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Interview 23

Age at interview: 68
Age at diagnosis: 67
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with colorectal cancer 2000, under went surgery and chemotherapy.

More about me...

 

Having an approachable GP and surgeon meant a lot to her.

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Well the district nurse can't get over the fact that I can eh, do all this house and more, and hang curtains when I shouldn't be' "You should have somebody in to do that." And then my son was here when doctor was up, and he said to the doctor "Will you talk to mum because she's been out doing that garden?" He says "Bill I don't talk to your mum" he says, "because every time I say "don't do" she carries on and does it and she's fine." He said, "So all I'm going to do is ask her to put her coat on and come and do mine under medical supervision!"

As I say it's like I go to the doctors and they're no doctors to me, they're friends, right from the surgeon down. The surgeon, he's from Glasgow and he's the top man in Britain for bowel cancer which I was lucky to have, and he jokes about things. He, his wife was just into hospital just after I had my operation and I mean you didn't ask what had happened but he told us, he had to cancel because his wife was rushed into hospital. But it turns out she had a wee baby girl and when you say "How's your wee daughter getting on!" "Women. That's two women I have to fight against now!" and he jokes about things.

I mean he does not go in, some of these surgeons when they come through round the wards could hardly speak, but he jokes and he tells you anything you want to know. You just have to say "Could you tell me?" and he'll be honest with you.

 

Her GP and surgeon were very approachable and this meant a lot to her.

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Well the district nurse can't get over the fact that I can eh, do all this house and more, and hang curtains when I shouldn't be' "You should have somebody in to do that." And then my son was here when doctor was up, and he said to the doctor "Will you talk to mum because she's been out doing that garden?" He says "Bill I don't talk to your mum because every time I say "don't do" she carries on and does it and she's fine." He said, "So all I'm going to do is ask her to put her coat on and come and do mine under medical supervision!"

As I say it's like I go to the doctors and they're not doctors to me, they're friends, right from the surgeon down. The surgeon, he's from Glasgow and he's the top man in Britain for bowel cancer which I was lucky to have, and he jokes about things, he, his wife was into hospital just after I had my operation and I mean you didn't ask what had happened but he told us, he had to cancel because his wife was rushed into hospital. But it turns out she had a wee baby girl and when you say "How's your wee daughter getting on!" "Women. That's two women I have to fight against now!" and he jokes about things.

I mean he does not go in, some of these surgeons when they come through the wards could hardly speak, but he jokes and he tells you anything you want to know. You just have to say "Could you tell me?" and he'll be honest with you.

 

She had tremendous support from family, health professionals and her community.

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I've had so much help from doctors, community nurses, nurses, social work, the surgeon, everybody. And the surgeon went into every detail with me, which I think helped.

The minister even, friends, I mean I was lucky I've been very lucky because I've so many friends saying prayers and so many doctors, nurses, community nurses, social workers, helping that I, I must be lucky because I've heard of other stories where there's no help. But as I said before I was lucky because the doctors in the practice, the nurses in the practice, down to even the receptionist, I just needed to pick up the phone and there was somebody here for me.

But as I say everybody was there for me, and my sons and my friends still are to this day, the minister, the doctor. I mean the doctor at the practice just pops in to make sure we're OK. It really did help a lot.

It helped knowing I think it helped knowing that people cared too. I mean I knew that I had a lot of friends but I didn't know till then how many friends and how many people I'd been involved with, even cousins that I hadn't seen for two or three years were into hospital to see me. And I couldn't believe that everybody had sort of come round and, it sounds stupid but I'm going to say it, it was as though they came round and had us there in the middle of them all and they were protecting.

Like they made a big circle around you?

Yes and they were protecting me. And the minister he just said to me, he said "Well" he says "we just said, we just told at the prayer meeting that you, that you're not ready, we?re not wanting him to take you yet so our prayers have all been answered." Now it wasn't put as, how can I put it, a religious thing, it was more put as God's there but "we've told them, he cannot have you yet".

 

Her decision to have chemotherapy was connected to her gratitude to her medical team.

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"You've got to think about this," he says "it can be eh 50 to 100 that it could come back elsewhere but you could go for chemo to be on the safe side but you'll need to talk it over with your family." He said "If you go for chemo it jumps and, he says, it's 80% it won't come back, but that is entirely up to you."

Well I felt that my own doctor, the surgeon, everybody had, did their best for me. I was getting told that if I took chemo it could help me so there was no way I wasn't going to take it after all of what they had done.

I mean what was the sense of that, saying no I'm not gonna take chemo and then sit in a big chair and say, maybe I should have took the chemo. No, I made that decision there and then.

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