Over the past few weeks many of you have been asking how Brian is and how you can help. Well the good news is the surgery went to plan and the cancer tumour was all successfully removed! He is heading home and the next stage of the recovery starts now. I know he treasures all your kind words and get well wishes and Brian picks up the story from here. Jane x
MESSAGE FROM BRIAN POST SURGERY
In 2016 I had a feeling that something wasn't right. My eldest Brother also had just been diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer which unbeknownst to me has no symptoms until it’s too late, coupled with the fact that I’d had some unusual blood appearing sporadically when I went to the loo. So I got checked and initially there was no blood to be found upon inspection and I was reassured that it was nothing. I realised that although I had insurance for my jeep/ house / phone etc I didn’t have any proper insurance for me, so I took out a policy immediately, even though I was again assured nothing was wrong. My instinct made me push for a referral and a fairly invasive colonoscopy and sure enough after coming around from sedation I was told they discovered a tumour very low down in my rectum. I got the shock of my life. That day started my own very personal journey with Cancer.
After consultation It was recommended I did five weeks of radiation Monday to Friday with a bottle of chemo attached via a port in my chest week one and week five. Gladly it wasn’t strong enough for my hair to fall out and I actually wore it onstage and never missed a gig. The tiredness was like constant jet lag but I got through it.
Now because my insurance was taken out too late I ended up having to pay for the radiation and chemo and therefore going forward I unknowingly had set a precedent that I would need to pay for any treatment connected to rectal cancer myself. I managed to put a payment scheme in place and finally paid that first bill off. Ironically and cruelly the day my brother died was the day I found out the insurance company were not paying.
I spent the next year or so leaving no stone unturned in terms of alternative thinking and treatments, herbal and otherwise. I kept in contact with my oncology team and I had regular enough CT scans that continued to confirm that the tumour had not matastised or “spread” anywhere but I knew in my heart of hearts that surgery was beckoning. I just wasn’t ready psychologically to consider that I would end up needing stoma colostomy world at only 52 yrs old. My tumour had started to thicken so the clock was indeed ticking. Because I would have to pay for the surgery in it’s entirety I started getting other opinions in Dublin, Belfast Liverpool and London.
I finally met with Dr Jenkins outside London and from the second we sat down I felt a deep connection and understanding and I knew then and there I was psychologically as ready as I was ever going to be. So a plan was put in place and once I investigated it further I discovered that the hospital needed to be paid in advance and they recommended that I budgeted for a 21 day stay. That bill alone was just shy of £60,000 Sterling. I have never had surgery before or indeed stayed a single night in a hospital so I was not looking forward to that but I did realise it was my best option. Without going into detail I had some incredible help from a very unusual source and I will never forget that kindness. The staff at the hospital can only be described as an Army of Angels. From the cleaners to the nurses to the caterers to the medical staff and the Stoma nurse of course!
So, without these funds I wouldn’t be able to have the surgery done so quickly. The public system as we know is challenged at the best of times and can have very long waiting lists but again I wasn’t eligible because of my lack of insurance history and time was not on my side. The tumour simply had to be surgically removed as soon as possible to ensure other organs would be saved.
Post surgery I knew I had to be very realistic about my healing time and very reluctantly I had to turndown a return tour of China with my beloved Friends “Secret Garden” whom I had collaborated on with our Global hit “You Raise Me Up”. Suddenly I realised I wouldn’t be able to work as much as I was used to doing. I just couldn’t risk being on the other side of the planet in case I had any complications post surgery
I had no idea Cancer treatment was so expensive, especially when I’m not insured for it. It means the world to me that people have started to donate the much needed funds. I have some incredible friends who are doing their best to help raise this amount ASAP. There are bills that already need to be paid.
Thank you for reading this and any amount will help us reach our goal.
Love Brian Kennedy.
Brian signs up for Radio Show
Brian is joining Clare FM to host a new Life, Love and Happiness show. The programme, which has been in the development stages for months, will be exclusive to Clare FM and its sister Station Tipp FM. Click on the above link for full details.
Reading The Future
Brian has a short story called "There was Only So Much One House Could Take" published in the book Reading the Future:
New writing from Ireland celebrating 250 years of Hodges Figgis.
Brian will read his short story at Hodges Figgis, 56-58 Dawson Street, Dublin on Thursday 23rd August at 6pm. All are very welcome. Click on the above link for full details.
Brian announces the release of his new album
Out Friday 24th Nov on download and Friday 1st Dec on C
Brian has recorded his first ever collection of his most beloved Christmas songs and the results are stunning.
'Christmassy' includes Brian’s unique versions of classic Christmas songs like 'Silent Night/ Oiche Chuin', 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' and 'In the Bleak Midwinter'. He has also put his original stamp on more recent festive favourites like the haunting 'River' by Joni Mitchell and a tribute to the late George Michael with 'Last Christmas'.
He also revisits an old friendship in Kirsty MacColl with 'Fairytale of New York', and he couldn’t resist Slade’s 'Merry Christmas Everybody'. There’s even an original song written with Brendan Murphy [The 4 of us] called 'Christmas Morning'. Available now on iTunes
Click here for full details
Brian Kennedy Live At Vicar Street
Brian announces the upcoming release of his latest double CD & DVD set all recorded live at Vicar Street, Dublin. Click on the link or photo for full details.
The Essential Collection
This double CD gives a selection of Brian's back catalogue which has been newly recorded and many with new arrangements.
Available now to download from itunes, on sale in shops across Ireland plus available on Spotify and
Full details here.
Newstalk with Pat Kenny
launches the Eason Book Club
The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk 106-108 FM partners with the Eason Book Club to help select their Book of the Month every month. On the first Monday of each month, Pat and his panel which is made up of Brian Kennedy, former Fianna Fáil TD and author Mary O’Rourke, pick the Eason Book of the Month from a shortlist of four books compiled by Eason Book Buyer Stephen Boylan.
In the last week of every month the panel will return to discuss the book on air and engage in a lively debate on the characters and themes of the chosen book.
Previous podcasts of the Book Club reviews are available on the Newstalk website click here for details.