Thursday, February 12, 2015

A NEWBRIDGE man is sharing the story of his fight against cancer as part of a new story telling forum for cancer patients.

Lorcán O’Rourke is one of the first contributors to a new online forum for cancer patients in Ireland which invites people to share their stories in order to help others cope with the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process.
Called the Lazarus Community Forum, it is a unique way for cancer patients to express their thoughts and feelings on their condition.
Writing on the forum Lorcán tells about his battle with bladder and prostate cancer using the lyrics of the song Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life as his inspiration. As part of treatment his bladder and prostrate had to be removed.

“Early diagnosis was vital in treating the cancer and in my outlook. I always looked on the bright side of life, head up, living as normal – gardening, parish activities, attending meetings and matches – without any undue worries about what might happen in the future. My belief was in the Lord’s plan for me; I would do my best to cope with the consequences,” said Lorcán.
The Lazarus Community Forum is the brainchild of Frank Russell from Blanchardstown, Dublin.  A former Air Corps Comdt and retired Inspector of Air Accidents he has been diagnosed and treated for cancer twice. In 1998 he was diagnosed with neck cancer and at the time he was given two years to live. Then in 2007 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer but again it was treated successfully.
“Telling their stories on the Lazarus Community Forum can be a powerful way for cancer patients to express their thoughts and feelings on their condition both for themselves and, importantly, for those more recent patients.” he says. Currently there are stories posted from cancer patients in Kildare, Dublin, Wicklow, Roscommon and Tipperary.
The Forum can be found at http://cancersupport.ie which is the website of Cancer Support Sanctuary LARCC (Lakelands Area Retreat and Cancer Centre).
Lorcán’s story

WHEN I first noticed some blood in my urine I did not think much of it; but when it recurred a few times a visit to my GP was a priority. A referral to an urologist followed, and then an internal investigation. This showed growths in the bladder lining which necessitated burning off on four occasions over three years as well as several chemical treatments of the bladder.

When I was in the recovery unit after what I thought was a final investigation, without any tubes or gadgets hanging out of me, I expected to hear good news from the surgeon. However, he told me the only way to deal with the problem was the inevitable.

Without going into the gory details, I had my bladder and prostate removed followed by two weeks’ recovery in Tallaght Hospital and I now live a normal life, free of any concerns about my future health in that department. I have got used to the urology bag, and the great benefits are that; 1. I will not die of bladder cancer, 2. I will not die of prostate cancer and 3. I no longer have to get out of bed to go to the bathroom during the night.

Early diagnosis was vital in treating the cancer and in my outlook. I always looked on the bright side of life, head up, living as normal – gardening, parish activities, attending meetings and matches – without any undue worries about what might happen in the future. My belief was in the Lord’s plan for me; I would do my best to cope with the consequences.

In July 2014, I met a college friend from Wales whom I hadn’t seen since 1972 who said to me “If you had that problem 25 years ago I would not be talking with you today.” Quite a sobering thought!!

No matter what difficulties one has to face at any time in one’s life, the words “Always look on the bright side of life” should be an encouragement and an inspiration at all times.

Lorcán O`Rourke Photo : Piotr Kwasnik.

By Lynda Doyle
Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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