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Saturday 29 September 2018

Katie McGlynn interview: Sinead's cancer storyline

How did Sinead feel finding out she was pregnant again after terminating her pregnancy last year?
She was over the moon, I think it’s the best news she could have ever heard. It (the abortion) put a massive strain on her and Daniels relationship. Evidentially they broke up from it, so it’s just all she ever wanted, she’s over the moon.

Following confiding in Beth about the bleeding, does Sinead fear the worst?
I think so, I think at that stage she’s blaming herself. She thinks she’s having a miscarriage because she had an abortion before. She’s just constantly thinking it’s my fault, it’s my fault. She’s worried because everything is so perfect that it’s going wrong again which is devastating for her.

How will she react when she finds out there’s a lump on her cervix which needs further tests?
I think initially it’s shock because when someone says lump you know that’s not good. Her whole world turns upside down. Even though it’s just a possibility she’s still constantly thinking ‘what if it is’ and she doesn’t tell anyone because she doesn’t want anyone else to know.

Even though at that point she knows she isn’t having a miscarriage, do you think she is still blaming herself?
Definitely. She says to the doctor when she finds out that it might be cancer, ‘I’ve had an abortion is that why?’ They assure her that it’s not but she still secretly blames herself because she thinks it is.

Why does she decide to keep the devastating news to herself despite initially confiding in Beth about the bleeding?
I think it’s because her worst fear is for Daniel to find out. If she tells anyone there’s a chance that Daniel will find out and because she doesn’t know the full news herself yet she’s just keeping everything to herself because she can’t risk anyone finding out for his sake. She knows it’s going to break his heart.

How will she hide the hospital appointments from Daniel and Beth?
Initially she says she’s meeting a friend when she tells the doctor. Then the second appointment, when she needs to go for a scan, she lies and says she’s got a hygienist appointment with the dentist. She covers it and they both believe her.

Sinead could face a difficult decision if the lump is cancerous, she may have to terminate her pregnancy again to undergo treatment, how will Sinead cope with this?
All the way through it she’s constantly thinking about the baby, even though she’s only around three months pregnant when she finds out that she might have cancer she’s still thinking about the baby. When they say to her you’ve got a lump, she says ‘is the baby OK’. She’s got a maternal instinct straight away, she’s not thinking about herself. I think that will play out throughout the storyline.

How does Sinead cope with going to these appointments on her own?
I don’t think she’s coping very well but the thing that keeps her quiet is that she can’t picture Daniel being heartbroken. She also doesn’t want to admit it to herself, if she just keeps burying it in the sand and not telling anyone it might not be real.

What effect does Sinead think the news will have on Daniel and their relationship?
She thinks he’s going to go mental again, he’s going to be devastated and he probably won’t pursue his plans to do a Masters. He will probably blame his Dad too even though his Dad hasn’t done anything, he’s the one that caused the abortion in the first place. She knows it’s going to be catastrophic so she just can’t say anything to him.

Sinead isn’t worried that Daniel will blame her then?
I don’t think she is, I don’t think she’s worried that he’s going to blame her she’s just worried about how upset he will be. She loves him so much, it’s enough for her to deal with and she doesn’t want to have to go through the same scenario with him. She’s found out the news that she might have cancer and is having to deal with that herself, then watching someone you love go through it is 10x worse. It would be reliving the pain again and she doesn’t want to have to go through that.

How have you been preparing to tackle the delicate subject of cancer in pregnancy?
I had a meeting with Mummy’s Star which is a charity that helps women in these positions. I also met a lady who had cancer while she was pregnant. It was interesting to speak to them both and try to gage what they were feeling throughout it all. Pete Ray, who founded Mummy’s Star lost his wife to cancer soon after the birth of their child. It was very enlightening to hear how they felt. I’ve just tried to imagine that Sinead’s story is real that’s the only way I could do it really.

Do you think meeting with Mummy’s Star has helped you to play Sinead during this storyline?
Definitely. I’ve tried to imagine myself in her shoes at the beginning and speaking to the charities has given me a bit more insight into it, it’s given me little aspects to it that you wouldn’t think of.

What effect do you hope to achieve from Sinead raising awareness of the illness?
For women going through this to know that there’s charities like Mummy’s Star out there that are there to help, and that they are not on their own. There’s so many women that are affected by cancer during pregnancy but it’s one of those subjects that nobody really hears about. When I initially heard about this story I thought ‘oh gosh that must happen’ but you never hear about it. I just want to raise more awareness to the public that it does happen and so that women who are going through it know that they are not on their own and whatever decision they make they shouldn’t blame themselves. Whether they decide to abort the baby and try to get better or keep the baby, there’s so many different opinions on it, they need to know that whatever decision they make is whatever is best for them.

How important do you think it is for soaps to tackle difficult subjects like this?
I think it is important because even though a soap can be very dramatic and it’s not always like everyday life but also it is in a way. People watch soaps day in, day out and you’re putting a message out to peoples living rooms, important messages. Not everyone wants to watch a touchy storyline like this but I do think it’s important as it helps to make the public more aware and know that they’ve got help. This isn’t a campaign for smear tests but this storyline highlights that issue as well, a lot of women wouldn’t act upon any symptoms as they’re so sucked into the pregnancy and put it to the back of their mind.

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