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Interview 16

Age at interview: 52
Age at diagnosis: 45
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with colorectal cancer 1994. Received radiotherapy, surgery, and temporary colostomy.

More about me...

 

Explains his view of cancer as caused by a combination of factors.

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Well I now find out it's hereditary and I had an uncle and auntie die of bowel cancer but that was at the age of 75 and 80. But because there is a link now between the hereditary aspect of the family I think that's one reason.

Second could be my lifestyle in terms of the type of food and the stresses of life in travelling, having to be in a different country almost on a weekly basis and the stresses of coping with airline delays, trains and whatnot had some bearing in terms of my illness. It certainly must have speeded it up in some format so I think stresses do have an effect on the cancer spreading.

What was your diet like before you became ill?

I certainly did not eat fruits as a norm, or have high fibre sort of cereals and diet so that perhaps had contributed.

But I don't think that's the only reason. I think food is an aspect but I think maybe microwave food, also ingredients in preservatives and stuff like that probably has some kind of effect. But I don't think it's just one aspect which causes cancer, it's probably a mixture of five or six aspects of lifestyle.
 
 

Explains how his unpredictable bowel habit made it difficult to cope with his job.

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As my job required me to travel abroad at short notice some of the fights I had to take were early morning flights, roughly at 9 am which means I have to wake up at 4 am and finish off with my bowel problems which sometimes I can cope with and there are days I cannot cope and I have had to miss flights.

Usually the company was pretty fair in allowing me to take later flights to cope with my bowel problems but with cost cutting which happens with almost all companies these days the cheaper flights seemed to be early mornings and this resulted in me having to battle with my bowel problem versus my job commitments and finally I had to retire from my job for this reason last year.

And now I am retired and seem to cope with my bowel problems fairly well because I do not have any rigid programmes in terms of having to go to the toilet in the mornings because I have to otherwise do due to a full time job.
 
 

Describes how his side effects became progressively worse over the course of 6 sessions.

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[I had] severe pains due to the effect of the high powered x-ray on my bowels and possibly the glands and muscles surrounding it. As the radiotherapy course was getting towards the fourth and the fifth I had effects of nausea and I could not eat food, mainly on liquid diet at that stage until the entire six sessions were complete.

Early stages it was possibly within the first hour I was able to recover and even take a train back, but the third, fourth, fifth and sixth I think I was not able to drive my car and I had to depend on friends to take me down. And the recovery time of the fifth and the sixth were a few days and that was fairly daunting because I could not go anywhere close to food at all.

Yes the fifth session I did not know how it was going to affect me. That gave me a lot of anxiety over the final sessions. A friend of mine took me down and after the session I just collapsed in the car and I think I slept all the way back during the two hour drive back. But I recovered from that over a period of three days but I could not eat solid foods for about a week or so.

Sexually in terms of having an erection and stuff like that I think there is not permanent but near permanent damage.
 
 

Explains how his unpredictable bowel habit made it difficult to cope with his job.

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As my job required me to travel abroad at short notice some of the flights I had to take were early morning flights, roughly at 9 am which means I have to wake up at 4 am and finish off with my bowel problems which sometimes I can cope with and there are days I cannot cope and I have had to miss flights.

Usually the company was pretty fair in allowing me to take later flights to cope with my bowel problems but with cost cutting which happens with almost all companies these days the cheaper flights seemed to be early mornings and this resulted me in having to battle with my bowel problem versus my job commitments and finally I had to retire from my job for this reason last year.

And now I am retired and seem to cope with my bowel problems fairly well because I do not have any rigid programmes in terms of having to go to the toilet in the mornings because I have to otherwise do due to a full time job.

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