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Interview 02

Age at interview: 84
Age at diagnosis: 70
Brief Outline: Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosed in 1991 after finding a swollen lymph gland. Given oral chemotherapy then radiotherapy. Recurrence in 1994 treated with chemotherapy (CHOP). Second recurrence in 2005 treated with radiotherapy.
Background: Retired from Royal Navy, married with two adult children. Ethnic background: White British.

More about me...

He noticed a floating gland in his neck and presented it to his ENT specialist at a routine consultation about his hearing. A week later the specialist biopsied several lymph glands in his neck that proved he had a low grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After a series of further tests he was given a course of chemotherapy in the form of pills to take at home. This was followed by a course of radiotherapy to his neck and shoulder, five days a week for three weeks.

During remission he took part in a trial to see whether taking vitamin D could lengthen remission periods. He had to leave the trial when, after three years in remission, he developed urinary symptoms and his GP ordered tests that showed his liver had become infected. He was put on a course of chemotherapy called CHOP, which was administered intravenously every three weeks for nine months, after which he was in remission for ten years.

A second recurrence was indicated by palpable lymph nodes in his groin and he was given radiotherapy treatment. He received two low doses as part of a trial comparing this regimen with intensive high dose treatment over three weeks. At the time of interview he had just completed this treatment and he and his doctors were optimistic that it had worked.
 
 

Had an MRI scan of his head and neck for which he felt unprepared; he hated the noise and felt...

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Had an MRI scan of his head and neck for which he felt unprepared; he hated the noise and felt...

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And I forget what prompted them to say have an MRI scan, and precisely when it happened, a bit later on I think, but I went there, it was just another scan, but it wasn't, not by a long chalk. And until I actually got into the thing and it started I didn't know what it was going to do, I mean I had no idea I was going to have this shattering noise through my head. Which was their intention I think but I know it's doubtful which way to do it, yes, to inform the patient or not.

In terms of telling you what's going to happen or not telling you?

Yes to warn you about it.

So there was a very loud noise, what else was it like having this scan?

It was' it, for one thing it took much longer than I expected. You're eased into a tunnel in the machine that is very warm and not easy to breathe freely. And then your head is clamped, which again all adds up to the makings of claustrophobia. And then this very considerable noise starts, which went on in my case with a brief pause of about a minute in the middle for an hour and a quarter. And at the end of it all they have a series of pictures of one's brain which are quite remarkable. 
 

 

Talks about his experience of radiotherapy and having masks and lead shielding made to protect...

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Talks about his experience of radiotherapy and having masks and lead shielding made to protect...

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Tell me a bit more about your radiotherapy, what was it like having that?

The preliminaries are the thing' they made masks and things and they make lead deflectors and things to make sure that it's directional and that it doesn't spill over in the wrong places. That took quite a time actually just getting that right before we ever went down into the basement and to where all the works were. And once it started it was relatively quick, it was explained what was going to happen, the first time they did it, and the camera is brought down to the right position over you, all the staff retreat into their bunker and you're told that the thing's now starting and the red light comes on. You don't feel a thing. I was a bit concerned about the number of roentgens I was getting because I'd already been exposed in my Naval career, I'd been to megaton tests and ground bursts and things and got pretty close to it sometimes so, and incessant x-rays was all sort of building up a bit.
 

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