Vicky Phelan has revealed her cancer treatment in the US is expected to take a year, not six months as she told her family and friends before she left Ireland.
The cervical cancer campaigner said she knew she was likely to be in the States for a full year but couldn’t bring herself to tell her loved ones the truth about how long they could be separated.
“I lied to everybody when I told them about how long I was coming for. I told everybody it was six months, it was actually a year,” she told The Tonight Show.
“I couldn't tell my family and my friends that I was leaving for 12 months. It's hard enough saying goodbye, knowing that I told them I was coming for six. Realistically it's 12 months, I have a schedule right up to the end of January next year.”
However, she is hopeful that her oncologist will be able to arrange her treatment schedule so she can return to Ireland a few times but she will need to tolerate the drugs in her system better before that can happen.
“My oncologist is a lovely man. He's young enough he's got young kids himself and he knows I'm over here on my own. He's promised me that if we get to a point where I'm on a full dose that he would look at extending the kind of the spaces in between my treatment schedule.
“He has a number of patients who are very stable who only come in for treatments every three months. That would be great, it would mean I would be able to go home and just come back every three months, but I'd say I'm probably another six months out for that yet, to be quite honest.”
Phelan said she is unsure if her family would be able to visit her in the US as new restrictions on travel have been introduced and she said Ireland’s mandatory quarantine would not be suitable for her if she were to return home for a visit.
“It's getting more difficult every week [to travel] with new restrictions coming in. There were new restrictions added here on March 6, Biden brought in restrictions on people coming into the USA so it's only people who are allowed to come in for essential services. There are some exceptions and one of them is humanitarian grounds so I'm really hoping that I could get Jim and the kids over on humanitarian grounds but I'm not really 100% sure that that will happen to be quite honest.
“Then I was thinking, maybe we could space out one of my cycles and I could go home for a month. But now they've brought in mandatory quarantine at home for two weeks so that really wouldn't be an option for me. It's really difficult to know at this stage.” She added she has found it difficult to be in the US on her own, particularly when she is ill from her treatment.
Ms Phelan also revealed she hopes to meet President Biden before she leaves America.
”I'd love that to happen obviously, with the Irish connections I'd hope [it would happen]. Now that I'm vaccinated you’d never know what might happen at some stage,” she said.
She added she thought she might get to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in the US but said she is still optimistic that she may visit the White House, particularly since she has been vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I suppose as more and more people get vaccinated things might relax a bit, and they might have more functions. I'd be hoping that definitely before I leave here, I'd love to meet him so please god, something might happen.”