Carmel Wilmot, who lives in Monivea in County Galway, began to feel unwell after her Mother’s month’s mind in 2019 and couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong with her, “My back was hurting me and I had MRIs and stuff on my back. Long story short, by the August, September that year I was feeling really unwell. I went to a local GP and I kind of knew something was not right.” Carmel’s GP went onto examine her and straight away recognized the issue. “I knew by the woman’s face, she didn’t have to say anything. She was horrified that I’d been in hospital and they’d let me out.” Carmel’s GP sent her directly into the Maternity Unit in the University Hospital, Galway. From there, Carmel was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Carmel began to get her head around her diagnosis but later felt an overwhelming sense of shock when she was told she was going to be put in touch with a Palliative Care Team, “It horrified me because I though oh my God am I going to die here and they haven’t told me.” When Carmel came out of the hospital, she was put in touch with Galway Hospice. The hospice palliative care team were given the responsibility of controlling Carmel’s pain and managing her pain relief. She also began sessions of Art therapy with Art Therapist, Kathy Hyland. Carmel found this hugely beneficial as she lives alone, “It was my lifeline to be able to come in here.” Carmel tells of days when she’d come into the hospice in great pain and would end up spending an Art Therapy session crying with Kathy, “Kathy just has that lovely gentle nature about her, as the weeks went on I built up that bond with her and I felt very comfortable”.
Carmel advises anyone who receives a life changing diagnosis to remember that the hospice is there for you, “You know you can come in and you know they’re there for you. A cancer journey is not a journey you wish on anybody. It’s not a road I ever thought I’d have to walk. I suppose what helps is all the people you meet along the way.” Carmel says the hospice really helped take some of her fear away and for anyone starting on a journey to avail of the help that is out there, “Reach out to the hospice and get to know what they can do for you.”