'It's a horror of horror': Gay Byrne 'scared witless' by the thought of returning to chemotherapy

By Stephen Barry

Gay Byrne has revealed his gratitude to his wife Kathleen for looking after him as he goes through his cancer treatment.

The former Late Late Show presenter, now 83, has undergone eight sessions of chemotherapy and is currently on 18 tablets a day.

He will meet with his lead doctor, Prof. John McCaffrey, tomorrow to discuss his health.

"The greatest present that my doctor gave me was taking me off of chemotherapy after session eight," Byrne told The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1.

"I am scared witless that tomorrow he is going to say 'sorry, you gotta go back'. I hope he doesn't. I pray he doesn't.

"I see no reason why he should but it's a horror of horror.

Byrne added: "I’m okay, I get around very well indeed, I do as much as I can and I’m certainly not strong.

"I know that I’m on a crutch and that is a great help."

Byrne talked frankly about his health, revealing he relies on the never-ending support of Kathleen, who he has been married to since 1964.

"Kathleen is never-endingly good and kind to me and I shouldn’t be such a burden to her.

"I hate to think of myself being a burden on her and slowing down her life. She’s in remarkably good health, she’s amazingly active.

"She’s the same age as I am and this is our 54th wedding anniversary coming up in June. She's amazing, she looks after me so well and she keeps an even temper.

"She knows when I act up a bit, as I do regularly, it’s the tablets that are doing it. It’s the chemicals within you which are forcing all of these things to happen.

"I’m on something like 18 tablets a day.

"Some of them make me agitated and you get very very worked up. You’re trembling a bit as if something awful is happening and you don’t know what you’re agitated about.

"Anybody who is on chemo and anybody who is taking treatment for cancer will know that you get worked up about something.

"It’s like you are going to have a semi heart attack and you don’t know what it’s all about. You have to try and control yourself as hard as you can off this awful precipice of worry and annoyance."

Byrne also spoke about how he wishes he took some more time off to be with his daughters, Crona and Suzy, as they grew up.

"I have great regrets. Thank God they were girls in so far as if they'd been boys it would have been very serious.

"I have only brief little snatches of memories of Crona and Suzy growing up around the place and I regret that.

"Generally speaking, I regret now the amount of time I gave to this place (RTÉ).

"It was an awful lot of time and I should have taken time to do other things. I had the opportunity to do other things but I was dedicated to the place."

Once More with Meaning, a documentary celebrating Bryne's 60 years in broadcasting, airs tomorrow night on RTÉ One at 9:35pm.


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