A Scots dad has vowed to make up for lost time after losing precious months playing with his young daughters as he underwent gruelling chemotherapy.
David Ross, 36, from Stepps, was referred to Stobhill Hospital by his GP after finding a lump on his testicle last May and, within two weeks, underwent surgery to have it removed.
Doctors were optimistic he would only need a month of chemo – but it later emerged the cancer cells had spread and he required a gruelling three months of treatment.
He told STV News: “That was a low point for me. I thought it was more or less done and dusted. I’d not even told my wife I’d had the doctor’s appointment as I didn’t want to worry her.
“I was worried about the toll it would take on my wife and young girls, who were one and three.”
Communications director David was in and out of hospital and was so weak he had to remain upstairs in bed while at home.
He suffered from nausea and could barely eat, resulting in his weight plummeting to seven-and-a-half stone.
His wife Paula, a nurse, looked after David at home and regularly visited him at the Beatson Centre at Gartnavel Hospital.
His daughters Sophie and Emily, aged one and three, became withdrawn from him as his health visibly declined.
“It was a horrible, grim experience,” he said. “Emily knew there was something wrong and was very worried.
“I remember her face the day I had to shave my hair off. She was so upset – it had a clear impact on her.
“It was awful for me too, losing my hair. It was a physical manifestation that showed how real all of this was.”
But his most heartbreaking moments were his attempts to play with his one-year-old Sophie and put her to bed.
“She had become even more attached to her mum as I had not been around,” David said. “It took a long time for her to get used to me being home and being her pal again.
“She wouldn’t let me lift her or get down on the floor to play with her and it was physically difficult enough for me to be a dad to her. She only wanted her mum.”
He added: “Even a few months after chemo was over, she saw a photo of me at my worst on her mum’s phone and burst out crying. It was horrible to see.”
More than a year since finishing treatment, David is delighted to be cancer-free.
He recently completed a mammoth cycle challenge which saw him complete more than 500 kilometres throughout August.
He raised more than £12,500 for the Beatson, which he still attends for blood tests.
He is also supporting this year’s Bauble Appeal to ensure more patients and families can be helped by the service.
“I’m so grateful to the Beatson,” he said. “It saved my life, if it wasn’t for the Beatson I wouldn’t be here – I would be dead.
“It’s a different standard of care. Doctors are fantastic, the nurses look after you and the porters chat to you.
“Plus the extra services – psychological services, massages and family and friend support. They did everything they possibly could.
“I want to give something back so that the Beatson can help other people and save other people’s lives in the way it saved mine.”
The busy dad is now looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with his young family. The girls are writing their wish lists and excited to put up their tree.
“We all caught Covid last Christmas so I’m looking forward to our first normal one as a whole family,” he said.
“I’ve already had to hide the advent calendars from the girls to stop them eating the chocolates – that has been its own challenge.
“I just try to have it in my head now that I’m here, and I’m okay, and things are getting back to normal.”