A young couple who between them have overcome a stroke and fought cancer in their first year of marriage said they “always look on the bright side”.
Katie and Joseph Woods, from Co Louth, are now delighted to be expecting their first child.
Katie, 27, said: “We are very excited and can’t wait to welcome baby Woods into the world in October. It is definitely the silver lining after what we have experienced.”
The couple married on July 19 last year and exactly one month later, the day Katie was due
to return to work, she suffered a stroke.
She said: “Only I knew about the F.A.S.T [Face, Arms, Speech, Time] adverts from the television I would not have known what was happening to me.”
Katie later found out that her stroke was caused by “a little blood clot that travelled through my body and lodged in an artery in my brain”.
Katie never smoked, rarely drank and stayed as fit as possible. The reason for the stroke is still not known.
She later found out she had a hole in her heart which had not closed.
She was told everyone is born with a hole in their heart but for 1 in 4 people it does not heal.
She was recovering when the couple got the news that the cause of excruciating pains Joseph was having was cancer.
He began chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February and last month it was confirmed he is in remission.
Joseph, 31, who loves GAA, has resumed training on his own to try and build up his fitness again so he can hopefully return to playing later in the year.
Katie said: “Our first year of marriage wasn’t really what we had expected but we are looking on the bright side and staying positive about the future.
“At the end of the day, we are both here, alive and kicking and as bad as our situation is, it could always be worse.
“Finding out we were having a baby has given Joseph such a lift and it gave him something really special to fight for throughout his treatment.”
Joseph is due to finish his final round of chemotherapy at the end of this month, just days after their first wedding anniversary.
He is urging anyone – in particular men who avoid going to the doctor – with an unexplained pain to get it checked.
He said: “Please, if you ever get a pain that you don’t usually have, do not ignore it. You never know what it could be.
“Make sure you get it checked out. You’re better to be safe than sorry.”
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