Jewish Health

Goldie - Interview 6

Age at interview: 80

Brief outline: Goldie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, which was successfully treated. Five years later she was diagnosed with lymphoedema, which she manages with a combination of exercise and arm sleeves. She has since had a knee replacement.

Background: Goldie is married, retired and had 3 children. Ethnic background/nationality: mother Russian/Lithuanian, father Russian/Scottish

Audio & video

Goldie was diagnosed with breast cancer thirty years ago in 1989 and remembers a childhood with ‘ghastly stomach pains’. The breast cancer was treated successfully with radiation but five years later after swelling in one arm, Goldie was diagnosed with lymphoedema. After some unsuccessful treatment locally, Goldie was referred to hospital where she was taught to exercise daily and wear an arm sleeve and glove. Goldie manages the lymphoedema well with these two treatments and has the support of a very good lymphoedema nurse. In the past ten years Goldie has had a knee replacement and is now registered as disabled.
Goldie thinks her positive attitude has helped her to deal with her health issues. She was brought up by parents who thought women should be educated to the same level as men, which was unusual for the time. She has trusted the health professionals who have treated her and taken the approach of not looking for additional information. While Goldie has not had genetic screening she would like to know the cause of the breast cancer.

Both Goldie and her husband have become less observant of Jewish practices over the years. Goldie continues to keep the dietary laws more or less. She doesn’t have a kosher butcher, for example, but does not eat treif (non-kosher food) or mix milk and meat at home. Her husband is now against any form of organised religion. Goldie feels that being Jewish is an important part of her identity racially rather than religiously and will have a Jewish burial in the family plot in Golders Green.  


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