Age at interview: 45
Carol (45 years old) is married and has four young children. She is on sick leave from her work as a high school teacher in her local community.
Carol received her diagnoses in 2014. Carol used to check her breasts about every month. When she found a lump one day she went to the emergency department as she didn’t have her own doctor. She was referred to have a mammogram which she did right away and then went on a holiday. As soon as she came back she was contacted to get further testing done. During the weeks that she waited to book her appointments for the tests, she found a family doctor who advised her to go private if she wished to be tested faster. Carol was anxious about the long waiting times and decided to visit the private clinic suggested by her doctor. Within a week she had a biopsy, the test results and surgery (lumpectomy) to remove the cancer. The quick response via private care made an enormous difference for Carol as it reduced her fear regarding the chances of any further growth of the tumour. Carol went on sick leave from work as soon as she received the diagnosis. She is now trying to manage the chemotherapy and its side effects as well as care for her four young children. Lacking the energy to do the things that she is used to do is difficult for Carol. However, she tries to count her blessings rather than to dwell on the fact that she is going through chemotherapy to be followed by radiation as well. The fact that Carol has been told that she will be followed closely for another 10 years after the chemo worries her. She wants to stay around much longer to see her children grow up and make sure that they are well. Carol is part of a close community and has received great support from her friends, family and neighbours. She receives cooked meals for the family about twice a week and these gestures have made a huge difference for her. Learning from the experiences of friends who had gone through similar experiences with breast cancer was another useful source of support for Carol.
- Chemotherapy – CarolCarol felt very sick after the first chemotherapy, so the nurses advised her to take the anti-nausea medication for the next round.
- Chimiothérapie – CarolCarol a été très malade après son premier traitement de chimiothérapie. Les infirmières lui ont alors conseillé de prendre les médicaments contre la nausée pour le second traitement.
- Finding and sharing information – CarolCarol stopped searching on the Internet as she found the range of information too wide.
- Understanding the diagnosis – CarolCarol describes how medical breast cancer knowledge has increased but she is not fully reassured; there is still this knowing in her head that it could possible come back.
- Talking to children about cancer – CarolCarol has four children (between 6 and 11 years old). But it was her oldest daughter who was most aware of the possibility of dying.
- Physical activity and diet changes – CarolCarol sometimes found it hard to maintain a healthy diet, especially with kids and while feeling tired.
- Follow-up care and the risk of recurrence – CarolCarol had been told that she would be closely watched for 10 years. She felt this was a long time to live in a state of fearfulness.
- How it affects family and friends – CarolIt is not a big deal for Carol to go out in her local community.