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Interview 07

Age at interview: 82
Age at diagnosis: 64
Brief Outline: Breast cancer diagnosed in 1985 followed by lumpectomy and then mastectomy. In 1987 cancer was diagnosed in other breast, followed by lumpectomy. In 2002 metastases were found in liver, lungs and bones.
Background: Ex-captain in the war office, housewife, married, three children,

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She has stopped worrying about whether or not there is a God and accepts the situation.

She has stopped worrying about whether or not there is a God and accepts the situation.

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Do you think it helps people if they've got a particular philosophy of life or particular religious views at this stage of life or doesn't it matter?

I don't think it's essential, but I think for people for whom it is very real it obviously is a great help. I think I made up my mind when I was in my late fifties that I would try and decide by the time I was 60 whether I really believed in God or not and that if I didn't I would then give up trying and forget and stop worrying about it, which is what I have done, and so now I aim just to accept what comes.

So you're not the kind of person that thinks there's something going to happen after this life?

I've got a very open mind about it. There may be. 

But you're open-minded?

Yes.  
 
 

She advises people to write reminiscences of early years and to sort out papers, but not to worry.

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She advises people to write reminiscences of early years and to sort out papers, but not to worry.

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What other sorts of decisions would you say people need to be thinking of when they reach this point in their lives?

Well, if they haven't already done it, there are things like wills and taxes, putting their papers into tidy order which I continually try to do and never get to the end of. But above all, don't worry. It does no good, and someone else will do anything important. Don't throw everything away too soon. Photos, letters, postcards, all bring back happy memories. Puzzles, board games, playing cards, help pass the time. Writing reminiscences of early years with lots of detail, provides fascinating reading for younger people.

It's a big job, isn't it?

Yes. What else? I think getting one's address list in order, that kind of thing, because people, family will have to find... to get hold of, you know. Much easier for me to do it than for them. Any preparations one can make that will make life easier for them and the more complicated your will, the more important it is.

So have you had to ask people for help with that or have you done most of that on your own?

Anything that's been done, I've done on my own. But it hasn't all been done yet.

There's still more to do, is there?

Lots more to do, I think.

 

She decided to stay at home as long as possible.

She decided to stay at home as long as possible.

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What kind of care do you think you'll be given in the immediate future?

Well, I've been told that, if I need it, they will keep me here [at home] as long as they can, or as long as I want to stay. And unless I become, oh impossible one way or another, mentally or physically, I intend to stay here.  

And then, if there's room in a cancer place, they'll put me there and otherwise they'll put me in a ward in a hospital until there is room, so they'll find something, somewhere to put me.

And how do you feel about those kind of arrangements?

Well, I think they're the best one could expect in the circumstances. That's OK.

Yes.Yes. And your daughters, how do they feel about them?

Well, that's OK too and I will make the decisions as long as I'm capable and if I'm not, they will. 
 
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