some of your in-laws, (or in my case some of my former in-laws), I have to say I sympathise with her.  

  During the Brits’ ten days of pomp, ceremony and period of national mourning for their deceased monarch, i.e. her grandmother-in-law, Meghan not only became the subject of obsessive speculation; she also became public enemy number one!

  We all know the second we marry our partners, we’re also marrying their family, and while the addition of some in-laws can be a blessing, it’s true that others wouldn’t even prove useful enough to make up the numbers at a family game of Trivial Pursuit.  

  Okay, I get it; Meghan flitted off to LA to embrace sunnier climes, a rumoured deal with a high profile streaming service and a podcast; taking the Brits’ precious Harry and the couple’s kids with her. 

  Nevertheless, while King Charles has expressed his ‘love’ for the pair, it seems the majority of the British public are a bunch of bitter biddies with #GoHomeMeghan trending all across social media. 

  This latest development has led me to ask why is it that a woman, who hasn’t really done much wrong (other than spill her guts to Oprah), is despised more than her uncle-in-law Prince Andrew, a man who settled a civil (albeit alleged) ‘sex abuse’ case filed against him for a reported $20 million?    

  I don’t know about Meghan Markle, but I believe it’s an awful pity we can’t edit our in-laws in the same way as we can edit our friend list! Just sayin’.