A WOMAN is looking to get her business back on its feet after overcoming a life-threatening illness.

Susan Newbrook, 59, opened Greyfriars Hair Studios in Longden Coleham in June 2010, but had only been open a year when she was struck down with septicemia.

“When you get through your first year, you think ‘thank god’, it’s doing ok and you’ve managed to pay the bills,” she said.

However, she said, she had been ill on and off for six months and having blood tests.

“For five weeks I was visiting the doctors, really feeling awful and had very low iron,” she said. “On the Friday my friend Maggie came over and insisted on calling an ambulance. If it wasn’t for her I might not be here.”

She said the hospital kept her for seven days assessing what was wrong. It turned out to be gallstones, but in that time septicemia had set in and it became a life-and-death situation.

“For a couple of nights the doctors said ‘she might get through tonight, but we don’t know about tomorrow’.”

At worst, she says, she went down to a size 8. “I’m lucky to be here,” she said.

Her illness meant she was absent from Greyfriars Hair Studios for almost a month.

“I want to put the record straight,” she said. “I really want to apologise to my customers. I’m back now and I’ve got help there and we hope to win them back.

“Some people thought I had gone on holiday, and I want to say I would never let people down like that deliberately.

“I’ve got a new girl Rebecca (Dorricott) helping me now and my niece Victoria (Stefano) is doing nails and foot massage.”

The studios also offers Doctor Fish foot-spa facilities, where fish nibble at customers’ feet to give a unique massage and pedicure; and Flabelos whole-body work out and weight-loss services.

“I have had a lot of support, from customers who checked in and asked how I was,” she said, “and I want to thank my family, especially my brother Tony (Patison) who took over the paperwork and has been a tower of strength.

“It’s been a bit of a nightmare and the business had taken a bashing,” she said, “so I’d really like to get the business off the ground and my career back on track.”