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Margaret’s Story

Michael was diagnosed with a rectal tumour in 2019. Following surgery, intensive chemotherapy and continual bladder infections, we were told Michael’s tumour was incurable and we were put in touch with Dougie Mac.

At first, reluctant about accessing any support from the hospice but with encouragement he began attending weekly wellbeing sessions to help enhance his quality of life and mood. Surprisingly, Michael loved the sessions and re-discovered a love of painting. He was hooked and began to look forward to putting paint to paper each week.

These sessions were a blessing not just for Michael; but for me too. Supporting Michael through his cancer diagnosis was incredibly overwhelming so for several hours a week I was able to take time for myself knowing Michael was safe and enjoying himself. It was life-saving magic for the both of us.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, Dougie Mac were our life-line; calling us regularly to see how we were and if there was anything they could do for us. It meant the world to us knowing that their expertise was always just at the other end of the phone.

For a while Michael’s condition was stable but he then began to need more and more care to manage his pain and symptoms. The Hospice at Home team visited Michael every day; giving me time to sleep and recharge my batteries before I returned to his bedside. We couldn’t have asked for more compassionate care – the nurses were absolutely fantastic.      

Thanks to Dougie Mac; Michael’s quality of life was good and he lived almost 12 months longer than his initial 3 month prognosis. Michael had an excellent attitude to life and responded so well to the uplifting and dignified care he received.

After Michael died in December 2021, I received bereavement counselling and began attending Dougie Mac’s Bereaved Carers Support Group to support me through my grief. I met others who were also going through the heartbreak of losing a loved one and from that point I knew that I wouldn’t be alone. I’ve made some wonderful friends who are a marvellous support network which wouldn’t have been possible without Dougie Mac.

To me, Dougie Mac doesn’t mean death, it means life and that’s what they gave us – a different outlook and the strength to keep on going.