I Am Lucy O'Donnell, Author Of "Cancer Is My Teacher" - Ask Me Anything!



  • Lucy_ODonnellLucy_ODonnell Posts: 15 Cancer Wellness Expert
    Dear Lucy, I had a left breast mastectomy exactly 2 years ago following my cancer diagnosis. Although mentioned at the time nothing has been said or offered to me since. Is it too late or should I just be glad to be alive and accept my flat side which has healed well and continue with my life which includes regular gym sessions and caring for my disabled husband who unfortunately had an above knee amputation last year.  He doesn’t want me to have another operation as he says they all contain risk and how would we both cope when I am in hospital and recovering afterwards.
    Dear Angel Wings

    I am so sorry to hear that not only you have been going through such trauma but so has your husband too.
    You are absoutely entitield to a reconstruction if it is medically possible - (which it normally is) - so please get in touch with your GP, if that is what you want, and have a look at the options.  I have discovered that you have to be quite pushy in this world sometimes - so go for it!  After researching your options - you may find you do not want to have a reconstruction anyway.  But it is definitely not too late.  Your husband is right - that everything contains risk when it comes to surgery - but perhaps as I said, research your otpions - recovery times etc - and then make an "informed" decision.

    There are also places and charities that do 3D tatooing on the breast which some people like to have done. (Eek!)

    I am really really pleased that you go to the gym which obviously means you lead a healty lifestyle as much as possible - that is great.  Exercise, sleep and nutrition are key.

    I hope that this has helped and thank you for taking the time to write to me

    With love & light

  • Lucy_ODonnellLucy_ODonnell Posts: 15 Cancer Wellness Expert
    Dear Lucy,
    Thank you for giving of your time this evening. Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but will be ordering a copy straight after this.
    Can you please tell me who you have brought on board to help you with your overall care and treatment.  For example, do you have a nutritionist? naturopath? herbalist? Who, if anyone, gives you advice to help you maintain your health and wellbeing?

    Many thanks,
    Dear Cancer Fighter

    I am so happy that you will order my book - because I promise you, it will help in many ways - plus it is a quick and easy read and is just says it how it is.  No beating around the bush with complicated terms etc etc.

    So I have used many diffferent methods and therapies for my care and treatment.    I have a naturopath/nutritionist who is very experienced with cancer - he is London based.  And I do a lot of yoga and mediation.  Do you have a yoga class near you?  I have found that yoga and mediation have helped me no end to stay calm, focussed and strong.  I think holistiic therapies combined with conventional treatment is a winner.   And of course - enough sleep and exercise. There is such a lot to say on this subject of wellbeing that if youd like to contact me through my website www.cancerismyteacher.com I would be happy to help.

    Take the greatest of care

    With love & light

  • hessomhessom Posts: 115 Community Admin
    Firstly, a big thank you to @lucy_odonnell for providing such meaningful and helpful help! And to all of the Community members that posted their messages and contributed to the discussion tonight! We really have run out of time now but we'll be back soon with the next AMA in our series!
  • LouLou Posts: 2
    Thankyou Lucy 
    the fact you are do this Q and A and your diagnosis was 7 years ago is giving me encouragement 
    I have been advised the average prognosis is 3 years so my current aim is to see my daughters reach their 18th and 21st birthdays 🎂 they are 17 and 15
    I look forward to reading your book 
    many thanks 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 54
    edited January 2019
    Bev said:
    Hi Lucy
    I was diagnosed just before Christmas with Invasive Advanced Bladder Cancer, They have the MDT meeting about me tomorrow 10/01/19 I’m awaiting a date for a Radical Cystectomy.. my question is what am I likely to expect after surgery, also I’m petrified at the thought of having a Urostomy..will I have to change the type of clothes I wear? And do you think they would follow up with chemo?
    Any advice would be much appreciated, as I’m so scared 😧 of what to expect..
    Many thanks Bev
    Hi @Bev  
    Hope you don't mind a message out of the blue! I'm Emily, and I work for Live Better With (I write our blogs and run our Facebook accounts). I was reading through the Q&A and saw your comment about having a urostomy - I think I can offer you some useful info, as I did most of the research when we set up our Stoma Care range.

    First of all, my heart goes out to you at what must be a really scary time - I'm sure everything feels upside down, and I'm sending you all the positive vibes I can. Best of luck with your surgery and recovery - I hope you have some good support around you, but if not I hope we can offer some here.

    On to the info - there are some great bloggers out there who have had various 'ostomies', including urostomy - here are a couple of my favourites, but I'm sure you can find more if you have a search around!

    https://onebigexhale.wordpress.com/ great sense of humour, she calls her urostomy her 'wee bag'
    https://rocking2stomas.co.uk/actually living with a urostomy AND an ileostomy - she's fantastic
    https://www.securicaremedical.co.uk/blogthis company has a lot of stories from people with ostomies as well as ostomy nurses and experts

    These blogs are all full of little tips and tricks for living with an ostomy - and when you read them you might be surprised at how easy it can become to get on with your normal life, even with a urostomy bag. A lot of these bloggers are also active on Twitter and Facebook, so if you get in touch they might be able to give you some personal advice and reassurance.

    Also, you asked about clothing. Here is what I came across during my research for the Stoma Care range:

    - There is special underwear designed for people with an ostomy, and some of it is actually really pretty! My favourite brand is Vanilla Blush, as they always use real people with ostomies in their photography, and their designs are really fun. They even have designs you can wear in bed (their intimacy range - they have really thought of everything!). We actually stock them on our site, here: https://livebetterwith.com/search/?q=vanilla+blush 

    - The best clothing tip I saw over and over again is to get some high-waisted jeans, trousers, or skirts - and a lot of people wear maternity jeans! They have this stretchy band that covers your middle, which can help your bag to feel more secure, and they just look like normal jeans under a top. 

    - You can also get support bands that just go round your middle, which help to keep your bag in place and are totally invisible under clothing - they're available in every fabric and pattern under the sun, from frilly lace to diamante crystals (I really saw these on Pinterest!), but I'm sure you'll be able to find a more demure, plain option if you have a look around :)

    Hopefully this is a start towards making things a little easier for you while you're recovering and getting used to having a urostomy bag. Sending you all my very best wishes, Bev.

    Emily x
  • BevBev Posts: 8
    Hi Emily
    Thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch..I had some good News today from McMillan, my Cancer is confined to my Bladder, I feel like a heavy black cloud has been lifted.ill definitely check out the web sites you have given me, and thank you so much for info on clothing. It’s just so daunting..xxx 
    love Bev
  • RobertARobertA Posts: 874 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi Bev
    Whilst a cancer diagnosis is never great, I am so pleased to hear your good news. 

    Rob x 
This discussion has been closed.