Mandy, my Macmillan community nurse is fantastic. She does exactly what I want. She knows that I'm very straight and to the point, and if I think that 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 is out there and likes to cry on people’s shoulders as such. 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. And once or twice 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 for me 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. And she works with the pain consultant a lot for me. And she’ll give me advice. She’s like a gopher. She does a lot of running about. And I know that my husband David calls on her when I'm particularly poorly.
If my mum’s feeling particularly down, if I know that she’s not coping very well, I tell Mandy to have a word with her. And she will have a chat with her to see if she can reassure her a little bit.
I think probably the only the 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 just went to die, but they’re not. It’s a bit of a fear, going into a hospice. But Mandy reassured me about that; 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, then things are pretty bad
I think if I knew Mandy in any other circumstances, we probably would've 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.