After being diagnosed with incurable breast cancer Mandy Macfarlane’s world fell apart. But she quickly discovered that didn’t mean she could stop working. Not when she had to help keep a roof over the head of her family.
Mandy 41, was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer aged just 35, just before her son’s first Christmas.
The Glasgow woman said: “I was in a dark place in the first year of diagnosis. My world just came crumbling down, I’d just had a baby and my daughter was only 15.
“My whole world as I knew it had changed forever. Everything I took for granted, watching my kids get married now seemed impossible and I could only hope to see their next birthday.
“To be told I had cancer was a complete shock. To me cancer was an older person’s illness and when I went for chemotherapy I’d normally be the youngest person in the room by decades.
“The worries I had were so different that I couldn’t really talk to any of the other patients. I had a baby and was terrified I wouldn’t see him grow up. I was also worried about paying the bills while I was off work.
“The nurses were great but they were so busy. No one asked me about the help I needed to cope once treatment was over.
“My husband and I fumbled on alone. I went back to work just seven weeks after my mastectomy and reconstruction because we couldn’t live on my statutory sick pay when I really wanted to give myself time to get better and spend time with my family.
“It was only years after my treatment I found out there were advice and support services available to help cancer patients deal with money problems and places I could have gone for emotional support.
“I don’t want anyone to have to cope alone like we did when help is out there. I’d love to see every single cancer patient asked about the help they need and told where to find it.”
“There’s a lot of support available so you don’t need to go through it alone.”
Email your election candidates for the Scottish Parliament vote on May 5 and ask them that if they get into power, they’ll make sure every cancer patient is offered a full assessment of all their needs and directed to the right support services.