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Confidence, Catheters, Clothes and cancer

Just over 4 years ago I was what you might call a “complete” woman.

Now, in the summer of 2014, I have had various bits of me taken away and some others added!

First of all I had a mastectomy and also some bone cement put in my vertebrae

Then there was a bit of a break until I had an Oopherectomy to remove my ovaries.

I developed Lymphodema  – not in the arm as can happen with breast surgery  – but in my left leg which goes through periods of being swollen and uncomfortable. For this I use a special taping method called “kineseotape” or I have a tight stocking on the leg.

When I got very poorly late last year with kidney and liver problems I gained a catheter to measure the amount of liquid that was going in and out of me and to make sure that my bladder was always draining.

Me Uncovered


All of these things mean that I have to consider what I am wearing!

I was lucky and just adapted to not wearing the  skinny jeans with t-shirts that  I had got used to with my anti-cancer diet.  (I was and still am a constant size 10 (UK)

However from conversations with  my nurses I am aware that this is not the case for everyone. So I want to show you what goes on under the clothes and what clothes I wear to distract the eye from my “additions”.

Recently I was talking to a lady called Kat, who was waxing my legs, about this post and she mentioned that her Mum wears a Stoma due to Crohns Disease. As a consequence she was wearing baggy unflattering clothes that were several sizes too big for her. Kat decided to take her Mum shopping and make her realise that she didn’t need to be “baggy” any more. And now her Mum has the confidence to wear stylish outfits that fit her properly.

I’m hoping that this post might give more catheter wearers the confidence to try other outfits than the baggy ones!

After talking with various nurses I realised that maybe not everyone deals with these challenges quite as I have done. So I thought I would “bare all” so to speak and show you what goes on with my wardrobe.

I think the general rule of thumb is to wear figure fitting clothes on top or bottom with something flowing for the other. So for instance there is a photo of me wearing Jeggings with a Flowery flowing crepe top or my ¾ length white trousers with a figure hugging white and blue top. The theme is mirrored in the various outfits you can see below.

When I get dressed in the morning I like to feel comfortable, bright and hopefully stylish!

(Click images to view larger)

So, for me that has meant bright colours and fairly smart – which makes me feel confident.

Several years ago I had my colours “done” by a friend who was working for “House of Colour” and low and behold (and as I had always felt) Black wasn’t the colour for me, for me black is draining

I am a “cool summer”! Lots of lovely Sweetpea colours for me!

Ironically at the age of 40 its probably easier for me to get dressed now that I have all these “restrictions” as the outfits are clear to me in their combinations.

(Click images to view larger)

Even though I had  a few “challenges” when getting dressed I quickly adapted my wardrobe to deal with this and can safely say it’s actually easier to get dressed and feel confident now.

So that’s why I asked my husband to take a few pictures of the outfits I wear.

(Click images to view larger)

I’m really grateful to the talented professional photographer Lyndsey James http://www.lyndsey-james.co.uk/   http://www.photocraft.org/running-inspiration/  for hints and tips as David is more used to photographing wildlife! Also thank you to my gorgeous, talented friend Nicola http://mrswisesturt.com/ for helping me out with the graphics on this post.

Kineseotape for Lymphadema http://www.kinesiotaping.co.uk/lymphoedema/whatislymphoedema.jsp

Any comments or more tips? Post them below and lets help more people


2 Responses to “Confidence, Catheters, Clothes and cancer”
  1. Hayley Conway says:

    What a briliant post. I think all women have issues with finding just the right outfits to cover up or distract from areas of their bodies that they don’t feel so confident about. I always think that fs you feel comfortable and confident in what you are wearing it also has an effect on your mood and frame of mind too.

    Lots of love

    H xx

  2. Rose Morris says:

    Verity, you are brilliant! I love this and all the great advice you give. You look lovely as you always have done since we first met, so your body may have changed but your sense of style along with your determination is as strong as ever

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