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Loving life again

Faced with cervical cancer for the second time, Lucy had a urostomy to give her the very best chance of surviving. Now thriving, she’s sharing her story to show that having a urinary diversion doesn’t need to stop you embracing the life you want to live.

About the author

My name is Lucy Curran and I live in Warrington, Cheshire. Having come through cancer and major surgery in my 20s, I’m enjoying life again and feeling positive about the future. I want others to know that having a urinary diversion early on in life doesn’t have to hold you back – far from it!

My story

My journey to where I am today, living with a urostomy at just 30 years old, began three years back, when I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Little did I know this wouldn’t be the first time I’d hear the words “You’ve got cancer”, or that I’d need life-changing surgery at such a young age.

It was 2021 when I first noticed that I was bleeding between periods, but I put it down to not taking my contraceptive pill properly – until it happened again. I knew it was important to see a GP, but the country being in lockdown made that easier said than done. Another month went by before I booked the smear test that would ultimately turn my world upside down.

Even if, like me, you suspect it, nothing can quite prepare you for hearing you have cancer, let alone that it’s already spread to surrounding tissue. I still remember the ripples of fear that went through me, as well as how hard it was telling my family and friends.

Treatment was seven weeks of chemo and radiotherapy, but I was unable to have the internal radiation I needed – the risk of perforating my womb being too high. So, even after getting the ‘all clear’ 12 weeks later, I couldn’t shake the sinking feeling that the cancer would return.

Devastating blow

I did try to follow the hospital’s advice to get on with life as normal, but if only! Treatment had thrown me straight into early menopause, and it felt like a whirlwind as I searched in vain for advice while grappling with the crushing reality that I wouldn’t be able to have the family I’d always planned. On top of this, I was struggling to get HRT for my menopausal symptoms. It shocked me just how hard it was to be heard.

Even worse, just 11 months after being declared cancer free, I noticed symptoms returning. My fears were confirmed, and hearing the cancer had come back felt so much harder on me and my family second time around.

Chemo wouldn’t cure me, only prolong my life, so when I was offered surgery to remove my bladder and create a urostomy, it was the hope we all desperately needed. There were good and bad days as I recovered from such a major operation, but adapting to my stoma bag got easier once I was home.

Life with ‘Pam’

Life with my pee pouch ‘Pam’ is second nature now.

I’m embracing life again, working as a Finance Manager and enjoying walks with my dog Barney, as well as holidays and nights out with friends. I still like getting dressed up. Sometimes there’s a slight bulge where my bag is if I’m wearing close-fitting clothes. I’m relaxed about it though. I worry about leaks, but I don’t let that hold me back either. And on the plus side, there’s no more queuing for the loo at festivals!

By sharing my story here and via my Instagram account @kickingcancerinthecrotch, I want to spread awareness and hope. If I can help even one person, it would mean the world to me.