It has been just two weeks since Timothy (Thady) O’Sullivan received a vital bone marrow transplant to help in his cancer battle but he is ready and waiting for the next chapter.
Though still in isolation following the surgery – and yet to be re-united with his family – the young Castlemaine man is upbeat and positive about the road to recovery.
Thady, who is the son of Michael and Angela, has been battling T-lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL) since December last and it has been a long eight months. Thady, who is from Rusheen in Castlemaine, studied agricultural science at IT Tralee, and had just moved to Kosice in Slovakia to study and fulfil his life-long dream of becoming a vet, when he first became ill, in what was a complete shock for the 23-year old who was fit and healthy.
“Nothing can prepare you for this,” said Thady.
“There was no reason for my cancer. For a lad by age it was like f..k what is going on? … I was doing exams and I had a chest full of cancer. I didn’t show typical signs of cancer.”
However, just days before his 23rd birthday in December he was facing a long cancer battle.
Since then he has undergone ten rounds of chemotherapy under his belt it has not been easy, but life is looking better for Thady and the hope is that he is now on the road to recovery.
“There are no guarantees in life but a bone marrow transplant was my best chance,” explained Thady who is currently in St James’ Hospital in Dublin where he’s currently recovering.
“I had very strong chemotherapy before the bone marrow transplant which reduced my old bone marrow and the new bone marrow will now burn out any cancer cells left. I was in remission before I underwent the transplant so hopefully everything will now slot into place. My biggest fear is that there could be cells left over. However, I am showing all the signs that I will do well with a transplant.”
Thady will spent the next few weeks in isolation in hospital before moving to an apartment close-by for the coming months to monitor his condition but he hopes by later this year he can return home to Castlemaine.
“You have to be in isolation until your blood levels rise but they monitor you for 100 days in total. November 8 will be 100 days.”
Thady hopes when he recovers to use this cancer journey to promote bone marrow donation. He had to wait for a bone marrow donor match as his family were not suitable matches. While many people donate kidneys and other organs it can be more difficult to get a bone marrow donation and this is significant as time matters in the fight against cancer.
“Anybody can become a donor you just have to have your blood tested and if you are a match you can donate. When people give blood they could be tested to see if they are a match for a cancer patient. If everyrone was tested they could come up with more matches” says Thady.
However in the interim Thady’s is remaining positive in face of the battle he had faced and continues to face.
In fact he cites Blennerville teenager, Donal Walsh, as an inspiration to him. He too feels Donal’s message is important in the light of his own cancer battle.
“I didn’t know him but I really admire what he did. I follow his positivity, it doesn’t help if you go in with a bad attitude. Cancer is out of my control and kind of like Donal I have the attitude why would you take a life when my life has been taken out of my heads. People have opened up to me about mental health since I was diagnosed.”
When Thady’s diagnosis came last December the community rallied around to help him and raised funds for the family to offset the cost of treatment and this is now being used while he is recuperating in Dublin and Thady is very grateful.
“Where I am now I really appreciate it. They did it for me but it has taken the pressure off my family,” he said.
Now Thady will focus on getting back to his old life and he hopes to return to his studies to be a vet.
“Please god I can to back to my previous life. I need two years without a relapse and I will be fine that is what I am focusing on now.”