Mandy, my Macmillan community nurse, is fantastic. She does exactly what I want. She knows I'm very straight and to the point, and if I think she’s getting a little bit ahead of herself sometimes, I’m like, ‘No, that’s not happening.’ You know, I tell her – I love that she’s there through all of it.
I'm not really one that likes to cry on people’s shoulders. But there’s been the odd occasion where I may have been struggling with something, and I’ve found it quite hard to deal with. Mandy has actually been there when I’ve been low, you know. And I’ve cried, which is not really like me. But Mandy’s always got the answers, and gives good advice on what to do.
About four or five weeks ago, I got a chest infection, and actually Mandy thought I only had a few weeks left. She was organising all these medications for end-of-life care. And I just said to her, ‘You don’t think I've got very long, do you?’ And she said, ‘No, I think you've got a few weeks.’ And I said, ‘No, you’re wrong.’ And she replied at the time, ‘Well, you will probably prove me wrong in true Claire Senior style.’
When I'm feeling really bad, she’s always my first port of call. Especially if I'm really suffering with pain – that’s an ongoing issue. She works with the pain consultant a lot for me, and she’ll give me advice. She does a lot of running about, and I know my husband David calls on her when I'm particularly poorly.
If my mum’s feeling particularly down, if I know she’s not coping very well, I tell Mandy to have a word with her. She will have a chat with her to reassure her a little bit.
I think the only time I've ever felt out of control is when I've had to go to the hospice and into hospital. I always thought hospices were places where people went to die, but they’re not. It’s a bit of a fear, going into a hospice. But Mandy reassured me – she explained that you go there for a bit of respite.
I'm not really a moaner, and I have to be really down on myself or really quite poorly to reach out for help. So Mandy knows that, if we're calling, things are pretty bad.
I think if I knew Mandy in any other circumstances, we probably would have been friends.
Macmillan do wonderful things. In fact, last year we had a weekend away. It was a short break that Macmillan organised for us, via another charity. And that time for us, family time together, it’s invaluable.
Sadly, Claire died in February 2015. We'd like to thank her family for allowing us to continue sharing her story, so others can benefit from Macmillan's support.