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Interview CC11

Age at interview: 23
Age at diagnosis: 23
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with cervical cancer (Stage 1B) in 2001. Radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymphandectomy (lymph nodes removed).
Background: Student; single, no children.

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She found the Internet useful to find information about her planned hysterectomy.

She found the Internet useful to find information about her planned hysterectomy.

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I think I wanted to read about this catheter, the fact that, because she kept, when I went and I was told I was booked in for this radical hysterectomy which I hated the word, the radical bit but then read in the internet that it's just the fact that they have to go to the outer limits, as far as they can go with regards to the hysterectomy. Radical, it's just such a horrible word isn't it, it just sounds so absolutely dreadful and kind of drastic. And I got a little, she gave me a leaflet about cervical cancer and she said you know "You know that you're going to have a catheter and you'll probably go home with the catheter," and at that point I didn't really know what that was or you know whether that was something in my stomach or how, but it's not, through your urethra and into your bladder that way. But I didn't know that at the time so I wanted to go looking on the internet, find out about hysterectomy, radical hysterectomy, how the incisions are done, how big the incisions are done and this catheter. So that was quite, is that going to hurt, is that going to hurt when it comes out, how will that work and that kind of thing yeah. And the tube that was in my stomach as well because that sounds horrible as well. But that kind of thing really just reading about the surgery. And also the stages, the stages of the cancer, the fact that I was Stage 1B and I was like oh what does that mean and you know what does 2 mean and just reading about the different stages of the cancer it's quite interesting. I think knowledge does definitely help the situation like that, to know where you're standing and the options.
 

Describes how she became more conscious of her health and her future and helped her to take a...

Describes how she became more conscious of her health and her future and helped her to take a...

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I'm a lot more conscious now of food and the way you live your life. I mean not that I used to go out that much kind of partying and into pubs but now I'm more conscious if someone is smoking near me I will make an effort to move away from them and I'm quite conscious about that kind of thing. And just really that your life is really short and it's something like this which is, I'm seeing it now as a wake-up call for my life because to really know where I want to be and want I want to do now. I was at university but I'm going to have to repeat my year next year, but I was also working part time and my part time work was actually taking sort of more importance over my university job just because you get obsessed with the money side of things and paying for rent at university and that kind of thing and now I'm like no my studies are really more important. And in a way, I wouldn't have wished this to happen but in a way it's almost a wake-up call, it's a kind of you can put things in, put priorities and everything straight in your life. Because like what is important to me and your family are important to you and it's not money it's not anything like that it's your health and you only have that one body and to sit there smoking a cigarette and things like that. I'm not going to start saying to people don't smoke or anything like that but it's certainly important and you have got to really think about your health. Really it is so important. 
 

She explains that having further tests made her feel very alone.

She explains that having further tests made her feel very alone.

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Yes I had to have blood tests, a chest xray and a CAT scan, a CT scan. And I think that was the day when I felt the most alone as is this is my body and I've got this in my body and no one else can help me. And I felt very alone that day because I had to go down to the xray department, the CT scan and the lady said to me "What are you having the xray for?" And I just assumed it would say on the folder that I was taking down and I said "I have cervical cancer," and she just looked at me like you're too young to have that kind of thing and you know. 

So yeah I had the xray and then had to go and have the CT scan, the CAT scan. Which I didn't really know what it was and I just assumed that it would be like, well it is like an xray but it's you know they have to put an IV in so that it shows up, I think it's everything, it's a more detailed picture of your body isn't it, so basically it was an abdominal CAT scan. 

But yeah they had to put a small IV in my arm and then I had to lay down in this kind of tube while it rolled back and forth to take pictures of me inside. I had to breath in and breath out. And it was painless, it was fine but it did make me feel very lonely. Oh you've got cancer, all that kind of thing. Yeah right but I don't want to talk about it, don't ask me that question, it was quite yeah.
 

Describes the pain she experienced after her hysterectomy.

Describes the pain she experienced after her hysterectomy.

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And then woke up and the doctor was at the end of the bed saying "Everything went well, nothing went abnormally, you didn't lose any blood, and we're going to take you up to the ward." And I remember I just felt very like something's had been done down here and it felt so intrusive. I expected me to be not really in pain because I thought the drugs would be so strong that I wouldn't really be in pain but I was. I mean God knows what it would've been like if I wasn't on morphine or whatever I was on. But it really felt oh God as I was being taken up in the lift. And there was a little bump and it just felt, oh God it just felt so awful. And I remember feeling glad though that it was over and I've had the operation. It's done now and I just need to get better and that kind of thing.
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