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Interview 26

Age at interview: 39
Age at diagnosis: 36
Brief Outline: Testicular cancer diagnosed in 1998; orchidectomy. No secondary tumours, but radiotherapy 5 times a week for 4 weeks to prevent recurrence.
Background: Postal worker; married, 1 child.

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Explains that his wife insisted that he consult the GP, after seeing a TV programme, because his...

Explains that his wife insisted that he consult the GP, after seeing a TV programme, because his...

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As I said it was in 1998 and the wife had been watching a daytime TV programme and on the programme they actually showed you what to look for in testicular cancer. And the wife was getting a bit worried, because one of the testicles was really hard and the other one was what we call normal, you know it was soft. And she said it was hard and that and she insisted I go up to the doctor because she's actually seen it on the TV. So that's how I found out that I actually had the cancer.

Did the GP then examine you?

Yes, the GP examined me and he referred me to the local hospital, so I turned up at the local hospital on a Friday and was taken in on the Monday for the operation.  


 
 

Explains that he delayed seeking help because of fear of cancer.

Explains that he delayed seeking help because of fear of cancer.

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I was told that my mum was alright and I thought to myself well I was told she's alright, now if they tell me I'm alright and then something happens to me you know I've got a young son as well. And I was thinking you know they told her she was alright for months and she wasn't, she was getting worse and worse day-by-day. And I was frightened that that's going to be me. I didn't want to lay there like my mum was. I mean I was feeding my mother and you know we were washing her and she couldn't do anything for herself in the end and I thought well that's not for me.

So it was really fear of going to the doctor? 

Yeah it was fear of actually finding out that you have got it. You know although they say yes it can be cured and all this it doesn't give you much, it didn't give me much faith because like my mum underwent treatment and operations and radiotherapy and everything else and they said, "Right she's clear." Well if they said to me I was clear and it comes back I wouldn't have been a happy bloke.

So it was really fear of being told?

It was fear of being told it's spreading. I think that was the thing I was actually scared of the most to be told that it is spreading. But I mean I'm lucky it never so, because the wife caught it in time.
 
 

Recalls that he and his wife found the tape recording of the consultation and the information...

Recalls that he and his wife found the tape recording of the consultation and the information...

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Oh they give me loads of information and when I had my first appointment, when I was chattering to the specialist we was actually in a room and they were taping everything that was said so that if you do have any questions you know they give you the tape. You take it home and you can sit and listen to it, they give you all this advice on there. But you know when you go in, I mean as I say when I got diagnosed with it and I was thinking, 'Well that's it', you know, there's nothing I can do, but the wife wanted the tape as well so that she could listen and she was asking more questions than what I would of because I'm just the one to say "Right okay I've got it so they'll have to cut it out." But she wanted to listen to the tape because it gives you a lot more information from the actual cancer treatment clinic. You know they give you booklets and this audio tape which they give you, I mean it helped the wife a lot because there's questions in there that she'd asked, you know asked me when I got home which I wouldn't have asked. But then she come down to the hospital and say "Right I'm coming with you," and she'd go in there and say "Right I wanted to know this, I wanted to know that," and they are really helpful down there.
 
 

Explains that he did not want to go to sleep for the operation so had an epidural anaesthetic.

Explains that he did not want to go to sleep for the operation so had an epidural anaesthetic.

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Well the day I got into the hospital they had to shave me and all this. The wife was there with me all the time, but I have this fear of being put to sleep so I actually stayed awake through the whole operation. You know and I was laughing and joking about with the doctors, I didn't feel a thing. I mean they just said you know "It's gone, off you go." And that was it.

You had an epidural?

Yeah I had an epidural, which I couldn't actually walk with because it makes your legs go like all jelly, you're all numb down below. And I wanted to go outside and they said "You can go outside when you can stand up," but I couldn't stand up, they was pushing me around in the wheelchair. But as I say I have this fear of being put to sleep and so I wouldn't have it. I mean I said "If you want to take it out you can but I will have to stay awake because I", you know so that was it. I stayed awake and I still had to go to a recovery room for an hour after the operation. And I mean the operation I think took altogether about 40 minutes. It didn't take that long at all which surprised me.
 
 

Describes a burn mark he suffered temporarily as the result of radiotherapy.

Describes a burn mark he suffered temporarily as the result of radiotherapy.

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And the only thing it done it left like er an oblong iron mark, a burn mark on my back, which has now gone but it's like all through the radiotherapy. Because I had 20 sessions of it, which was 4 weeks you know, it's just like a Monday to Friday job. But it actually leaves like where you're laid on the plate, with the radiotherapy going through you it left like a square oblong mark along my back which stayed there all through the summer as well. So it just looked like I had an odd suntan. But apart from that I mean I never felt sick once. They give you these tablets and they said you know "Take these tablets if you feel sick after the radiotherapy." Well I never felt nothing, it was just a case of taking your shirt off, laying on the table and letting the machine do the work. And that was it, you don't feel nothing, you just sit there and you basically get bored for 20 minutes.

So this burn mark did go after the first summer?

Yeah after the first summer it had gone. I mean I, through the summer I'm always walking about with no shirt on anyway so I think like where I caught the sun as well on top of this and it's all merged in so now you wouldn't even know it was there.
 
 

Recalls that he and his wife found the tape recording of the consultation and the information...

Recalls that he and his wife found the tape recording of the consultation and the information...

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Oh they give me loads of information and when I had my first appointment, when I was chattering to the specialist we was actually in a room and they were taping everything that was said so that if you do have any questions you know they give you the tape. You take it home and you can sit and listen to it, they give you all this advice on there. But you know when you go in, I mean as I say when I got diagnosed with it and I was thinking, 'Well that's it', you know, there's nothing I can do, but the wife wanted the tape as well so that she could listen and she was asking more questions than what I would of because I'm just the one to say "Right okay I've got it so they'll have to cut it out." But she wanted to listen to the tape because it gives you a lot more information from the actual cancer treatment clinic. You know they give you booklets and this audio tape which they give you, I mean it helped the wife a lot because there's questions in there that she'd asked, you know asked me when I got home which I wouldn't have asked. But then she come down to the hospital and say "Right I'm coming with you," and she'd go in there and say "Right I wanted to know this, I wanted to know that," and they are really helpful down there.

 

Describes the long drawn out process during his follow up appointments at the clinic.

Describes the long drawn out process during his follow up appointments at the clinic.

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It's just like as I say I have to keep going up to the hospital every 6 months but that's the only drawback because it costs me a day of no sleep if you like. Because by the time you get up to the hospital you have to queue up to wait for your blood test, and then you have to go to another department for your x-rays, but in between time you've got to fit in the specialist so you can't see the specialist until you've actually had your blood and your x-rays because you have to take your x-rays down to him and it's just such a long drawn out process. Although it's only once every 6 months but if, because I work nights, I go straight from work and then after spending all day at the hospital you know then you come home and you're tired, then you've got to go to work.
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