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Interview 36

Age at interview: 69
Age at diagnosis: 65
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with colorectal cancer 1997, under went surgery, temporary colostomy and chemotherapy.

More about me...

 

He explains the difficulty of moving from employment income to a pension after illness hastened...

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When I, you know I was just about to retire and was forcibly retired then. Now, when that hits you you're out of work and I was just basically an ordinary worker.

When I was out of work, yeah, it did hit me and the MacMillan nurses come and I, I, you know, she says "Have you any worries?" And I said "Well we've always worries with you know the heating oil is coming up to pay and one thing and a two". "Well, I'll tell you don't worry about that, I can maybe help you there". And they did. They helped me.

Now as things went on and we got things levelled out and pensions, the pension started to come through and all this. Things got a bit easier yes, but it was just that initial period, it's like shifting house where, you've got one mortgage and the other one in between you know you have this, you have to try and work things out and balance it out when no money maybe is coming in for a while and you're, you've got your mortgage or something you know, yeah, it was, it was worrying.

 

Having a PICC line made chemotherapy easier because of his fear of injections.

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I have to explain that I've got a PICC line in for, I'm sort of allergic to needles and the sweat broke on me, when I even seen a needle the sweat broke on me.

You mean you were sort of phobic about needles?

Yep, it was of definitely I had, the sweat, it was unbelievable, I couldn't believe the sweat that just run off me when I seen these needles and all and they tried to get them into me arm and all. And uh, they decided to put a PICC line in which was a great help, definitely a great help, the PICC line, I had no real problems with it.

But after my whole treatment which lasted five months, I was given five days every month, and then they give you a rest' five days on, three weeks off really, which made up the month. And after that when I went down to get, the very last time it was heaven to get that PICC line pulled out of me. Actually I still have the PICC line, they gave it to me.

You kept it as a souvenir?!

Yeah, they gave me the PICC line! So I still have the PICC line, I bring it to show to people when I'm talking to them you know, about chemotherapy.

 

Despite minor fears and the occasional mishap he found it easy to cope with his colostomy.

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You had to be sure that you, you got the wee click, that it was clicking on right because if it didn't, you, you had no control over your bowels. Not like when you're running around normally you're saying "I have to go to the toilet, I can hold on for half an hour no problem", you can maybe hold on for two or three hours if you want. But when you have a bag and the bowel does its own thing! It doesn't wait for you, you know you, it just happens.

And uh, I was a wee bit apprehensive about it and all, and worried with the smell. I was very, very conscious of this smell. Obviously you've got these wee sprays and all but still very conscious about being out in company, which I was one night, one uh Boxing night we were out the whole family, the whole lot, children and everything, and it broke on me.

And I was sitting, but I wasn't far from home funnily enough and I just said to my wife like "I'll have to go" and she knew. So, I just nipped up home, no problem. In fact, "Where's me dad?" "He's away just doing a job, back again, no problem". Had it all changed inside twenty, twenty-five minutes and I was back again.

 

He feels that making a list of the pros and cons of chemotherapy makes the decision obvious.

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It's like when I go to talk to people about chemotherapy, this one person said she didn't think that she would go for it and I said "Well, that's, you know, your personal choice, whether you go for it or whether you don't but the hospital is basically saying uh, give you a choice".

And I said "Well what you do is you get a list, you get a sheet and you write out the, the bad things about chemo' that you're gonna have to travel to hospital 20 miles, you're gonna have to go every so often, you're gonna have somebody to bring you down, you're not allowed to drive."

You write all these things down, all against chemotherapy and then you write what's for. And I said "Well, when I was doing it I just wrote for, the first I wrote was it's gonna save my life," and I didn't have to write anything more, it's as simple as that.

So you take your choice and you don't, in my opinion you just don't have a choice.

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