In this final podcast of the series, Journalist, ex-Irish Times correspondent, Kerryman, and Multiple Myeloma patient Michael O’Regan discusses his experience of living with the condition.
Michael’s chat with Maire Treasa was recorded as part of the podcast series launch. In this engaging and honest account of Michael’s personal story he outlines his diagnosis and treatment journey, which was complicated by the fact that it was his second cancer diagnosis.
His first being a tumour on his leg back in 2018, which could have delayed his multiple myeloma diagnosis. He describes how he had some “classic” symptoms of the disease such as chronic back pain, however he was attributing these to his recovery from surgery and radiation for the leg tumour.
Michael had felt unwell for some time and knew something was wrong. A routine test in 2019 finally identified multiple myeloma, which Michael describes as his “second spin on the cancer merry-go round”. Along with monthly intravenous medication, Michael is now also on kidney dialysis three times a week.
Michael, openly gives his personal experience of how he has coped mentally with his diagnosis, “I’d like to say I dealt with this with bravery and courage and acceptance – I didn’t. I never lapsed into self-pity but I did rage against a second cancer diagnosis”.
He admits that, like many others diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the disease was not on his radar, and he knew very little about it when diagnosed. He is also honest about how he coped. For someone whose career is based on communication, he admitted that it took a while for him to talk about having cancer.
He describes how he found opening up on a personal level difficult, but with the help and support of psychology and excellent healthcare professionals once he decided he would be open about it, it gave him a certain “freedom”. Michael outlines how he went through depression, exhaustion, the physical and the mental side of the condition and its treatment.
He describes his journey through lost and adjustments to now living a “full life”. He describes how it is important to find the right way for each individual to cope. He talks about how the commitment of healthcare professionals and reading other peoples stories has help him, along with volunteer groups. Finally, Michael describes how “cancer can be dealt with” and the excellent treatment available to Irish patients.
Multiple Myeloma Ireland: