A Cambuslang grandmother says she’s only here today because a big hug from her eight-year-old grandson led to the discovery of cancerous lumps.
Noreen Lewis (67), who previously suffered from breast cancer in her thirties, says people should not let Covid put them off seeking medical help if they need it.
She said: “I can’t praise the care I received enough from NHSGGC. The help is there for those who urgently need it, so please don’t sit at home worrying about going to see your GP. My cancer was caught early and I feel so fortunate.”
Since having breast cancer while living in England, Noreen had all the proper follow ups and her mammograms have always been clear since. She only became concerned when a cuddle from her grandson Aidan caused her to have a pain in her breast.
She said: “That was in July, when Covid numbers were still high. I made an appointment with my GP right away who referred me to the hospital. Within 10 days an appointment was arranged at the breast clinic and I was seen at Gartnavel.
“Everything was done on the day, the scans, mammograms and biopsies in both breasts. They showed that my cancer had come back, this time in both. While part of me felt my world was falling apart, the care from the surgical team, ward staff and breast care nurses was great. I felt so safe in their hands.”
Noreen opted to have a double mastectomy, which was scheduled for four weeks later, two of which she had to self-isolate for to ensure she was Covid free.
Noreen said: “As a retired nurse myself, I was so proud of the care I received at Gartnavel General. They were out of this world. Nothing was too much trouble for them.
“I had an upset tummy and one even gave me her own peppermint tea. It was a small gesture but really showed she cared. I was discharged quicker than normal because of Covid but I was given everything I needed and the follow-up care was exceptional.”
Noreen has now been given the good news that she doesn’t need chemo and takes a daily Letrozole tablet to prevent recurrence.
She said: “Throughout my care I always felt safe. Since then I have gone from strength to strength. Yes everyone is wearing the appropriate PPE, masks etc but that doesn’t detract in any way from the care you are given.
“To anyone who thinks they have cancer, please go for help. The care is there and they can cope. I got everything I needed – in fact it was above and beyond. They have given me my life back.”
Dr Wesley Stuart, chief of medicine at NHSGGC said: “We are so please that Noreen got in touch to tell us how much she appreciated her care. It’s so good for our staff to get to hear positive feedback like this.
“Her message is such an important one; people cannot ignore cancer signs. Despite Covid, we are open for business and urgent cancer treatment has continued throughout.
“We want to wish Noreen well in her ongoing recovery.”