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Interview 128

Age at interview: 44
Age at diagnosis: 36
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in 1998 after losing weight and finding a lump in her neck. Treatment was chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy to her chest, which put her into remission.
Background: School learning mentor, divorced with three children aged 16, 14 and 9. Ethnic Background: White British.

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In 1998 she felt a lump in her neck; she had also lost about three stones in weight. She went to her GP who suggested she use her private health insurance to obtain an urgent appointment with a specialist. The next day she saw the specialist, who found lumps in her chest and arranged for a biopsy to be done. This proved that she had Hodgkin's disease and she was really taken aback by the diagnosis.
 
She was treated with chemotherapy (ABVD) fortnightly for 12 sessions. After a gap this was followed by radiotherapy to her chest five days a week for a month. This put her into remission and she has since attended regular follow up appointments, which have now become annual.
 
A year after her diagnosis she felt pains in her chest and bones and panicked that the cancer had returned, but was reassured after being shown that her chest x-rays were completely clear. After it was all over she decided to go for counselling to try to come to terms with having been through a life-threatening experience because she felt it had 'knocked her off her feet'. Seven years later she is still in remission.

 

 

Surviving Hodgkin’s lymphoma gave her the confidence to do an arts degree, which was something...

Surviving Hodgkin’s lymphoma gave her the confidence to do an arts degree, which was something...

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And I did go back in the April after the radiotherapy had finished, but I stayed about a month and I thought, “No I don’t”, in that respect I didn’t want to do that anymore. Yeah that’s it, I did think about, saying that it didn’t change my life, it sort of, I started doing things that I’d always said I wanted to do but never did. I took myself off to college and I did an access course to art and design because I’d always wanted to do something arty when I was younger and never did, messed up my education, just sort of came out of school with five O-levels and went straight to work. And I suppose I wanted, yeah I did, I wanted to go to art college at the time, but this prompted me to do something about it and went to college, did an access course and I was greatly encouraged to apply to university. 
 
So I did and got into two. I got into one university to do a degree, a BA in, what was it now? It was to do, I can’t remember, some kind of arts and furnishings and things. It was a really interesting course but the unfortunate thing was it was up in London and it was at least three full days a week, and with having the children it was difficult to do. So I opted for another university and did an applied arts degree, but I only completed one year because of sort of constraints, family and what have you. But hopefully one day I will go back to it. 
 
But, yeah, I suppose in that respect it’s given me more confidence to a degree. I will do things now that I didn’t, I was a bit sort of sheepish with, let’s say, a little while ago, so in that respect, yes. And even my job now I think I’m doing because I’m slightly more confident. I work in a school, I work with kids and I thoroughly enjoy it, I think it’s one of the best jobs I’ve done. So yeah, so I think my confidence has grown through the experience. 

 

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