Alconbury mum who beat cancer calls on others to support Macmillan

A MUM who overcame throat and mouth cancer to have a second child will be calling on people to have a cup of coffee and raise money on Friday for Macmillan Cancer Support.

When Claire Senior noticed a lump on her throat she thought it was a swollen gland. After a closer examination, she decided to go to the doctor, thinking it could be tonsilitis.

Within days she was given the shock diagnosis she had cancer of the throat and mouth - another lump, she had been totally unaware of, was also found at the base of her tongue.

As a non-smoker and with no history of cancer in her family, nothing had prepared Claire for the news, but with the help of Macmillan nurses, she and husband David were able to brace themselves for the fight ahead.

Five years on, Claire is healthy and has an 18-month-old son, Oscar, as well as 12 year old daughter, Danielle. She is determined to give something back to the charity who supported her and her family through their ordeal.

“I’m one of those people, I don’t dwell on bad things. When they told me, my first thought was ‘What are we going to do about it?’

“I look back on it now, and I realise I could have died. But I didn’t think about that then, I just took everyday as it came.”

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Claire, who lives at Alconbury and runs a car supply business, underwent an operation to remove both lumps, which she asked to be postponed til after her daughter’s seventh birthday.

She then underwent seven weeks of radiotherapy, which left her throat and mouth feeling burnt and meant Claire had to be fed via tube into her stomach.

Despite the pain involved, Claire was determined to pull through. Now, though she has been given the all-clear, Claire will have to have six-month check-ups for the rest of her life, and continues to have difficulty eating full meals, and talking for long periods.

But the Bramble End resident says she feels lucky.

“David’s dad died of cancer 13 years ago and back then there were only a few of Macmillan nurses. I had three nurses helping at every step of the way from the very start.

“Lizzie was there at my diagnosis, she took me and David into another room and we had a chat. She told us what was going to happen.

“She had all the information we needed and she answered all our questions. She was absolutely amazing. She gave us numbers we could call on anytime, and when I got home two or three days later another Macmillan nurse Janine stopped at home.

“They weren’t intrusive at all. They just said ‘This is who I am and this is what I do’ and left me their numbers. Janine called me once a week, and when I had surgery Lizzie was at the hospital when we went in before surgery.

“And there was Jo, she was there to help us during radiotherapy. There was support all the way.”

INFORMATION: Claire will be holding a Macmillan coffee morning with friend Eleanor Abbs of Perry, at Alconbury Sports and Social Club from 10.30am.

As well as tea and coffee, there will be a cake sale and activities for the children provided by St Neots firm Crafty Monkeys.