A Dublin woman who was forced to cancel her wedding at the last minute after her fiancée was diagnosed with cancer is urging young people to ‘go and get yourself checked’.
Shauna Stubbs and Darren Farrell were due to marry in late November; however, with just weeks to go before the big day, Darren got his diagnosis.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Shauna urged anyone who notices any unusual pain or change in their body that they can’t explain to go and get checked as soon as possible.
She told Pat that Darren first notice something was wrong after coming home from his stag party.
“He just had some back pain when he got home and we just thought, oh, you know, he works in construction, it's just a slip disc or some sort of back pain,” she said.
“He's a very physically fit guy. He's 31, he goes to the gym, he loves working out, he plays football – you know, he’s very fit and very active, so we didn't think anything of it.”
At first, doctors told Darren to try physiotherapy and different exercises however after two visits to the hospital in “excruciating pain” he was diagnosed with cancer.
Shauna said Darren had previously been diagnosed with testicular cancer two years ago – and got the all-clear after surgery.
This time around, the cancer has progressed into his lymph nodes and he is undergoing chemo at Saint Vincent's Hospital.
Shauna said the treatment has been “very hard” on Darren and his family as he is “very prone to infection” and cannot see many visitors.
She said the wedding was fully planned and ready to go when Darren got his diagnosis.
“Absolutely everything down to a T was done,” she said.
“I was even still ordering stuff up until a week before, so when he was diagnosed, I would come home to packages arriving.
“I just couldn't believe it. I could not believe that the wedding was just not going to happen.
“We went through such a harsh year of planning and trying to save and it's hard when you're young and trying to plan a wedding and, you know, maybe save for a house on top of that as well – all those things that come along with it.
“So, I just couldn't believe we had to postpone it, but I suppose, in a positive way, we'll still get married.”
She said Darren’s family and friends are now rallying around in support.
“I suppose, in a way, I'm just numb all the time,” she said. “It's like we just get hit after hit after hit.
“Like he could be getting better and then he's not; the doctors want to keep him in because he can't come out because he's not well.
“You know, we've had to postpone the wedding; I've just accepted a lot of it and had to kind of be strong and get on with it.”
'Go and get checked'
She encouraged anyone young or old who notices something unusual to get it checked out.
“I think if anyone has any sort of back pain or any pain, go and get checked, it's not a big deal,” she said.
“It could be absolutely nothing and if you have to take a day off work, go, get it done.
“You don't want to be that person that's going, ‘Oh, well, I went into work today but look what's after happening’ or, ‘Oh, I didn't go to the GP but look what's after happening.’
“You need to check yourself.
“Especially young men, old men, you know, testicular cancer is something that does happen to men and I feel like it's not talked about enough, especially in young cases.”
She said Darren has “a lot of regrets” about putting off going to the doctor, adding, “I say to everybody, please, go and get yourself checked”.