Sue Durand has been a member of Cancer Care Centre since 2004. That was when her husband Mike was diagnosed with cancer.

As Sue has stated in a recent letter to Cancer Care Centre:

“Cancer Care Centre filled a gap not covered by the hospital medical interventions… We both found the assistance and companionship very helpful”.

Sue is encouraging us to present a view which she believes is not always offered – she believes it is important to acknowledge that not everybody lives on after cancer, and that this is not because they do not make enough effort.

Sue wants to emphasise the importance of the quality of life lived during the cancer journey. This does not necessarily result in remission or cure. Too much emphasis can be put on winning. To not ‘win’ can be seen as ‘losing’.

Sue said “Mike just wanted to keep on living as best he could, not just hoping not to die. His whole attitude was not about dying but how he could live well. He was always cheerful and nice to everybody. He believed in ‘mindfulness’ and he was very good at it. He used to say, “I’m a human – just being and getting on with living.”

They did not wait for the palliative care staff to come and get Mike out of bed each day. Sue got Mike up and they went out and had a good time doing things together. When he could no longer go out, people came round and socialised.

The message which Sue believes Mike would want to give us is,

“Learn to get the most out of all the small things.”

We thank Sue for her honest and personal discussion and for encouraging us to put the point that while it is great to hear the remission stories, not everybody can tell these stories. They may have different but none the less heart-warming stories.

Jocelyn Nicholson, Volunteer Coordinator