Ta suil agam go bhfuil tu i mbarr na slainte
English: I hope that you are in the best of health.
Irish: Ta suil agam go bhfuil tu i mbarr na slainte
Pronunciation of the Irish taw su-ill ah-gum guh will tu ih marr nah slawn-che
Kwe, I respectfully acknowledge this land on which I live and which provides me with joy and shelter as the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk, whose poignant history is now under revision.
I acknowledge the island of Ktamqamkuk (Newfoundland) as the unceded, traditional territory of the Beothuk and the Mi’kmaq. And I acknowledge Labrador as the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Innu of Nitassinan, the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, and the Inuit of NunatuKavut. I recognize all First Peoples who were here before us, those who live with us now, and the Seven Generations to come.
This post is dedicated to the memory of our adopted parents, Máire Kathleen and James Diarmuid Scully and my only sister, Theresa Rose Scully.
After returning to Dublin to continue my medical studies in 1975, I announced that I planned to train to become a pediatric hematologist. Reactions varied. Few people had ever heard of pediatric hematology. People would nod with blank looks on their faces.
My darling cousin Nuala, who lives in North London, is one of my favourite people. Nuala recently reminded me that our families divided people into lovelies and horribles. As children, my sister, cousins, and I were blessed to live with lovelies and our entire small, close-knit family was made up of lovelies. My sister and I agree that we were indeed very fortunate.
We had no creepy uncles. Within our close-knit, loving family, we were never exposed to abuse, cruelty, domestic violence or incest. Although we were cherished and loved within our family, we were reared in an ultra-misogynistic and toxic culture. Theresa and I were considered wild, and we were always in trouble. As a child, I constantly lost my belongings and was always in terrible trouble with the nuns who taught us.
Our beloved and very innocent parents were unfairly blamed for poor parenting skills. Our mammy allowed me to spend a vast amount of time hiking up and down to the Ben on Beann Éadair, daydreaming and imagining. The rest of the time, I had my nose stuck in a book.
Socially clueless with my peers, I was either tongue-tied or chatted incessantly. I was also prone to blushing a bright scarlet at the drop of a hat. As I was very short-sighted and could not run, I was hopeless at field hockey and basketball. Although I loved sports, I was no athlete. Now, I wonder if I might have had more success at sports if I had been diagnosed and treated for exercise-induced asthma and for my very heavy and painful periods.
My life was blissful until age 11, apart from always being in trouble for losing things. Even today, I can remember the names Port Erin, Laxey, Ramsey, Snaefell from a magical trip I took with my darling mammy and daddy. We took this trip when I was still an only child, so I’m guessing I was only about two. Amazingly, I can still remember the names of places we either visited or spoke of. Hopefully, 65 years later, I can plan a visit, perhaps with my sister.
During the pandemic, I began studying Miꞌkmawiꞌsimk, the language of the Mi’kmaq people. These studies reawakened my love of Gaeilge, the Irish language. Now I’m back, trying to listen to TG4, the Irish language channel. I am fascinated that now there is a revival of the Manx language. I’m fascinated because the Isle of Man was central to the Norse world, so I expected Manx to be close to a Scandinavian language. To my delight, Manx is much more like a dialect or close cousin of Irish.
Our darling mammy devoted herself to finding activities for her darling daughters to enjoy. I loved swimming in our local outdoor rock pool, competing in swimming races, attending ballet, studying elocution, and taking piano classes. My fabulous little life fell apart as I entered puberty.
Now I see that the combination of my undiagnosed bleeding disorder, undiagnosed exercise-induced asthma and undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder hit me hard at the time and made adolescence tough. Like the 0.1% or more girls with an undiagnosed bleeding disorder, I had no idea that my periods were abnormal. If I had received tranexamic acid and been screened for iron deficiency, perhaps my life would have been easier. If I had been screened for ADHD and given great support again, life might have been easier.
Unfortunately, vast numbers of people of all ages suffer more than they might with an accurate early diagnosis and optimal therapy. There are many barriers to both in our current highly competitive and uncaring modern societies.
In the 1960s and 1970s in Ireland, boys and men ruled. No one ever spoke of menstruation or any other issue that affected girls and women. I was desperately shy and socially awkward; I would most definitely have preferred to have died a hundred times over than to discuss my menstrual problems with anyone.
I was in such denial about my period issues that, starting in 1998, I had been actively involved with the Women and Bleeding Education movement for years before I realized that I lived with a bleeding problem. Here, I want to shout out to all the wonderful people across our planet who work to educate and support girls and women affected by treatable conditions that significantly diminish their quality of life because of a lack of recognition and access to therapy.
Educating and supporting girls and women with chronic health challenges is dear to my heart.