IT HAS been a sobering time of late for Laurie Gallacher.

Although a Mojito went down a treat at Orocco Pier to celebrate her birthday, the sweet refreshment of an ice-cold pint has not been a treat she has been able to savour.

The side effects of chemotherapy has resulted in the Dunfermline barber losing some of her taste buds, meaning a cool lager was a tasteless affair on a recent gathering with pals.

While a cool, sugary Kopparberg seemed to fill the void, the lack of satisfaction from a pint pales in comparison to the agony of losing her hair.

As reported previously by the Press in our series documenting Laurie’s journey with breast cancer, the now-49-year-old made the decision to take matters into her own hands by having her long locks cut off and adopting a number two buzzcut all over.

Her son, Taylor, joined her in New Row Barbers in Dunfermline for the milestone moment, and Laurie remarked how much she “loved” her new look.

After undergoing her second round of chemo on May 21 and with more hair coming out at a fast pace, she decided to shave off the remaining hair with the help of her partner, Jamie, on Monday night last week.

She told the Press: “I didn’t think it would bother me, but it did.

“Both of us were emotional.

“I couldn’t look for a long time afterwards.

“I almost felt like my femininity was stolen.

“I feel like a bit of a fraud now for ‘loving’ my charity shave. There is a huge difference between a number two and NO hair.

“I now have even more compassion, empathy and love for all my fellow cancer buddies.

“This was a completely different experience, emotionally.

“However, it will grow back and I’m looking forward to trying out new hairstyles.”

The second round of chemo was altered from her first session, with the dosage lowered.

“The experience I had after that first round was hell,” she recalls.

“I was really sore and I’m so glad I spoke up about that so my chemo was altered.

“That’s one thing I have learned. If something doesn’t feel right or that you’re unsure of anything, you have to tell someone. Keeping quiet about it helps no-one.

“This second round has been a lot easier and while there are still side effects, it’s nowhere near as bad as the first time around.”

In talking so openly in the Press about her experiences with breast cancer, Laurie is keen to answer any questions from the public about her journey.

Whether you are going through cancer yourself and would like to reach out, or perhaps you would like to know about what could await you after being diagnosed, Laurie would like to help if she can.

“Talking to other cancer patients, we’re like a community support group for each other,” she said.

“I would love people to message me and ask questions. That breaks down the stigma.

“I know people may be frightened to ask or perhaps don’t know how to, but we shouldn’t avoid it. It is what it is, and you can ask me anything.

“It’s good to talk.

“I may appear to be one strong cookie but I have been struggling through this and I will be speaking to a psychiatrist through Maggie’s (Fife).”

Any questions can be sent to: