It has been a hard road for many as the country found itself gripped in the vice of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
For Shannon Maya Lamb, it was also the year she faced her own mortality, after the devastating news that she was battling a rare form of ovarian cancer.
The 26-year-old from Broughty Ferry visited Kings Cross Hospital out of hours in October last year, with what she described as “excruciating” pain in her stomach.
Despite having a lump in her her stomach measuring 13 centimetres long, she was originally diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI) and given antibiotics.
‘It took me all my strength to get to Kings Cross’
That day still plays heavily on Shannon’s mind, as she felt “death was around the corner” after suffering hair and weight loss.
“I had a huge 13 by 10cm lump in my stomach when I went up to Kings Cross and it was dismissed as a UTI,” she said.
“The pain was excruciating.
“I was suffering extreme weight loss, I’d lost about two stone around this period.
“It took me all my strength to get to Kings Cross that day.”
Shannon said a visit to her local GP on Brown Street, Broughty Ferry, in November “saved her life”.
Within five minutes of being in her local practice she was quickly sent for an ultrasound scan at Ninewells Hospital.
She added: “I truly think my GP saved my life that day.
“Weeks passed from the visit to Kings Cross and the situation wasn’t improving – I could barely get up.”
“My doctor saw me straight away and I was sent up to Ninewells Hospital.
“I received the crushing news that I would lose one of my ovaries and I had a mass on my left ovary.
“Cancer didn’t even cross my mind – my first thought was ‘am I going to have children in the future?’ I was so distraught.”
At that stage doctors were hopeful that the removal of her left ovary wouldn’t stop her having children.
“There was nothing they could see wrong with the right ovary so my fertility could be preserved,” she said.
“I had that notion in my head until I was sent for a CT scan at Ninewells Hospital and they saw swollen enlarged lymph nodes near my neck and one large para-aortic lymph node.”
Doctors said it appeared Shannon’s cancer could have been stage three or four, with fears that it had spread to her neck and she would lose the function of her right ovary.
‘I was literally preparing myself to say my goodbyes’
“Leaving the hospital that day after that news I felt like I was literally facing my own mortality,” she said.
“They told me I was never going to be able to get pregnant on my own and I was literally preparing myself to say my goodbyes to my friends and family.”
Shannon attended Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) for surgery just before Christmas to have her left ovary and fallopian tube removed before surgeons took washes of her pelvis and lymph nodes.
She added: “With it still being Covid-19 I had to walk into the operating theatre alone as well, it was very frightening.
“I left ARI on Boxing Day but I couldn’t thank the doctors and nurses enough there.”
Three weeks later Shannon received a call to say the cancer was stage 1A, meaning it was confined to one ovary.
“Before that call I was still fearing I didn’t have long left, I felt like death was around the corner,” she said.
“When I got that call I shaking so bad when I seen it was from Aberdeen.
“I just dropped to the floor with tears of happiness when they told me.
“I felt I’d been given another chance of life.”
The talented singer said music and the support of friends and family had been “massive” as she reflected back on the last few months.
“If I had listened to the first diagnosis in Kings Cross I don’t think the outlook would have been as good as perhaps what it was now,” she said.
“I’ve got a totally new outlook on life and don’t let any opportunity pass me by, I just realised how short life can be.
“Anyone who is going through a similar situation to myself I would urge anyone to push on if they don’t think something is right with a diagnosis.
“I kind of felt I was made to feel like I was going crazy cause ovarian cancer is so rare for people my age.”
Shannon is currently working on her track “Under Raindrops” which will hopefully be released soon.
A spokeswoman from NHS Tayside added: “Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment on matters relating to individual patients.
“We would invite Ms Lamb to contact our complaints and feedback team if she wishes to discuss her concerns.”