Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Part 5

My Summary – 19 Feb 2014

Hi everyone again – a wee summary to get up to date again.

On 1 June 2013, I was told I had brain mets (widespread tumours over 20 – greedy bitch). I was successfully treated with radiotherapy to the head and significantly reduced the tumours. Good results.

After being given 2 months. I successfully settled into my life and started the gym and walking – everything going great – even booking holidays etc. On Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 I went to the school for my last time and just to up-date them on my excellent progress.

Next day, Friday, 31 Jan 2014 my mother and younger brother Gavin came over to Central station where I collected them in good spirits. As soon as I got into the car, I had flashing lights on right hand side of my eye. I have had it before indicating a drop in blood pressure – not too concerned...

I had lunch from Greggs and then straight to bed. We had planned to go to Tony Macaroni's for a meal. By 4.00 pm my head was splitting sore – I knew it was time to get to hospital...

I was taken right away into A&E. I was groaning for f*****g pain killers – but they needed to assess me and get a line into my arm to administer the morphine. They couldn’t the get a line in.

4 bloody attempts – 3 nurses and 1 doctor tried – veins are crap now because of all my chemo treatment.

My progress was getting worse because of the time spent trying to get a line in. I was asked questions like “What day is it?” “Who is the Prime Minister?” I answered the questions but could not get the words out but I knew the answer I was suffering from dystop??? and a sidie (losing control of communicating). I could still shout “F**k, F**k several times to get pain killers. The doctor asks the Big man is this normal cursing – “oh yes”.

I was eventually given 16 mg of steroids, morphine and an anti sickness drip. Within 30 minutes talking away as normal – thank God. After the anti-sickness drug I was sick into 2 bowls and pissed myself (full bladder emptied) relief.

I told the male nurse I didn’t need the toilet anymore – I just laughed it off and got clean hospital clothes – then up-to the Ward 3 in Hairmyres in East Kilbride

Next day, I got a CT scan revealing the tumours were bigger by 1 1/2 times. I then decided to go home – couldn’t stand an old 85 year old complaining over nothing I have been given a 5 month death sentence and she still moaning.

But you guys all know – I do not do time lines because no one knows only God – so my life is in God hands and he has been good to me. I very much believe in miracles and Gods path for me.


My Radiotherapy treatment

0n Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 I started a 10 day radiotherapy treatment. Last time, it was over 5 days more intensive treatment.

I also had a CT scan, Tuesday 18 Feb 2014, to check that it’s not spread to my bones, blood, chest, pelvis, kidneys etc.

I am seeing my consultant on Thursday, 20 Feb for the results and organize what the next stage in drugs I will be given.

Remember, I couldn’t get the drug lapatanib (Trial A drug) I got the other trial drug – capecetabine (Trial B drug) that was no good thats why my tumours have increased 1 ½ times.

Before the trial began, I asked the consultant if its was his wife what drug would he give her – Lapatanib, from the horses mouth. I accepted the only drug available and left it in good hands because he knows best.

My Outlook in Life
What ever is thrown at me, I am ready to keep fighting with a strong, Irish dignity because I will continue to keep light hearted and positive and putting my total faith in God gives me my total strength, acceptance and peacefulness. I do cry every night in bed quietly when Jim’s sleep – my wee personal time – it helps relieve the stress of the day. I am only human and don’t think about how I cope because I only know one way that is being positive and a fighter from Belfast.


My Steroids - hair loss, face puffiness, sleep problem

I have been on steroids for the last 3 weeks, started from 16 mg a day for 1 week, then 8 mg, then 4mg and then 2 mg. I promise I have not went haywire this time – the only problem not sleeping but I can sleep during the day – not really a problem.

I can’t wait to get up in the morning and get my house DIY (of course the Big Man does not let me lift a hand but I certainly organize him) did you know that the big man is my carer. He gets £56 a week.

The steroids have now blown my face up (puffiness) not worried about going out – I just don’t give a shit. It will die down over the next couple of weeks.

Hair loss is now inevitable, so in the next 3 weeks it will be gone – not a problem – it will be my 3rd time. Baldy.

My Big Man

My Big Man is amazing, talented, protective, caring and does everything for me – therefore I have been spoiled totally but I do organize and tidy up.

Jim and I over the last few weeks have redecorated the full house:



Family room

Living room

Carleen and Orlaiths’ room

Roisin’s room


The reason why we never had money spare to buy rugs , curtains, lights because we always got the cheapest. I am still getting quality stuff because of the January sales – fantastic bargains.

I want my house to be a warm, welcoming, friendly place for my family, friends and neighbours.

My Funeral

All organized with The Co-Operative Funeral care in East Kilbride. I want to have a say in all that happens and cost:

Coffin Traditional Oak                                                              £380

Hygienic Treatment (make up)                                                     £75

Professional Services                                                                 £280

Mum flowers (yellow)                                                                  £100

Order of Service (100 colour copies)                                          £144

Memorial Cards (100 colour laminated)                                         £74

Notice in the local News Paper                                                    £125

12 Yellow roses for the burial                                                       £25

Reception into the Church                                                            £150

Hearse & personnel to conduct funeral                                         £705

2 limousines                                                                                  £360

Interment Fees                                                                              £76

Collection of my body &                                                                £485

Adice, support and liaison with arrangements

Open coffin in the funeral home (Rosary in Hall)

TOTAL COST                                                                          £4,318

We paid a £1,000 deposit and over 12 months interest free at £276 a month – a good deal.

Remember this is not a negative process – its has given me comfort that the Big Man has no worries and all my wishes are met and that Jim and I have agreed. And very contented its out of the way. Never to be looked at again.

My HeadStone

Rustic 3ft Head Stone – black. Grey

Deposit on my head stone                                                £200

3 plot - only allocated on death.                                     £1,070

Picture (me)                                                                     £ 112

Inclusive of Vat & cemetery fees

TOTAL COST                                                                 £975


To celebrate the Wonderful life of

Annette O’ Connor


I told you , I had a headache”Big Man LoL

Loved by all

My 3 daughters, husband, twin,

sisters, brothers, mum & dad, family, friends and pupils.
Sleep in peace Mum

(Jim’s wee bit)

My Leaving letters

I have printed leaving letters for my children, friends, nieces, nephews. I just need to do Jim, twin, sisters, mum & dad. I went into the town centre Starbucks and wrote them all. Very emotional to my children.
I did not asked to be popular with so many good friends – and I mean they are good decent people – I've just been blessed with lots of friends and neighbours – so lots of letters.

My Travel plans

Yes – I am planning a romantic holiday for the Big Man and I to Ireland – Letterkenny 5 days trip in April 2014.
We are going on a Caledonian bus trip costing £240 each that includes:

Pick up from Hamilton
Ferry to Belfast straight to Letterkenny
Favourite Hotel – Mount Erigal
4 evening meals and bed and breakfast
Leisure facilities
Day trip to Giants Causeway

Day trip to Donegal. – getting pissed

Not to miss out - older sister and husband are coming down on the Thursday night too get pissed and then the Big Man and I travel home on the Friday to my kids.

MY brother and sister-in- law are kindly looking after my children for the 5 long nights – kids will be out at school and nursery all day. So not too bad.

My Priest

When I was told that the tumours had increased, we asked Father Ness from St Brides Church, East Kilbride to come to our home. He came straight away to our house on the Sunday evening.
I firstly apologised to Father Ness for not being a regular mass goer.
But I told him that I have a deep faith and do pray daily. I told him that I think God has chosen me to go younger (early forties) but I still have lots of fight. God know what he has planned for me and I accept it and I simply am contented and enjoying my life fully.

I spoke to the priest about acceptance from day one – and I have peace and contentment with my family.
The priest commented that he was here 7 months ago and he couldn’t believe that my home life has not changed in atmosphere, everyone doing well and that the home was charmed with grace. He told us other families have crumbled (I totally understand the pressure).
I told him acceptance has given me so much peace that he commented I was a unique person.

I absolutely loved the very special compliment.
Please leave a comment - I love to hear your thought on the blog. Annette O'Connor Bredin

ps don't worry about grammar or spelling - enjoy blog readers


  1. Its been a joy... no more of an honor to have very briefly been one of your pupils in the Mungo. I hope you all the best and keep on fighting give anything that comes your way the middle finger. You've been incredibly strong throughout this process (from what i've read) and any obstacle thrown at you you've taken it with a spring in your step. You're an inspiration to all.

  2. Just read this and really did laugh out loud but was also sobbing. You truly are an inspiration. I wish I had half your courage. Keep up the good fight - you really are a trouper. Maybe Our Lady will appear in your garden one day! You have touched so many people's lives and I am happy that I am one of them. Xxx

  3. Hi Mrs Bredin, I was one of your pupils at St Mungo's and would like to say thank you for being a great teacher and thanks for sharing your story with everyone. You are an inspiration to anyone battling with cancer and I wish you well for the future. Keep up the fight x

  4. Hi Annette, I'm Fran's friend. Thanks for sharing, I think of you often and ask Fran for an update..One thing I have learned from your experience is to take nothing for granted and to count my blessings. May the Lord bless you and keep you, may he make his face to shine upon you, and give you peace. Karon x

  5. Mrs B u r an inspiration to everyone battling cancer you r so brave to tell us your story keep it up and always have your big smile on your face, keep up the fight x

  6. Hi, all i can say is you are a very special person and the comfort that so many ppl suffering cancer will get from your story will give them the courage to carry on and live there life to the full which you are doing for your self and family, i wish you all well and keep your fight going xxx

  7. Ur such an amazing women hugs and kisses xxxxx

  8. Your story is extraordinary, I am in awe of your strength and resolve. My prayers are with the inspirational fight you and your family have endured. I wish you all the best. God Bless

    -From the most useless accounting&finance student to ever grace your classroom

    - Nil Sine Labore

  9. Hi Annette.
    I don't know you personally though I know of you through facebook and the community of EK, where I also live and work. I just wanted to say I have found your story and this blog very very touching. You are an amazing and inspirational woman and I can only admire your bravery, courage, sense of humour and faith. This blog and the memories you are making for your family will help them through whatever happens in the future, and I hope it gives you comfort knowing that. I will be praying for you every day and hope God and Our Lady remain with you in your battle.
    God Bless you all...
    Maria Dickson x x

  10. hi mrs bredin i remember you from school. u have extraordinary strength & r a inspiration to everyone battling cancer.. keep on fighting!! all my love x

  11. Hi Annette this is the first I've read your blog its so positive and interesting I see how you made a good teacher will keep following you as you are so wonderful I know you can do this lov granneul x

  12. Hi Annette, i met you last night for the 1st time. You inspired me to approach this laptop unassisted.I read your blog (my first) and enjoyed it. God sends us all on a journey, which we have to complete one way or another. Our job as Mum is to show our offspring how live with the ups & downs of life. Well done you, job well done. Best wishes Kathleen x

  13. You are one Amazing woman God Bless you and your family xxx

  14. Really cannot believe what I have just read so sorry to hear this my heart goes out to you and your family at this time Mrs.B