Breast cancer impacted on every aspect of Susan’s life  

Susan Selkirk, 40, was diagnosed in February last year after taking her then three-year-old daughter Charlotte to the doctor and deciding to get a lump in her breast checked out while she was there.

The Newton Mearns woman, who at the time was working as the West of Scotland fundraising manager for Macmillan, said: “I got great information about treatments I was going to go through and side effects of the medication I was going to be given.

“But I didn’t know about the wider impact cancer would have or the long-lasting side effects, such as chemo brain.

“I lose my words mid-sentence. I lose my train of thought. I can’t stand lots of noise. If Charlotte and my husband Neil are talking to me and the radio is on, by the time they leave in the morning I feel I need to sit down and go back to bed.

“I feel a huge amount of guilt which is a weird emotion to have, I felt guilty about being ill, putting Neil and mum through watching me being ill.

“Neil felt really helpless and found it hard to see me being unwell and said he wished he could just swap places.

“During treatment it was hard being away from my family so much. I was in hospital for weeks at a time and I nearly missed Charlotte’s fourth birthday as I was admitted due to infection.

“Luckily I was allowed out for two hours to say happy birthday. She was so sweet and left opening all her birthday presents until I was out of hospital five days later.

“During treatment it was hard to do basic physical tasks that I could do before. To help we got a cleaner and mum helped a lot too.

“Mum also looked after Charlotte more and I had friends who would take her for an afternoon play- they really helped out.

“After my treatment finished came the worry it will come back again – I worry about what impact a second diagnosis would have on the close family.

“I was lucky that I having worked for Macmillan I knew about some of the support available. I was able to use Macmillan services to find someone to talk to, to get information about the cancer and to get money advice.

 “It makes so much sense for anyone going through cancer to be offered an assessment of all their needs because it can be really hard to find help or even know where to look, especially when you are feeling ill.  

“It’s awful to think of someone going through cancer without the right help just because they don’t know it’s there for them.”

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.