A Scottish nurse who spent most of her time advising women to examine themselves for lumps had her own scare recently.
Luckily however, the nurse did the right thing and had treatment. One year on she is all clear, but she did say it was one of the hardest things she had to face in her life. She told local reporters: “It is devastating and you think it is the end of the world, but it’s not.”
She added: “It is a hard process to go through, a difficult journey, but you get through it. You have to keep focused and take a day at a time.
“You also have to be good to yourself and accept that you are not going to be well for some time, but that will improve, you will come out the other end. It is just at the time you don’t think you will.
“I just thought, ‘It will be a cyst’,” she said. “I thought it will be nothing.”
Unfortunately for the nurse, the lump she found wasn’t a cyst. Consequently, she required a mastectomy and also chemotherapy – 6 treatments over a period of 3 weeks. Despite the pain and nausea she felt, the therapy thankfully worked.
Chemotherapy invariably means patients will lose their hair. In Nurse MacKenzie’s case, she was given a blond wig to wear, something the NHS provides. She wore it just the once however.
The nurse said: “It was horrendous for me, it really wasn’t a nice experience. There were days when I just sat in front of the television. You can’t even watch television, you can’t read, you can’t speak, you are just sitting there.
“Some people are on their own, I don’t know how they cope. To have a lot of people round you, supporting you, it really was one of my saving graces.
“You do feel at times you are not the person you were and you feel you never will be again, but as you get back to normal, and normal does return, you do. Most of the time you forget what you have been through, then sometimes it just catches you, you see something on television and you think that was me. You just do your fight and you move on.”
Nurse MacKenzie is now fully recovered and back at work.