ALWAYS LAUGHING: Sharon and David Barrett are both suffering from cancer, but sickness hasn’t got the better of them.
ALWAYS LAUGHING: Sharon and David Barrett are both suffering from cancer, but sickness hasn’t got the better of them. Paul Braven

Positively glowing: weekends away off the cards

DON'T tell cancer sufferers Sharon and David Barrett to "be positive" and certainly don't spend any time worrying about whether they're capable of doing something.

It's a phrase the pair has come to loathe since being diagnosed, on the same day, two years ago.

The outlook is bleak for both; Sharon has a blood cancer, follicular lymphoma, and David was diagnosed with a prostate bone cancer.

This month Sharon went for her 30th chemotherapy treatment which the couple commemorated with a "happy snap" in the oncology ward. David is up to treatment number 25.

They're both likely to die with the diseases, but you wouldn't know it if you met them on the street.

"People often ask them, 'how can you have cancer and look so good?'," Sharon said.

"To which I say, we haven't always looked this good. The first time my hair grew back it was all curly. It was awful."

Despite their hatred for the word "positive" that's the way most would describe their sunny outlook on life, constantly joking with each other and always smiling.

Neither has let their health stop them from doing the things they love either, including exercising, tending to their native bee hives and simply enjoying life.

"I loathe the word positive," Sharon said.

"You can't change anything but the word is 'acceptance' because if you can accept it, then you can move forward."

Not every day is a good day. Sometimes, usually after treatment, Sharon's best achievement is watching 12 back-to-back episodes of a recorded show.

"You just become used to it. When you go through something like this, your body changes. Some days it's hard to walk up the stairs and even harder to be motivated. But we manage."

For David if life becomes too much, he can always escape to his shed.

"I've got cancer but why worry about it?" he said. "I just get the treatment and keep going."

Regular visits to the oncology ward mean David and Sharon, who have come to think of it as a second home, have also made a whole new set of friends.

"It helps to have them," David said.



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