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Interview 41

Age at interview: 58
Age at diagnosis: 49
Brief Outline: Ovarian cancer diagnosed in 1993 after requesting a health check (no symptoms experienced). Treated with hysterectomy then chemotherapy. Recurrence after 10 years treated with chemotherapy.
Background: Retired keep fit instructor, married, two adult children.

More about me...

 

She was very upset when the Macmillan nurse was called into the room.

She was very upset when the Macmillan nurse was called into the room.

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I had an appointment within two weeks.  Went there and saw the gynaecologist who took a biopsy, examined me, had a scan, a quite intensive... the ultrasound, quite intensive, longer than I've had before. Went in and saw him and he said, 'Well' he said, 'Come, get dressed come in and we'll talk about it and we'll ask your husband to come in' and I said, 'Well don't frighten him', you know, I said 'But he's been out there a long time'. [He] came in and more or less, almost patronisingly, called a, brought in a Macmillan nurse, which immediately put my back up because I remember when Macmillan nurses were only brought in at the last minute.  

Obviously it's all different now, but this was it and he said, 'You've got a tumour there' and he said, 'We're not sure what, if it's the same tumour (or whatever), but it's clinging to (whatever)'  he said, 'We're going to take another scan and see' he said 'But the ultrasound shows the liver is clear but we don't know where else it is,' and they painted a very grim picture. I mean I came out of there not... I didn't even think I would get home. I must admit he was charming, he was lovely, but I think it was too patronising because it really... I was so upset. I was just stunned, absolutely. I mean I was stunned last time, learning about cancer.
 
 

She explains what visualisation involves.

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She explains what visualisation involves.

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Have you tried any complementary therapies up till now?

No. The only ones I've had... my friend has healing hands and when I go up to London she'll heal, you know, we sit there and the heat... I could feel the heat from her hands on my stomach and she says she feels the tingling and she gets it back and that very much relaxes me. I have massage, I have reflexology. 

We do each other so that I have that on but I haven't actually tried any of the other complementary things but I very much believe in it and I will be trying a lot more.

Would you like to explain a bit more about the visualisation? What do you visualise?

You actually relax first. You relax completely and you try to visualise a white light. Now I look at the sun I can actually look at the sun and get that sort of white light in your eyes, which is not good for your eyes but I can sort of get that and I can hold that in, and I find that for me is the best way, and it's hovering over your head or hovering here in front of your eyes and then you sort of take that in and you either try and visualise it as a light or something good.Now I could visualise it as a white blood cell or the neutrophils, that's what I can picture. I mean I've got the picture in my anatomy book, and that's what's going in  and that's what's going to cleanse my body. So I used to try and picture it as these white blood cells and take them in and my husband would go over, relate it with me and we would go through the brain and through the arms and then go right through and into the stomach and attack there.  

 

Says that it is good to talk to someone who has been through the same experience.

Says that it is good to talk to someone who has been through the same experience.

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Talking about it has been fantastic, talking to other people. In fact I learned that years and years ago when I was first running my over 50s class. I remember one of the ladies being one of the first persons I remember who'd found her own lump on her breast. She went through chemo and radiology at that time, and it was months, months later that I discovered that I had this, the cancer, and she said to me '[name] If you want to talk, I'm on the phone' she said, 'You will bore your family to tears, but if you want to talk, phone, because I've been through it, I know, I'm the one to talk to, not them' and I can't... I must say that's the best thing that was ever said to me. 

I've known several ladies since, in my classes, obviously they've all, we've discovered they've got cancer and I've always said to them, 'I'm on the end of the phone, I've been through it, I'm okay, I'm still here, phone me and we'll talk', and I've had some wonderful conversations. It's fantastic. It's good to talk. 

So if somebody's willing to listen, let them listen, just talk it out because it clears the head. It clears it all and it's amazing how many people have known people with it or have been through it and may have the same symptoms. So again this is why this video and site is so remarkable.

 

She wants to leave parts of her body for research or exhibition, and have her ashes put in the...

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She wants to leave parts of her body for research or exhibition, and have her ashes put in the...

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The other thing is I want to find out what to do with my body because I wanted to leave it. I have actually left it in my Will to anatomy, to go to be recycled, rather. I'd much rather my body's used for somebody to experiment with or fine but they won't... I don't think they want it with it's disease and especially if it's malignant, so now I have to find out if there is any other way that I can dispose of it that way. 

The oncologist said they may want, may be able to use some of my body tissues for Imperial Cancer so I've got to follow that up, and the other thing which most people are laughing at me, I went to see the Body Works where they do the plastinisation - now that appeals to me. I feel I would like to leave it to that, but I've got to ask my kids what they feel like first, I mean they've got to live with it haven't they? So that's something, and my husband.  

It's something that's not going to cause any problem. It's got to be easy for them because obviously it's going to be a sad time so I hope... I shall go into this during my next chemo, when I've got time, and see if I can come up with something. If not, it's where my kids want to bury me and whether it's helpful or whether it's cremated.  

They suggested I did a parachute jump and I want to do another one but they will cremate me and put my ashes in an urn and have the plane come over the end of the [town] pier and they'll drop me off into the sea, but I would like to be with the dolphins, so I don't know, I don't know what's going to happen, we'll see what happens at the time.

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