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Vicky Phelan tells how cancer diagnosis helped her beat depression

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Campaigner Vicky Phelan says her terminal cancer diagnosis has helped her overcome her struggle with depression.

The Limerick mum of two, who blew the lid on the CervicalCheck smear scandal, added she hasn’t had mental health woes for nearly three years.

She revealed: “I haven’t had a day’s depression since 2017 – that was the last time I was depressed.

“When you consider what I’ve had to deal with in the past two years…

“The only way I can explain it is when you’re given a terminal diagnosis it gives you an appreciation of life and kind of everything else just falls away.

“I got the worst news you can possibly get and all I want now is time. So I don’t care what I look like anymore.



Joe Duffy and Vicky Phelan for The Meaning of Life ep 2 RTE

“I’m two stone heavier than I ever was, I couldn’t give a s***.

“I’m alive, my kids don’t care what weight I am, I’m here with them and I’m well enough to do things with them and that is all that matters.

“Clarity is the only word I can use to describe it, it gives you huge clarity.

“I would choose cancer over depression any day because I’m able to wake up. When you have depression, waking up, everything is black.

“But now I wake up, I’m grateful that I’m not depressed. I check for aches and pains and any new lumps and bumps, I get out of bed and I’m glad to be alive.

On RTE’s The Meaning Of Life, Vicky reveals her lowest ebbs came after a horrific car crash in France and when her daughter suffered burns in a fire.



Vicky Phelan

And she admits she would have a few choice words for God at the pearly gates of heaven if she believed he existed.

She explained: “One of the things I’ve pushed for is accountability and answers – that is something I would ask for. Accountability for the amount of suffering we have in this world.

“Why should good people suffer when there are bad people doing terrible things and getting away with it?”

Best-selling author Vicky has had 40 infusions of the chemotherapy drug Pembro to treat an inoperable 5cm tumour at her aorta.

But she clings to the lifeline of hope from her aunt, a medium, who told her she can see her standing on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in 2025.

She said: “If I got three years I’d be delighted, if I got five years I’d be thrilled. I’m 45 now, I’d love to get to 50.

“I’ll do my best to be there. I can see myself standing on that Golden Gate Bridge… in 2025.”

  • The Meaning of Life airs on RTE One tonight
    at 10.30pm.

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