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Interview CC20

Age at interview: 53
Age at diagnosis: 42
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1991. Internal Radiotherapy followed by External Radiotherapy.
Background: Hotel Supervisor; single, no children.

More about me...

 

She felt reassured by the way her doctor communicated with her.

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He was always talking, telling me before what he was going to do to me and he was talking through and it was just his, for example he calls me "pet", probably he calls every woman who visits "pet", but he made me sort of feel a bit special to him. Which is, reasoning I know it's not but at the same time it's pleasant and then you're good, that everything is fine and don't worry. All these are sort of pleasant way of, which you know and as I say he was going to tell me before "Now I'm doing this. Oh I know it's a bit cold, it's a bit unpleasant. Yes it's going well." You know these sort of reassuring little words of chit chat which it's probably part of his routine and it's extremely pleasant and comforting and reassuring.
 

She didn't feel worried and never considered that she might die.

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Somehow it still didn't feel any different. I don't know it probably was not, I don't know it just, it didn't bother me all that much apart from the problem of having to go to a hospital, having to leave work for a while. Apart from that it was not something that really strike me as dangerous. And actually never, all along I never thought of death. It just it didn't occur to me that I have might have died. It was only probably years later when people of my age or younger they say "Oh I don't want to go to have a smear test. I don't want to go to the gynaecologist because I feel ashamed." And I say "Well if you see me alive now it's because I did the smear test." 

As I say I was never actually worried apart from practical things. It had never occurred to me oh I might have six months or a year or two years to live. It was just a problem that was going to be solved, end of story, nothing more than that.
 

She experienced problems getting the right dosage of hormone replacement therapy for her...

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They tried the different type of hormone replacement therapy and they never managed to get the right amount. Because I had so much trouble finding the right hormone level and eventually because of all this bleeding I start being anaemic and I was always tired. And possibly sort of also my brain balance went. I felt sort of weaker, not well, completely, I had a real problems, mental problems. I was crying in the street with no reason whatsoever. And this has been the worst part of my therapy which wasn't the cancer therapy it was afterwards, trying to sort of get me back to my periods and because I was only 43 so they thought well we can carry on for another 10 years if possible. But that was the worst time of my life, literally I cracked up. Eventually one day I had an appointment with the doctor that was specifically for the hormone replacement and I went there, I threw the tablets on the table and I said "I don't want to take them any more," and again I did probably a horrible scene in front of this person but it was my way of reacting and my way of saying that's enough, I don't want. And in fact it took about six months for my body to get rid of all the, probably chemicals. But after that that was it, I've never been happier because my periods stopped and that was, I had no side effects. Actually while I was taking the hormone replacement therapy I had hot flushes and all this sort of thing. Afterwards that was it, nothing. I was ever so pleasant.

 

Describes her feelings when she was not given information that her radiotherapy would cause a...

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It's the only thing that I really regret in the whole therapy, all what happened to me. That not the complete information was given to me. Okay I was asked "Do you want more children, would you want children?" to which I said no. And the thought in my mind it implied that I would be sterile after the therapy, it never occurred to me that I would be menopausal. And I felt, suddenly at 43 I felt an old woman, like that was again my idea, a chicken that had been, a dead chicken had been emptied from all its guts, so there was nothing inside me, left inside me which is completely the wrong idea because everything is inside me, even if it's not working. It's not the fact I can't have children it's not the fact that I was in menopause it's just it was exactly the fact I hadn't been told. All through the problem from the first letter saying that there is abnormal cells to the end of the, last week when they told me you were off, you are discharged from the clinic, you don't need us any more I always accepted, whatever was done to me I always accepted that because I don't know anything about medicine but I have, I trusted the people that they were taking care of me. And only that thing that they did without telling me. 
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