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Interview 20

Age at interview: 72
Age at diagnosis: 70
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in 2001, followed by surgery and chemotherapy. After having had some chemotherapy he decided to try an alternative therapy, apricot seeds.
Background: Rigger (retired), married, 3 children

More about me...

 

By the time he was told that he had a terminal illness he was ready to accept it.

By the time he was told that he had a terminal illness he was ready to accept it.

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Well as I say I took, I thought I took it well but I did, I mean they did, during the time the months from when I started having the tests and all that I suppose during that time I, and up to that time I wasn't, I hadn't been told it was, it was terminal, that I had chance to sort of absorb it, accept it you know. 

So that by the time I knew that it was positive I was ready for it by then I wasn't ready for it the first time and if a doctor said, 'You've got a tumour' you know, no I wasn't ready for that one but, because I didn't, I hadn't felt ill or anything and I had no reason to believe I had got anything the matter like that, I just thought it was indigestion a rotten pizza.

 

He explains why he takes dried apricot seeds as an alternative therapy.

He explains why he takes dried apricot seeds as an alternative therapy.

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Can you tell me a bit more about why you're so convinced these [dried apricot seeds] are helping you? Some people might say it might have happened anyway.

Oh sure yeah. Well because after the seventh chemotherapy I went to see the specialist, the cancer specialist and she said... well, they scanned me and they said, 'Well your tumour's no smaller and it's no bigger so it looks as though we can control it and I suggest you have another course', and that's when I made up my mind I didn't want another course. I didn't want to do it so she said, 'Well come and see me again in three months' and every time I've been since she just says, 'We'll let well alone,' and now she doesn't want to see me for six months this time and my doctor was pretty much the same -  I mean she said, 'You know those things you're taking are poisonous don't you' so I said, 'I know they are but so is chemotherapy' and she said, 'Well you must be doing something right because you're still here'. 

The origin of the theory is that there is a tribe in the upper west Pakistan near the Himalayas called the Hunza people. A small tribe of people and one of their main diets is apricots because they help to grow them there and they've always eaten the seeds as well and they've... there's no cancer there. They've never had cancer and they live to considerable ages in spite of the fact that they live in a very harsh climate, and that's where the idea comes from and the chemical side of it, again I don't know, I'd have to refer to a book to tell you in detail, is that half of the, or part of the ingredient in the apricot seed, is cyanide. It's that and something else but the cyanide only splits if it meets cancer cells. If it meets a cancer cell it attacks it in your system in your blood stream, that's the theory, very very basically.

 

The nurse helped him apply for Attendance Allowance under Special Rules because he was not...

The nurse helped him apply for Attendance Allowance under Special Rules because he was not...

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Well the first thing was a Macmillan nurse is the one who sort of got the forms out [for Attendance Allowance] and all that and she more or less quoted that for me. Immediately you leave hospital. When you're diagnosed with a cancer like that you're put in touch with Macmillan's and with the local district nurse and they all phone up and find out if there is anything I need and how are things going to be... 

It's very good support you know, a very good support system. And then it was the Macmillan nurse who got the forms and put in for that and she more or less said, it's given when you've not got long to go and then the doctor said to me that I can have it 'I've got to write a letter and say that you're not expected to last more than six months' and it actually says it on the literature that it's a six month expectancy.

 

He has been busy preparing to sell the house so that they can buy a small cottage or bungalow.

He has been busy preparing to sell the house so that they can buy a small cottage or bungalow.

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I was just at the frame of mind as I say that I accepted it, you know that's it and started thinking about clearing the decks you know, selling this place.I immediately started work on doing all the jobs that needed doing so that we could sell this place and get a much smaller little bungalow or cottage. 

Somewhere where there wasn't the upkeep, you know, because this is a full time job for two people just to keep this garden and these houses maintained and you know I realised I wouldn't be able to do that for long so the thing was to get everything done that I could while I was fit so that then at least my wife could go and live near friends or her daughter if she was left alone.  

I couldn't imagine her staying down here on her own so all that I've been doing ever since is mending all the doors and windows but it's taken longer than I expected and of course some people suggest that it's that that's keeping me going and as soon as the job's done I'll keel over. 

Well the way that I explained to people when they ask about me taking these things they say, 'Well you know we didn't expect to see you still about, you know, you've done well', and I say well I was all ready to go but she said, 'no you're not my lad, don't you think you're sneaking off like that, leaving me with all this work."

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