Ann Eble

Dublin-born Ann Eble was 48 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She got through the ordeal by trying to stay positive and focused.  She has been in remission for almost 13 years. Ann found out in 2003, she says. “I was quite unwell from February into March, feeling flu-ish and very tired. I’m quite big in the boobs, and I remember turning in the bed one night and feeling a lump. The next morning it just went out of my head! Then I was putting on false tan in my bedroom and I noticed huge veins on my chest.” The following day, Ann went to her GP and was sent to the Breast Clinic. “It all happened very quickly. I had to have a mammogram and then a biopsy. I was told I had a 5cm tumour and they had to operate.” To this day, Ann says, she can remember looking to breast surgeon Professor Arnie Hills for reassurance. “He said, ‘Ann you will be fine. I promise I will look after you’, and from that day to this, I have put my faith in that man.” Ann says that her loved ones “put on a brave face for me. As a family, we have been through a lot of tragedy, so I think we have learned how to cope with things.” Ann continued to work throughout her treatment. “I would get the chemo on a Monday, I would work Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was a great distraction, having to get up in the mornings, get dressed and ready.” Ann had a mastectomy and six months of chemotherapy. She recalls the doctor seeing her after the operation and saying ‘We got it – it was stage 3.’  What got her through the bad days, she says, was “positive thinking. I didn’t think about tomorrow, I thought only about today.” Inevitably, breast cancer has changed the way she looks at life – to a certain extent. “I didn’t change my diet. What I have learned is to live for today.” There is no point, she advises, in asking ‘why me?’ The advice she says she would give to women who are recently diagnosed is “get your mind right, and trust the experts. I am alive because of them.”