Saturday 19 January 2019

I'm still undergoing treatment but I feel so lucky to have been given all clear

I was out for a meal in Bristol with my co-stars on Calendar Girls last night, so we're all nursing slightly sore heads today.

We've been in Bristol all week and it was a really nice way to send us on our way to the next destination, my hometown Dublin.

I'm so excited about coming home. I've been telling everyone on the show, from Lynda Bellingham to Jennifer Ellison, what a great place Dublin is and they're all really excited to arrive on Sunday.

Before I head off, I had to go for a medical treatment this morning to have Herceptin [Bernie is undergoing treatment for cancer]. It sounds way worse than it is. I'm actually very lucky in that I haven't had any really bad side effects because I've heard of people who have had.


For anyone who doesn't know, it's a treatment you have every three weeks after having breast cancer. It's a revolutionary drug and the idea is that it prevents you from having any relapses down the line.

Anyone who has had breast cancer will generally have had it. I have to continue taking it every three weeks until May, as I've been recommended to take an 18-treatment course.

It can give you flu-like symptoms but thankfully I've escaped them so far. We have one show tonight so it's not too bad, I should be able to struggle through, even if I do start feeling sick.

A lot of people find it funny that I have such a positive attitude about cancer but as far as I'm concerned these things make you stronger.

I just think I'm so lucky to have been given the all clear after having a mastectomy as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and then a breast reconstruction. It's not easy but it makes you get your priorities in check.

It certainly swayed me when it came to taking on this part as the play centres around a group of English women who posed naked for a calendar 12 years ago to raise money for cancer research. One of their husbands had died from cancer and it's a central theme of the show.

What's amazing about this is that it's a true story. It's quite touching as it centres around cancer and how it affects people's lives.

Those coming to see it next week at the Grand Canal Theatre will see me play Cora, a single mum, who lives with her parents and her daughter's dad is a black American guy. I really like her, I can really get into it, she's sort of got a similar sense of humour to me. She has a heart of gold really. I believe Twink had some complaints about the show being too British but, of course, it's a British show. It's a true story about six British women, they're from Yorkshire and Lancashire, they're inevitably going to be very British. I'm all for giving everyone a chance to have their opinion but that just sounded ridiculous to me.

I must say I'm loving all my co-stars and thankfully we haven't had any dramas on set. Obviously I was in Brookside with Jennifer Ellison and I would have known Lynda Bellingham down through the years as well, they're a great bunch and I can't wait to show them my Irish roots.

I'm not going to lie, it is a really tiring show and to be honest you never have a minute to relax. I do admit I'm probably finding it more tiring than I would have before I'd had cancer but I'm still managing to have a drink or two after most of the shows. Obviously I have to take it easier than I would have done and that rule will particularly apply next week when I'm in Dublin, but at the same time you can't let it take over your life.

On Monday my husband very kindly surprised me and drove me back to Bristol. I had been planning to get public transport but he said to me to wait until our daughter Erin was finished school and then we'd all drive up together. It was a nice opportunity to spend some time together as I've been on the road a lot lately.

She and my hubby are going to come over and spend a few days with me in Dublin, which I'm very excited about. Obviously having given my daughter a name like Erin it's very important to me that she knows all her Irish relatives.


I have an apartment right beside the Grand Canal Theatre while I'm over, most of us in the cast do. I fully intend to make the most of it by having a few of my friends and family over to stay.

My sister Linda, whom I'm very close to, had been due to join us but it looks like she's going to be in Spain on holidays now. Of course it would have been great to have her over but I understand, that's the way life is when you're in the show business industry.

You just have to make the most of your free time when you have it. It's funny because now I particularly love Sundays, the day I used to hate the most when I was a kid.

It's the day where everyone takes it easy and you can get the family round for a big Sunday lunch. I live for them. Obviously I'll be flying out this weekend but we'll still squeeze in a family get together before I go.

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