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Vicky Phelan ‘emotional’ to be reunited with her children after six months in the USA

"I really didn’t think when I came out here in January that it would be six months before I’d see my children. I honestly thought that they would be able to come out"

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Vicky Phelan (Photo: Fergal Phillips)

Vicky Phelan (Photo: Fergal Phillips)

Vicky Phelan (Photo: Fergal Phillips)

Campaigner Vicky Phelan says “there will be tears” when she returns home to Ireland next week to see her children.

Ms Phelan is receiving experimental treatment for cancer in US in an attempt to prolong her life after the Pembro drugs she was on stopped working.

The Limerick woman travelled to Maryland in January this year to take part in the clinical trial and says she is “emotional” to be coming home for a month on Wednesday and to be reunited with her children, Amelia and Darragh.

“It’s so long since I’ve seen them – I really didn’t think when I came out here in January that it would be six months before I’d see my children. I honestly thought that they would be able to come out.

“Looking back, if I had known back in January that none of my family would have been able to travel out at all I don’t know would I have come out,” she told RTE Radio 1 Sunday with Miriam.

Earlier this month, Ms Phelan experienced “relentless” side effects due to the clinical trial drugs and spent three nights in hospital. One of the symptoms she experienced was inflammation in the face due to Bell’s palsy.

“I just kept getting hit with one side effect after another – I really thought, God is this gone to my brain?” she told the programme.

However, she said she is “lucky” not have any of the “big” side effects that would force the trail to end.

Speaking about the loneliness of going through the clinical trial on her own in the US, she said, “I think I found this experience probably the toughest of my cancer journey over the last eight years.

“There’s always the worry - like what if something gets me over here and I don’t get to see my kids or my family again – coming home in a coffin, and that is a very real reality for me over here”, she said.

The women’s health advocate said the support she has received from Irish in the US and at home since her trail began is “what kept me going”.

“It’s little things like that that make all the difference and make you feel at home”, she said.

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