A-Z

Interview 10

Age at interview: 27
Age at diagnosis: 24
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with breast cancer 1998, underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

More about me...

 

Raises some of the possible bureaucratic hurdles associated with living with breast cancer.

Raises some of the possible bureaucratic hurdles associated with living with breast cancer.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
It does come up in different forms. You just, you know - all the issues, even when, you know, you sort of looking for jobs or, you know, you're thinking about insurance and pensions and everything.

Suddenly you've got this thing.

And like when I'd, I don't know, whenever you have to fill out a form about "have you had a serious illness?" and suddenly it's there.

Whereas before everything was always' "No, no, no, no, no."

And suddenly there's this thing there and it just changes, it changes everything. It changes the way people perceive you on paper.

And yeah, it does change a lot so it definitely affects you.

It affects your life even if, you know, you feel you're not thinking about it.
 
 

Explains that breast cancer can be seen as just another illness rather than much worse than...

Explains that breast cancer can be seen as just another illness rather than much worse than...

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I suppose that, yeah that you are, you know, you can come out the other side. 

That, you know, it isn't necessarily a death sentence. That you don't, you can treat it like another illness. It doesn't have to be this whole thing on its own that is much, much worse than anything else. 

And well if you can, if you can get past the fear of cancer - the initial being diagnosed with it - then actually you can look at it as if you had, you know, another illness which, there are other illness with the possibility of it being terminal, but with a very strong chance of it not being. 

And that, you know, they can offer you so much now that, you know, the medicine available is amazing, the treatment is amazing. 
 
 

Explains that her family were a great source of support and how she became closer to her father.

Explains that her family were a great source of support and how she became closer to her father.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
Yeah. I think I got through it because my family is great and great company.

My mum I've always been close to, and dad, you know, we've been close, but suddenly I was really, you know, right there all the time. So I was, I was just like a child again, like a hundred per cent dependent, particularly during those weeks when I was really ill.

And, you know, through all my teenage years I'd always been dashing off with my friends and everything, and suddenly I was at home a lot, all the time and just learnt to appreciate, you know, their company really.

Just sitting in at night watching telly with them and everything, which I would never have done before. And I really enjoyed it and I love my parents' company now.

I'm quite happy to go and sit round with them for the evening or afternoon and it's really, really nice going away on my own with my dad. I would never have done that before, that was lovely.
 
 

Describes her feelings of tiredness during chemotherapy.

Describes her feelings of tiredness during chemotherapy.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But I think once I just accepted that that's, I was just going to be ill now for this amount of time, and stop trying to sort of think about doing other things or whatever, I just got on with it.

And there were real, really low moments where I just felt so ill and so tired I just couldn't imagine ever feeling normal again. I couldn't imagine ever just sort of bouncing out of bed in the morning and having a full day. 

If I did one thing in a day, if I went out shopping or I went round to a friend's house that would be it. 

Then the rest, you know I'd have to go to bed early and I'd have to sleep in all morning just to be able to do these one or two things. 

And I couldn't believe that, I've always been somebody who's like rushing around and I even found that, you know, quite elderly people would be taking over me in the street and everything. 

I was like' "What's happening to me?" 
 
 

Explains that she wanted information on the emotional rather than medical aspects of breast cancer.

Text only
Read below

Explains that she wanted information on the emotional rather than medical aspects of breast cancer.

HIDE TEXT
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
I felt I'd got all the information I needed from this breast care nurse particularly, when she explained to me what was going to happen and what was going on, just in my case. And I think I read a couple, you know, I read a couple of things. 

Now if I see anything to do with breast cancer I'll pick it up and read it. Or cancer generally, I will read it. But at the time it, that wasn't what I needed. 

It wasn't information, it was more sort of, I don't know, emotional sort of side of things that I was, I was after, and that's what I put my energies into, rather than the factual information. 

What I was looking for, I wanted to talk with people who had been ill and who were better, that's all I wanted to hear about. I wanted to get to see the other side, and I didn't want to sort of know about the in-between bit. 
 
 

Explains why she left decisions about the operation to the surgeons.

Explains why she left decisions about the operation to the surgeons.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

The strange thing was when, because they didn't know how much it had spread or anything, they don't totally know what the whole situation is until they've opened you up.

So they didn't, when they said' "Oh we'll take you to surgery," but they didn't know how much they were going to have to remove.

So he said' "Well, would you like an implant?" And I, yeah I didn't know what to think about that.

I thought' "I don't want an implant. I don't want something else in my body." But I didn't know how much I was going to come out with and that was a strange feeling because you just didn't know what you were going to wake up to.

But I just said' "Well, just make your decision. Obviously if everything's got to go then do something but otherwise."

And, you know, they wouldn't know how serious it was either until, until then so. Yeah, you sort of felt like you were going into the unknown a little bit.

Well they, I didn't decide on any treatment because I suppose I just didn't know, I wouldn't have known.

I mean perhaps you can know more but I certainly wasn't in any state to have been, to have even begun to think about the different.

I needed the security of thinking' "They know what they're doing," so I didn't even question that.

 

Explains the reasons she was given radiotherapy.

Explains the reasons she was given radiotherapy.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
We went in there and they just said it had spread into my lymph nodes.

I think it had affected two or three, I can't remember but he had to, I think it was just two and he had to remove those.

But they didn't, you know, they felt sure that it hadn't spread to the rest of my body. They'd taken enough sort of cells and everything around the lump.

So they said' "Oh no, it's not gone right throughout everything." And that they'd caught it in time.

But they said that they felt they ought to still give me chemotherapy and radiotherapy to make sure that 'just in case' type thing.
 
 

Discusses her feelings of isolation while having radiotherapy.

Discusses her feelings of isolation while having radiotherapy.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
PRINT TRANSCRIPT
But with radiotherapy you're put in this horrible sort of machine thing.

I'd just lie in there and you haven't got, you know, you're a bit exposed, and everyone just leaves the room and you're left and there's all these lasers going across you. And it's dark. 

Yeah. I think I found that really horrible because you just feel so strange. And because you haven't got anybody near you. And no one can sort of sit in there with you and say that it's okay. 

And it's always a strange feeling because where is everybody, you sort of think'"Oh, I understand why everyone leaves the room but how can this be good for me if everyone else has to, like, leave the room and go behind a closed door and I have to sit here taking all this, these lasers going into my body?" 

And they pull, you know, you do feel like a bit of a slab of meat, because they pull you around and push you. I mean obviously just to get it right and they probably do it all day so it probably drives them mad. But you do feel like a slab of meat eventually, and that's -

Yeah they probably don't talk, you know, they don't interact with you in the same way that the chemotherapy nurses did, so I think I found that that quite an impersonal experience. 

I'd say that would probably be the only time I ever felt that there wasn't much support. 
 
Previous Page
Next Page