Alison Daly was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in August 2015 after visiting her GP concerned about a lump she felt in her breast.
The 58 year old from Clydebank was told her treatment would involve a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy.
However surgery showed Alison’s cancer had spread to her lymph nodes, meaning she required a lumpectomy and node removal followed by 18 weeks of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiotherapy.
Doctors told her that after treatment she would have a 94% chance of survival due to how early it had been found.
Not long after being diagnosed, retired Alison decided to join the nurse bank and went back to doing two shifts per week in a psychiatric ward around her treatment.
“When I was retired, I became really bored and when my chemotherapy started nothing in my life felt normal. Going back to doing those two shifts a week through the nurse bank it really helped to keep me sane because it brought a bit of normality. I also relied hugely on the support of Maggies and Calman Centres, as it helped chatting to people going through the same thing.
“One of my biggest worries was telling my family. As soon as you hear the word cancer you instantly panic but I’m very lucky to have such a strong, supportive family around me. Although I’m the strong one who keeps everyone together, I was able to rely on them any time I needed them.
“During chemo if I was feeling tired or couldn’t be bothered I knew I could give any one of them a ring and they’d give me a run to my appointments or whatever it was I had to get done that day.
“As a woman, losing my hair was really difficult. But the worst part for me was definitely the day that all of my treatment stopped. When I was discharged I had this overwhelming fear because I’d had all the treatment to stop the cancer, so once it was done I thought ‘what’s going to stop it now.”
Although closely monitored, Alison has recovered well and is still working two days a week.
“You absolutely have to go to your doctor if you are worried or concerned. I just think that the earlier you catch it the better your chances of survival are because there are so many different types of treatments available now.
“I know it can be scary but I would just tell people to try not to be too afraid of going because if it’s found earlier, there’s so much more they can do.
“Being diagnosed was hard, but life does go on. I’ve got a friend going through breast cancer at the moment and she said to me recently ‘I look at you and think that if you were able to go out and be working while you were going through chemo and radiotherapy then I should be able to get through it too’. I’ve just got everything crossed for her that she gets the same positive outcome as I have.”