Liz O’Riordan: Life After Cancer

What happens when a surgeon can't be a surgeon anymore? How does one re-create oneself?

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Cancer surgeon

Liz O’Riordan had trained for decades to become a breast cancer surgeon in the U.K. Finally, settled into practice, she realized her childhood dream to be a surgeon.

Liz went on to treat thousands of women with breast cancer. But when she received her own diagnosis, she was stunned. Medical training didn’t prepare her for the very human experience.

Liz faced surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Then two years later, a recurrence led to still more treatment. As a result, Liz was no longer able to function as a surgeon.

“Cancer had robbed me of the only thing I ever wanted to do since I was a little girl.”

With no hobbies, no social life and no job, Liz faced a fundamental redesign of her life.

How does one navigate a potentially life threatening, career destroying bump in the road and find some wisdom along the way?

Liz started with a website. Later came a book. And then a TED Talk. Today, unable to continue to work as a surgeon (at just 45 years old) she is on a very different life path than the one she spent decades studying and training for.

In this podcast, Liz talks about the experience of cancer, recurrence, and the re-making of her life from dedicated surgeon to dedicated friend and human.

What advice do you give to someone facing a life changing bump in the road?

No rules, says Liz. And so much more.

Listen here.

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