I was first diagnosed with cancer in 2014 – it was devastating but at that point it was treatable.
My husband, Robert, and my children were so supportive. Then just before Christmas 2016 I got the news that it was terminal.
I was devastated by what to tell my boys. One of the nurses I saw early on said something that really stuck with me. She said: ‘You have a terminal illness, but you’re not dying at the moment.’ I thought that was so true, I may have a terminal illness, but I’m still living.
I’m very open about living with a terminal illness and I hope that by speaking out more people will talk to their family and friends about how they want to die and get the most out of life in the meantime.
Marie Curie has launched a new leaflet to help people have these conversations if they find it difficult.
Called You Matter, it highlights the simple things that everyone can do to help make sure everyone receives the care that they need and deserve. Care that is about wishes so that people live and die how they want to. I’ve prepared my power of attorney and even planned my funeral. My family all know my wishes and are really supportive of my choices.
I have decided that I’m not spending one minute on self-pity. I want to have a good time and enjoy myself. I want to create memories for my children and grandchildren to demonstrate that you can have a positive life. I started to think about where best to spend my final days. At first I wanted to stay at home, but I’m worried about the strain on Robert and the boys. I spoke to a friend whose gran died at the Marie Curie Hospice, Edinburgh, and they said it was like a home from home.
When I visited the hospice I was blown away by the cheeriness of the staff, volunteers and some of the patients I met. All my family were with me and I was struck by the landscaped gardens and the building itself and how peaceful I felt.
I loved the fact that family can visit anytime and stay as long as they want. They can even have a meal prepared. I mentioned that I like a glass of prosecco with the family. ‘Bring it in!’ they said.
My heart goes out to anyone who needs the services of Marie Curie. I know that when my time comes my family will have all the support they need but sadly that’s not the case for everyone.
It is so important that everyone gets the care they need. Sadly one in four people in Scotland aren’t getting that care. I’m supporting Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal because they urgently need your support so they can reach more people like me, when we need them most.
You can do your bit this month and join me in supporting the Great Daffodil Appeal, Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign.
Please donate and wear your daffodil pin to take part. Marie Curie is aiming to raise £500,000 in Scotland to provide care and support to people like me living with a terminal illness and their families.
You can pick up your daffodil pin from volunteers across the country and in store at Superdrug, Spar and Poundworld. I wear my daffodil with pride, I’m helping Marie Curie reach more people and seeing daffodil pins springing up all over always brightens my day.
If you or someone you know is living with a terminal illness contact the Marie Curie Support Line free on 0800 090 2309 for confidential support and information.
Linda Tierney is supporting Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal. https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/daffodil