Beloved TV Chef Joe Shannon knows he doesn’t always act like someone diagnosed with terminal cancer – and he plans to keep it that way.
Joe was first diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in 2021, but doctors initially thought it could be easily treated.
The cancer soon spread to his liver, and despite having a successful operation, Joe suffered the “one-in-a-million chance” of his cancer returning to the exact same spot.
Earlier this year, his condition became terminal.
Joe told The Anton Savage Show he had two options: receive chemotherapy for the rest of his life - or refuse chemo and only have “months” left to live.
“I’m halfway through my third chemo session,” he said.
“[The doctor said] it could be months, it could be years – he said, ‘I’m not God’.”
He said that his biggest concern when he learned his condition was terminal was for his wife and children.
“When I went [to hospital], my wife went up with me and my oldest daughter, Orla,” he explained.
“I never prepared Marie and Orla for this... there was some relief that I wasn’t imagining things, but also a great sense of sadness.
“I'm in the middle of a disease that is going to kill me, and I've put a massive burden on them by having this disease.”
'Live life as best as I can'
Despite his initial sadness, Joe said he has been making the most of whatever time he has left.
“I've been given a timeline and it’s giving me the opportunity to be able to live my life as best I can with the timeline I know I have,” he said.
“I don’t fit the guise of what you expect a dying man to be... I’m not afraid of death.
“I’ve been very lucky – I'm 58 years of age... I met the most beautiful love of my life and went on to have kids.
“I have two fabulous grandchildren... what more could I want out of life?”
Fear of death
Joe said people are often scared of death because they don’t know how they’re going to die – but he is focused on “fighting to prolong my life” and supporting other people in similar situations.
Along with cancer survivor Georgie Gorman, Joe set up ‘The Recovery Tour’, a Facebook page that helps people diagnosed with cancer, terminal or otherwise.
“I want to help as many people as I can with my sickness,” he said.
“Whatever time I have left here I want to promote he idea of people going to their GPs and getting checked.”
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Main image: Joe Shannon wearing his chef uniform standing in a kitchen. Image: chefjoeshannon.ie