No Pain, No Game – of Thrones

Game of Thrones Eimear Coghlan (No Spoilers!)

With Game of Thrones shining down upon us and consuming our thoughts, I feel I’ve had my own experience in the Seven Kingdoms during my 9 day stay in the hospital after my double mastectomy operation.

Waking up in a delirious morphine daze, I tried to figure out where I found myself as I looked out from my Iron Throne on wheels. I soon understood I must have been North of the Wall as the Nurse’s Night Watch systematically woke me up every 3 hours to prod me with their life checking devices.

On my third night there, I caught my first glimpse of a White Walker. Statuesque with long white hair, she suffered from insomnia as she strode up and down the ward all night, carrying a plastic bag which she constantly rustled wherever she prowled. Under the blue emergency night light, she appeared icy and otherworldly as she stopped in her tracks at the end of my bed, slowly turning her head to look at me whenever I made any movement. From then on an eye-mask and earplugs saved me from many other scary White Walker encounters.

My dearly loyal Mother, Ward-en of the North, came to visit me everyday and on the 7th day, when I was well enough, she helped me escape and venture South of the Wall. After what seemed like a long journey to me, we finally arrived at Tavern Costa-Lot to quench our thirst. Still weak with my back hunched over, I shuffled in and I immediately noticed how the normal folk stopped what they were doing and stared at me like the Wildling I was. I felt like I was covered in Greyscale.

Sitting there silently sipping my hot drink, I realised why. My hospital gown, slippers and robe along with being Stark naked of any make-up and accessories had made me look like a typical “cancer patient”. For the first time ever on my breast cancer journey, I received “knowing” cancer looks where their heads, weighed down in sympathy, tilt as they give an awkward Mona Lisa smile before their eyes dart away. I realised when it came to cancer looks I knew nothing, like Jon Snow.

I turned to my mother: “See those “knowing” cancer looks? Well, they don’t know that I rocked a TV chat show last week!” as we both giggled quietly to ourselves. It goes to show, you can’t judge a book by its cover. It also stressed to me the importance of my blog’s message; that the strong inside you has to be mirrored on the outside. I realise now that not only a weak exterior but also those “knowing” looks can pull you down like an anchor. For the normal folk reading this: when you see a “cancer patient”, though our exterior may appear to be weak at times, there is a roaring Lannister lion inside. And we like proper smiles.

Game of Thrones Sun Eimear Coghlan
The driving force behind Game of Thrones’ sun!
Game of Thrones sun eimear coghlan
                            My first outing after my op was a short walk around my nearby park.                                                                        

Watch my Chemospiration TV interview filmed 10 days after my last chemo treatment and 10 days before my cancer operation:

Flashback Moment

On the 19th December 2014, three days after my first chemo session, I recorded myself playing Game of Thrones Main Theme on the piano. I knew “Winter was coming” and that a tough 6 months lay ahead of me but I was determined it wouldn’t knock the music out of my soul.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. You are looking sharp !


  2. Margaret O Callaghan says:

    Well done once again Eimear you are absolutely brilliant, you have shown us once again what you are made of,love the pictures…
    Your story is very interesting love reading your updates..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Margaret!!! I really appreciate your words! delighted to hear you enjoyed this post. don’t know if you know Game of Thrones, but hopefully the Game of Thrones references were easy enough to guess!! thank you for sharing my journey with me xxx


  3. Pegarty says:


    For some reason I can’t get into WordPress to respond. I’ll try again. Incredible photo of you with the furs plus boot. Incredible photos all around. So visually imaginative.

    Very wonderful post.

    I especially like your description of what you felt like after your surgery when you were huddled over trying to walk, with no make up and looking like a cancer patient. Not a fun thing to be sure. I am thinking that the people were looking at you and seeing you as a victim and were feeling sad especially since you are so young. But, it’s no fun being a victim.

    We had an uncle, my grand uncle and your great grand uncle who was a boxer. He came to America in the 1920s and one of his trophies is still sitting in the entrance of our ancestral home, Kilclousha. His name was Conor Coghlan, yes your Dad was named after him. When he fought, my mother told us, everyone would yell “come on Kilclousha!” Some of the audience thought they were saying “kill him kill him!” But, no they were mistaking Kilclousha with “Kill him”. He fought very hard. I think he actually fought Jack Dempsey at one time, a very famous boxer. In my mind you are doing the same as many of our ancestors. Your are creative and are a great fighter, Eimear.

    Best, Pegarty


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pegarty, as always thank you for your interesting insight and entertaining story, i love that about my great Uncle Conor! I never knew he was a boxer!! I don’t know if you knew, but I did Kickboxing for 6 years and came 1st in all (but one!) of my Regional and National matches. I also came first when I fought in Rome’s Lazio Championships. The Italians used to say “Well that’s the fighting Irish for you!”. My mantra I used to repeat to myself before every match was “Fight, Kill, Win”!! It worked!! By the way, I was so insistent on keeping my surname when I got married as I knew I was “Eimear Coghlan” for a reason. Then when this happened to me, I realised that our family crest motto of our surname Coghlan is “Fortis in Arduis”, Latin for “Strength in difficulty”. Now I know why I was adamant to keep my surname, there’s strength in it and it rightfully represents me!


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