Saturday 19 January 2019

'Chemo is gruelling, you just want to die', says Gaybo

Gay Byrne and wife Kathleen Watkins
Gay Byrne and wife Kathleen Watkins

Gay Byrne has described the chemotherapy treatment he has been receiving for prostate cancer as "gruelling".

The 83-year-old broadcaster, who presented The Late Late Show for 37 years and went on to present the Meaning Of Life series, said he takes 18 tablets a day as well as undergoing chemotherapy.

In an interview, Gaybo paid tribute to his wife Kathleen Watkins and his two daughters Suzy and Crona who have been helping him through his treatment.

"Kathleen, God bless her, was an essential part of all this," he said. "Without her, and Suzy and Crona, I could not have survived all this."

He said of his chemo sessions: "There descends upon you a blanket of such weariness, lassitude, depression, helplessness and hopelessness as I hope you will rarely experience.

"Think of the worst flu you've ever had and multiply it by 10.

"It's not that you want to go to bed, you want to lie under the bed, in the dark, with a blanket over you and just die.

"I saw a brief piece of an interview Christy Dignam did about his treatment and he said, 'Chemotherapy is gruelling', and by God, never was an adjective used so precisely.

"It is awful, and it goes on for four days at least.


"Everyone generously offers help of all kinds, but there is no help, there is only misery.

"Further, it is cumulative. That is to say, with every successive treatment the effect on the patient is more severe.

"And then, on the fifth or sixth day, there is a slight turn and one begins to improve: appetite coming back, attitude a bit more optimistic, maybe something to live for after all, perhaps rejoin the human race.

"And stop crying like a baby, at regular intervals, for no reason, very often in public and in front of family."

Gaybo said he has received many messages of support from loved ones and friends.

"As for the generosity of friends and family, inundated, overwhelmed, astounding - you know all the words which come to mind, and they all apply," he said.

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