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Inverness GP completes MoonWalk for breast cancer charity as she shares her story of shock diagnosis

By Alan Shields

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L-R Iain Grant, Isla Macleod, Poppy Macleod, Morag Macleod, Andrew Macleod, Jamie Macleod
L-R Iain Grant, Isla Macleod, Poppy Macleod, Morag Macleod, Andrew Macleod, Jamie Macleod

An Inverness doctor with breast cancer has taken part in the annual MoonWalk for charity as she shares her story of her diagnosis.

Mum-of-three Morag Macleod was found to have breast cancer in 2021.

But just recently she completed a 26.2 mile Full Moon walking challenge to raise awareness of the disease – raising more than £2500 in the process for charity WalkTheWalk.

The GP joined hundreds of women and men wearing brightly decorated bras taking part in the iconic overnight walking challenge through the streets of Edinburgh to raise money for the cause.

Morag was accompanied by other family members, who were all part of “Team Momo”.

The team included her three children Poppy, Jamie and Isla, as well as her husband Andrew and his cousin Iain Grant.

The idea behind the name “Team Momo” came from a French ski instructor on a holiday Morag went on with her daughter Poppy many years ago.

The instructor couldn’t pronounce Morag and gave up.

But he could say “Momo” and Poppy then brought the name home.

Morag said: “The best thing about taking part in The MoonWalk Scotland was the feeling of being in it together - both as our family and as part of a big family with the same united goal to make things better for people with breast cancer.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2021 at the age of 55.

"Even as a GP, my diagnosis came as a huge shock.

“As a GP, I was very aware of breast cancer before I was diagnosed, but I actually discovered the tumour in my left breast by accident.

“I was lying on the couch and felt something a little odd – I then checked the other breast to compare. I got an appointment the next day with my GP, who was really supportive.

“I was referred to a specialist under the two-week rule and was seen within that time, even though we were in the middle of lockdown.”

After having tests Morag was diagnosed with stage 3 HER-2 positive breast cancer.

Her tumour was around 30 millimetres in size,

She said: “Because the lump was quite large, I had six cycles of chemotherapy first, to try and reduce its size.

“The chemotherapy worked really well and the lump shrank to almost nothing.

“I had a lumpectomy to remove the rest of the lump, as well as three lymph nodes - they found cancer in one of them.

“I didn’t need a mastectomy, but I then had a month of radiotherapy and I was also put on a programme of medication, which has recently finished. I’m still taking the hormone therapy Letrazole.”

Morag said her lowest point came in the summer of 2021 when she got an infection after surgery.

And she said she really struggled with not being as active as she was before her diagnosis.

She added: “One thing which really saved me, was an oncology nurse I met, who was doing a PhD about being active during cancer treatment.

“As part of her research, I had an e-bike for three months, which was fantastic. I could go out on the bike, knowing that I would definitely make it back, because I had the power.

“It meant I could go out with my girlfriends - socially it was really good and it gave me a real boost. It was something to keep my spirits up and keep positive.”

And despite her medical background she said she avoided reading up too much on the disease – eventually turning to charity support.

Morag said: “It took me a while to go to breast cancer charities for more support. I recently did a 'Moving Forward' course with the charity Breast Cancer Now, which was brilliant.

“I’m feeling good now, but it’s been a long, long haul."

She added: “I really like the fact that The MoonWalk specifically focuses on raising money and awareness for breast cancer.

“My actual treatment on the NHS was excellent, but the NHS simply doesn’t have the capacity to do anything else, in terms of supporting people through their journey.

“Grants from charities like Walk the Walk can help so much, helping people to get back to everyday life after a breast cancer diagnosis.”

Donations to Team Momo can be made here.

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