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Interview 14

Age at interview: 59
Age at diagnosis: 57
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with prostate cancer with metastases in 2001. Treated with hormone treatment, and radiotherapy and is about to start a clinical trial.
Background: Actor, married, 4 children

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His illness has helped his family come to terms with his eventual death.

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His illness has helped his family come to terms with his eventual death.

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Before we finish is there anything you would like to add that we've not covered that you think is important?

Oh gosh. As you said it's been so wide-ranging hasn't it. No, I don't know. I just hope that anybody who is watching this and who is feeling depressed and down... that there are worse ways to be... there are worse ways to go... there are worse things to happen to people.

That there are positive things from this and that. Well, I mean, coming to terms with it and being able to deal with my wife and my family and my children. If I were run over by a bus tomorrow then that would be a terrible thing and an awful shock and suddenly to have to come to terms with that for my family would be awful. And an awful lot of people have to do that. Well, now they've come to terms kind of with what's happening to me now and they can see and hear that I'm well and healthy and positive and still performing, still working and... yeah fine. If I were run over by a bus tomorrow it wouldn't make any difference because they're already prepared themselves, you know?

I kind of guess I'd rather not be run over by a bus, its just a bit messy and uncomfortable. So, you know, maybe a quiet, gentle... mind you, was it Dylan Thomas? “Do not go gentle into this night of rage. Rage, rage, rage against the storm...”  Well I'm kind of raging in my own little way... But I'm also trying to make the most of it.

But you don't seem as if you're raging at all really?

It's... no.... I'm not. I mean the rage... that sort of rage is counter productive and I wish to be positive and I wish to enjoy. 

I don't want to rage particularly, no, no. I still want to drink good beer and fine wines and enjoy good meals and travel to see places I've never seen if I can possibly do it. If I can afford it, and if I can... and if I'm healthy enough to do it.

 

Explains that he would not like to ask the State for anything and that he loathes bureaucracy.

Explains that he would not like to ask the State for anything and that he loathes bureaucracy.

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Do you feel in the situation you're in now you've got everything you need? If you think of it from really practical things like financial advice to the other end of the spectrum, what, we talked about emotional support, you're getting that from your family, but there are really practical things like Disabled Living Allowance and things like that. Have you come across all those kind of things?

I don't think I would be eligible.

Don't you think so?

I'm not disabled. Well I'm registered disabled in terms of... because of my back but I don't think I'm eligible for any living allowance. So...

So -

And I wouldn't want... listen if I... I am OK. I don't have wealth and riches but I don't go hungry.

No.

I have never asked the State for it even when I've been unemployed - which hasn't been very long - but I've never asked the State for anything. That's not the way I go.

So thinking -

If I had to I would but... I loathe to the bottom of my boots bureaucracy and that, now that really would make me feel ill.  

 

He wants to die at home in the peace and comfort of his own surroundings.

He wants to die at home in the peace and comfort of his own surroundings.

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You talked to your wife. When you get to need more care she's saying, and you're saying you'd like to stay at home and she will look after you as much as she can?

Yes.

That's good. So if... do you think there could come a point though where you might need to go into some sort of nursing care?

I don't know. Again I don't know from the doctors what is likely to happen apart from they say I will just get weaker and weaker and as more pain occurs in the bones then I will be given more painkiller. Eventually that painkiller I suspect will be Diamorphine and from 2 milligrams, you get to 4 milligrams, from 4 milligrams you get to 6 milligrams, from 6 milligrams to 8 milligrams and whatever it is to take, keep me out of pain.

But I don't see why that can't be administered within the comfort of my own surroundings. I don't know that there is anything else that they would want to do to me. If they start wanting to do things to me, no I don't want to be messed around with.  

If I am feeling enfeebled and sick and uninterested I am not interested in being messed around with either

 

Suggests that people celebrate the life they have had and accept that it will ultimately end.

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Suggests that people celebrate the life they have had and accept that it will ultimately end.

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Yes. Assess your own lives. Assess your life and what has been. Oh, the meaning of life I mean but not in, the meaning of your life. What is it your life has been and its all the positive things. All the times that you've enjoyed. 

Life is a mixture of all sorts of things. There are sad moments and there are moments when things have gone wrong and there are things when you can be upset and angry about things, but find the positives. And rejoice in those positives and rejoice in the life that you've had. Celebrate the life that you've had and come to terms with the fact that it will ultimately end. The only difference is that you now know and some people... well it comes to an end and they don't know about it. And I don't know which is worse. 

 

He has made a will and made suggestions for his funeral.

He has made a will and made suggestions for his funeral.

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What other decisions do you need to think about?

Oh well, obviously making the Will. Making sure that there is tax efficient provision for my wife and for my children and that everything is set in such a way that unlike my mother whose father's Will took eighteen years to go through probate - which is extraordinary. No I don't want any of that nonsense. Its just going to be very simple, straightforward and no arguments and this is what it will be. 

And I've also talked with my children about that, what my wishes are. My younger brother is my executor. I've told him what my wishes are. Yeah. So. I've also suggested something about the funeral arrangements. Personally I'm quite happy to be charred in the oven and flushed down the loo. I think maybe something more appropriate has to be done about that in terms of a memorial service and maybe somebody will want to say something and I've suggested who might want to make a eulogy. That sort of thing, yeah, practical things.

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