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Rani - Interview 43

Age at interview: 61
Age at diagnosis: 57
Brief Outline: Rani was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia after feeling generally unwell and stressed by her work and family responsibilities. She has regular check-ups but has had no treatment.
Background: Rani is a home maker. She is divorced with one child. Ethnic background: British Asian.

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Rani was feeling not quite right and was struggling to keep up with her work and looking after her daughter and her sick mother, and consequently felt stressed. She developed a pain in her arm and one day couldn’t lift the kettle. She went to the GP and had a blood test. She was referred to the hospital for more blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy. She was told she had leukaemia and felt very frightened, fearing that she might not live to see her daughter grow up.
 
Rani attended the hospital once a month to start with and was told that she did not need treatment because her leukaemia was very slow growing, but she might do so in several years time. Her hospital check-ups gradually became less frequent and she now attends just once a year. She has had no treatment.
 
After her diagnosis Rani tried to find information about leukaemia and advice on how to manage her stress. She learned about complementary therapies and, with her doctor’s approval, changed her diet and started taking vitamin supplements and Echinacea to boost her immune system, as well as taking more exercise, yoga and chi gong in particular. She did visualisation and received healing and aromatherapy at a cancer resource centre, and had some counselling. Having leukaemia changed Rani’s outlook on life and she went on a course to become a healer, started meditating and studied Buddhism.
 

Rani attended a cancer support centre for aromatherapy, visualisation and healing. She feels that...

Rani attended a cancer support centre for aromatherapy, visualisation and healing. She feels that...

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Well I did some other things as well like going for healing at the Cancer Support Centre. And that was some experience in the sense that I was so anxious earlier on, and after half an hour of feeling… I opened my eyes feeling so calm, so relaxed, and I thought, “Gosh, how did this happen?” It just vanished out of me. And I remember coming back on the train wanting to hold on to that lovely feeling I had inside, feeling so relaxed, because for so many months I didn’t feel like that. And I thought, “This is really something great”. So I had more healing as well in the Cancer Support Centre. And another thing I got from them was aromatherapy.
 
Was that helpful? How did that help?
 
Very much. Because I was so tense in my body, all over tight feelings and knotted inside because of all the things I was coping with, all these emotions and fear, anger. I was very angry too those days. I don’t know with whom or what but I was angry inside. “Why did I have to get all this”, and “Why do I have to do all this?”, also. I was quite happily doing everything up till then. It’s just me not being able to cope I think. Then I went for visualisation at the Cancer Support Centre, which was great too.
 
Explain to me what happens when you go for visualisation, because this is something people…
 
Because it’s guided visualisation, the lady tells you that you shut your eyes, imagine you are in a place like this, very calm and beautiful like that, and it is just tapping out your own imagination to feel well within you. It’s feeding into your mind everything is OK, everything is better. And they did different kinds of visualisation, one with the moon and another with the sun, because the sun and the moon energies are working within us all the time it seems. The positive aspect is the sun and the feminine and negative aspect is the moon, the feminine and the masculine, we all have that. If you connect with that within you, you become a whole person. There are so many concepts behind these things. Because when you are emotionally shattered and sort of fragmented you are all over the place, not working as one unit. So the idea of healing means to become whole it seems, to become one, one harmonious unit. Illness is because your harmony and balance is scattered it seems. That’s the idea behind it.
 
You’ve been getting better, what would you put that down to? That’s great news.
 
Maybe it’s a combination of factors, all the things I did. All the echinacea and changing my diet or improving my diet, meditation, having more rest, doing the things I want to do, enjoying what I want to, getting more balance into my life, and visualisation. Another thing I went for counselling as well to talk through things that were worrying me, that helped a lot too, to clarify things. So all those things in combination perhaps. Yoga, meditation, doing more exercise, because I am very lazy when it comes to exercise, I used to be very lazy, but now I think it is important and try to do some every day, little bit, do one every day.
 

Before her CLL* diagnosis Rani’s energy levels had dropped and she found it difficult to cope...

Before her CLL* diagnosis Rani’s energy levels had dropped and she found it difficult to cope...

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About a year before I was diagnosed with leukaemia I was feeling down, under the weather, like, and not feeling quite all right. And I actually went to my GP and said, “I don’t have that energy which I used to have”. And he teased me about it and said, “Ah well, you’re getting older now, aren’t you?” But I knew something was not quite right inside me but could not pinpoint what it was and I felt my energy level had gone down. And I was not coping well.
 
What do you mean not coping? How did that manifest itself?
 
It was a bit of a struggle to get through well all the things I need to do and I had to put in so much effort. And there were times when I felt “Oh no, do I have to do this?” Like that, you know, sort of not quite up to it, that feeling I had.
 
So what did you do next?
 
Well then of course I was still at that time looking after my mother as well, and her condition got worse and worse. She had a minor stroke and then in August she had a big heavy one and she needed quite a bit of help to go up the stairs. And I remember one day she went, there was only one more step for her to do and she just refused, I’m not sure if she lost courage or she felt she couldn’t do it any more, and I had to literally pull her up, and she’s heavier than me and it took, it was hard work, and she needed so much care and constant attention, what with looking after my daughter and doing all the things. And I felt very irritable I should think. I was getting cross with everybody too. I was just trying to do so many things at the same time, getting cross with my mother as well.
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