Tamara Campbell knew she had cancer. She knew long before having it confirmed by specialists.
When she told her story to Odette, our Legacy and Regular Giving officer, she said, “I just couldn’t deal with the thought of it. My mum was in Palliative Care – suffering from Stage 4 Breast Cancer back in Australia. I couldn’t fly home to say goodbye to her because of the travel restrictions due to COVID.”
Tamara first felt the lump in her lower abdomen in November 2019. She put it to the back of her mind, because her mum was becoming increasingly ill and sadly passed away after a 20 year battle with the disease in February 2020. Tamara visited her GP in the middle of March, and two weeks later, she met with the specialists.
Tamara had a biopsy and CT scan, where they discovered she had an ovarian cyst with a mass measuring 10cm x 11cm. She had a full hysterectomy at Crosshouse hospital to remove the tumour on May 28th of this year;
“I woke up from the anaesthetic feeling very groggy and out of it – and heard the cheering going on outside my windows and in all the wards. It was a momentous occasion, as the nurses were celebrating the final Thursday night clap for the NHS staff. I was in a lot of pain and full of drugs – but it was a moment I will never forget – I was just grateful to be alive.”
Tamara underwent chemotherapy treatment at the Beatson Hospital, and used Ayrshire Cancer Support Transport Service to travel to every appointment. “The drivers, the whole service, was amazing from start to finish. I just phoned up with all my dates and they organised it all. I didn’t have to worry about anything during COVID – I was really well looked after by the drivers and staff.”
The nurses at the Beatson were also fantastic. “It was a strange experience; all the nurses were head to toe in PPE. The chairs were spaced far apart and there were only four patients allowed in each bay. The nurses were still jovial under their plastic visors and masks, but I felt really sorry for them.”
Tamara is now feeling better than ever, but still has some down days, “I feel I haven’t grieved for my mum properly, I haven’t had time to mourn her loss. In normal circumstances, I would have gone to Australia to be with my family. Instead I have been facing my own battle with this terrible disease.”
“Some days I feel really positive about my future, and other days I am convinced it’s going to come back again.”
For now Tamara is living in the moment, taking every day as it comes. She’s concentrating on building her own business up and her family. “It’s all about enjoying the time I have left. I don’t dwell on what I have been through or what I have to do to get by. I’m a different person now, my cancer has changed me. But hopefully for the better!”
How you can help:
To find out more about how you can help others like Tamara, please click the link to donate to Ayrshire Cancer Support today.