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Meet Susan.

Susan received treatment on board our Mobile Support Unit.

Cancer seems to run in my family, my mum had it, her mother and grandmother, my auntie and two of my cousins, but so far doctors have been unable to find a connection. My husband Kevin passed away in June 2017 after a long battle with myeloma.

At the time of his diagnosis they were giving patients like Kevin four years to live but he got ten. They eventually stopped all of his treatment because there was nothing new to give him and I remember asking how long he had left at that time to be told he had just a week.

I got called in for a routine mammogram in February 2018 and received a letter two weeks later; the test had found two spots that they were concerned about. A biopsy returned a positive result and I had the operation within two months. I was amazed at how quickly everything went.

Two other tumours were discovered during the operation that hadn’t been picked up by the mammogram because they were so small. That’s four tumours altogether. They said I had to have my breast removed my first thought was it’s not like losing an arm or a leg. At my age I don’t need my boob and it didn’t bother me.

A reconstructive operation was longer than the one to have the breast removed and my arthritis may have been affected because the surgery relocates muscle tissue from the arm. Weighing up the pros and cons, no one would know the difference anyway.

After the mastectomy I was advised to do some gentle exercise to help the healing but I went a little overboard and cleared out my shed. I ended up with a hematoma on my chest and had to have that removed surgically too. I stuck to mild exercise after that!

I had chemotherapy on Tenovus Cancer Care’s Mobile Support Unit. My late husband Kevin had his treatment there and had always described it as a five star hotel. I thought it was fantastic to have treatment comfortably and only two minutes from my house in Cwmbran and the staff are so friendly and efficient.

The Mobile Support Unit is more relaxing because you don’t have to worry about getting into a hospital car park, which if you visit hospital regularly you tend to worry about! I can attend an appointment and be at home soon afterward with a cup of tea, or lying down if I’m not feeling too good.

You can control some aspects of your cancer diagnosis and that can help you to feel a little better so around my second treatment I got the clippers out and shaved it off before it fell out. It felt good; I was satisfied that I’d waited and did it when I wanted to do it.

The funny thing is I always used to part my hair on the right side but since it’s grown back it’s swaying to the left and I’m almost thinking I’ll put the parting on the left side now. I’m definitely embracing the new grey colour.

I didn’t have Kevin when I was going through treatment but I had amazing support from my children and a lot of humour from my grandchildren. They said ‘grandma, you look like an egg’ or ‘grandma, you look like a vampire’ because I’ve had no hair but it’s brought a lot of humour to it for me.

You feel sorry for yourself at times but you have to remember that you aren’t alone; some people have it worse, some have it better. Having treatment closer to home with Tenovus Cancer Care made it a little easier for me to just enjoy life.

Susan Kiely

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If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010