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Terminal Cancer Sufferer Creates Incredible Style Guide To Help Others
A stylish terminal-cancer sufferer is determined not to let the disease cramp her style as she creates an online 'fashonistas guide to cancer' featuring the best beauty tips and clothes to wear after operations.
Lollie Todd, 40, was seeking help to get pregnant when doctors discovered and diagnosed her with ovarian cancer.
She has since endured a hysterectomy, chemotherapy and drug trials.
But because of her love of fashion she was determined to add a touch of glamour to her ordeal and started an online guide on how her love of clothes helped her post-diagnosis and throughout her cancer journey.
Lollie from Altrincham, Manchester, offers tips on how to make DIY hair pieces and explains how mid-chemotherapy cycle is perhaps the only time the sunglasses indoors look is acceptable.
She advises wearing checked men's shirts instead of hospital-issue pyjamas and that dungarees are the "best invention" for colostomy-bag wearers.
She's a strong advocate of self-care through retail therapy like ordering something from ASOS to look forward to during treatment or buying four pairs of boots at a time to cheer yourself up if that's what it takes to get through the week.
She reveals the perfect makeup combination to cover chemo-damaged skin and the best clothes to wear during hospital stays.
Her blog and Instagram feed - a Fashion Buyers Guide to Cancer - has reached 100,000 readers, many of them cancer sufferers who feel that cancer shouldn't define how they look and feel about themselves.
"I used my love for fashion to get me through. Fashion was my armour," explained Lollie, whose cancer returned and is now incurable.
"It was like getting ready for battle. I made sure that I always put my make up on. Before an appointment or treatment I would pick my outfit out - a bit like you do when you have a big event you are going to.
"If I had a bad day, I would get up and put makeup on, and do before and after photos of my look. To me it was a way of showing myself 'see you look fine'. I know it's not the way for everyone, but it was my way.
"When I found out the cancer had come back I really, really wanted these boots from ASOS. I thought 'what's the point in buying the boots?' because I didn't know what the future held. But I thought, if I'm going to die next week, my answer to myself would be 'buy the bloody boots'.
"And if I'm going to die in three years the answer would be the same - 'buy the bloody boots'. So I did. I went home and bought four pairs of boots.
"If I lose the feeling that I want to shop, that's when I know I'm not ok."
Lollie was diagnosed with low-grade ovarian cancer in August 2015 after tests to explore her difficulties falling pregnant, with husband Dale Herbert, 36.
She went on to have a hysterectomy and her bowel removed and temporarily replaced with an iliostomy bag, before four months of chemotherapy in 2016.
She went into remission and went back to work as a fashion buyer because she "missed getting dressed up" before a CT scan revealed the cancer had returned as "lumps and bumps" in her abdomen in August 2017.
Doctors said it was treatable but incurable
Lollie started her blog three weeks after discovering she had cancer in 2015.
Her first post explained her diagnosis to her readers and talked about the appointments, tests and scans she had been through.
She then added: "I could tell you all of the above in different way; how when I went to the hospital to hear the 2nd diagnosis, I wore my new Leopard coat from Topshop as it made me feel brave, or how on my sister's wedding day I wore my vintage fur coat as I felt it gave me protection.
"Each day that I get up and make an effort I feel stronger. Everyone deals with life differently, and I have always dealt with everything through clothing, so what makes this any different? Now it is more important than ever."
Her blog features top tips on dressing to cope with hysterectomy treatment symptoms.
She wrote: "Found that my snakeprint suede effect leggings from Bloomingdales in New York don't hurt to wear, and my check shirt from Topman is baggy enough to disguise the stoma bag I have to wear for the forseeable future.
"Leopard coat just because it cheers me up. Hat because in between hot flushes from surgical menopause my ears get cold."
Lollie also features hosts of photos of how she dealt with hair loss - from funky undercut mohawks to ultra short crops and lilac wigs.
Her funny blog explains why it's so important to get dressed in clothes that make you feel great during appointments.
One post said: "Dealing with cancer is heart-breakingly sad and incredibly scary, but it doesn't make me any less of a person than anyone else.
"I stand on an equal footing to anyone else in the room, the only differece being I always have a fabulous pair of shoes on.
"So feel sad for me, be there for me, but don't pity me. And sort your shoes out."
She discussed the pros of hair loss in one post stating that the: "fringe won't need cutting all the time and no curling needed".
She also revealed the best makeup to give tired skin a fresh sheen when you're not feeling great.
Lollie had to have another 17 weeks of chemotherapy last year.
She added: "I feel there is a lot of stigma attached to having cancer and being told you have cancer - especially ovarian. I have lived with it for three and a half years now."
Visit her blog to read more about Lollie's tips and her journey.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS