“Everyone was full of excitement and yet the atmosphere was very calm.”
Suzie, a secondary school teacher who lives in Dartmouth, looks back at 2023:
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2023 and by December – in fact, just before Christmas – I was given the all-clear. It all happened so quickly, and thanks to the tremendous support I received throughout the year, I was able to stay positive.
“Family, friends, colleagues, and the healthcare professionals were amazing and helped me stay strong during that time.”
Suzie, who has two teenage children, recalls how difficult it was to explain that she had cancer at a time when they were both taking important exams at school.
“Everyday tasks become almost impossible when you have undergone cancer treatment: slicing bread or picking up a kettle becomes a major challenge. But my husband, children, and friends were extraordinarily supportive throughout.”
Following a nurse’s recommendation, Suzie joined the Look Good Feel Better skincare and make-up workshop at The Lodge Cancer Support Centre, at Torbay Hospital. She remembers the day:
“Everyone was full of excitement and yet the atmosphere was very calm. It was such a fantastic opportunity to be given practical, hands-on advice and lessons on how to look after your skin and nails. They explained what can happen to your skin and hair after the chemotherapy and how to look after yourself properly. For instance, wear SPF50 even in winter to protect your skin.
“And the goodie bags were big duffle bags of goodness! I love using the products. Particularly helpful was that I was shown how to fill in my thinning eyebrows to frame my face, and I haven’t looked back.
“By a strange coincidence, I sat next to a lady, whose son had been my pupil at the school where I teach and we have become firm friends. It was such a helpful day, in a calm and supportive environment.”
Suzie will be going back to work in a few months, but for now, she can look back at the last year knowing that she has some wonderful friends and family by her side.
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