Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan has announced she is now receiving end-of-life “palliative care” and that her priority is to spend Christmas with her family.
In a video update posted online, Ms Phelan said she had decided she is not going to continue receiving chemotherapy as it was making her too ill.
“It’s palliative, we all know that, I know that, my family knows that," she said.
The 46-year-old mother of two said she wants to enjoy what is left of her life with her family: “I’m doing really well, but it won’t last, we all know that. I'm hoping to get to Christmas with my kids.
“And after that, well who knows, but for the moment, my target is Christmas, and yeah, after that, I'm pretty happy to go at that point, just to get to Christmas.”
Wearing a headscarf after losing her hair to the effects of her treatment, Ms Phelan said chemotherapy had drained her of all her energy: “The only way I can describe it is like hell, to be honest, I had shooting pains all over my body.”
She paid tribute to "fabulous palliative care nurses from Milford Hospice, who have been absolutely fantastic to me and my family."
“I’ve just decided I'm not doing this anymore, I’m just not putting my body through this anymore, this is my fourth line of treatment, most cancer patients get to three lines of treatment, maybe four, and really, when you get to the fourth line of treatment there’s not much they can do," she said.
Ms Phelan said she is now receiving medication to treat her symptoms and “to keep my pain under control”.
She said she felt that if she continued with chemotherapy, she would not be able to enjoy Christmas with her children.
These are the things I want to be able to do between now and Christmas
“Knowing my luck I would end up in (hospital) over Christmas, and, with Covid, nobody would be able to visit me, so I just decided after those horrendous side effects that, I'm not going to put my body through that hell anymore.”
She added: “I was out shopping with my daughter for her transition year work placement clothes, you know, it’s great to be able to do that. These are the things I want to do with my kids, my son just wants me to be able to go watch him playing soccer.
“He’s been sick for the past two days, so we went for breakfast this morning, and it was just the two of us and it was just lovely; so these are the things I want to be able to do between now and Christmas.”
Ms Phelan thanked well-wishers who continue to send her cards, presents, holy medals, mass bouquets and messages online.
In 2018, Ms Phelan settled high court proceedings against a US laboratory Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, after it emerged the results of a 2011 smear test, which showed Ms Phelan had no abnormalities at the time, was found in a 2014 audit of smear tests on a number of women to be incorrect.
Ms Phelan received a terminal cancer diagnosis in 2014 but she was not informed of the smear test review until 2017.
The settlement against the lab was made without admission of liability.
Ms Phelan concluded her video message by blowing her supporters a kiss, adding: “I’m not dying yet, there’s nine lives in this cat and I don't think I’m on my ninth one, just yet.”