Surviving Cancer with Breast Surgeon Dr Liz O’Riordan

KKH Trailer Wide


Will: [00:00:00] Knock, knock,

knock, knock. Hi, welcome to Knock-knock High with the Glock Flecking. I am Dr. Glock Flecking, also known as Will Flannery. And of course, as always, I’m joined by my co-host Kristen 

Kristin: Flannery, also known as Lady Glock Flecking. You got 

Will: a better name than I do. Well, can’t help you. All right. Well, anyway, as we’re, we’re stuck with ’em at this point.


Kristin: right. It’s your fault 

Will: you came up with it. Uh, I did. Um, so we just, we got through the holidays. We did it. We did it. It’s never, that’s rough. When did, at, at what age, at what point in our lives did it stop becoming like more fun and start becoming just like constant two weeks of chores? Yeah. 

Kristin: Uh, I think as a kids probably, well, when they’re literal it’s still fun because it’s like everything [00:01:00] is magical and they’ve never seen any of it before and they don’t have any expectations about how any of it happens and they can’t remember it the following year, so you can just repeat.

But now they’re like, they gifts their choice. Yeah, exactly. I thought about doing that this year, with all that stuff that they’d never play with. I’m sure they’ve forgotten about it. Thought about just wrapping 

Will: it back up. Well, we’re we’ve been better about making sure they donate the things that they’re not That’s right.

They’re. Playing with anymore How the 

Kristin: old before and with 

Will: the noon. Yeah. Very good. Good. Other people. An opportunity to enjoy the things that they don’t enjoy anymore. And uh, exactly. But we did, we went to, uh, Washington for a week. We did. I played in the snow. It’s very fun. It was great. Now, uh, we both grew up in Texas.

Mm-hmm. . Now I’m na I’m a native Texan. 

Kristin: I’m not, I will not claim that. But I did get held there for my 

Will: childhood. She did. That’s where we met. We met in college at Texas Tech. But, uh, uh, as a result of growing up in Texas, uh, we, neither of us [00:02:00] did any kind of snow activities. No skiing, ice skating. No, nothing.


Kristin: time we had an ice day and, um, my dad owned a dairy supply store and he tied, uh, it’s called a foot. It’s what it sounds like, but it’s for cows. Uh oh, that’s nice. Yeah. He tied that behind his truck and we sat in it and he pulled us around so that we could go sledding serious a different time. . 

Will: Okay.

It sounds extremely dangerous. 

Kristin: It was, and that is the extent of my winter activities, I think as a child 

Will: point is we did not ski in Washington. No. It didn’t even cross our minds. In fact, the only time I’ve ever been skiing the one and only time was in med school while we were at Dartmouth. It was like, April, maybe even early May.

Like the worst time. No, it was spring break. It was March was it? Mm-hmm. . Okay. Well, all I remember is that we went to this little dinky, little like ski slope, uh, close to where we lived. [00:03:00] Two of my friends from Texas both had never skied before. The three of us showing up. Mm-hmm. to ski for the first time.

Uh, no lessons. Nothing really. You thoughts? Oh, can’t be that hard. It’s not that hard. Let’s just do it. Meanwhile, it’s, it’s March in New Hampshire and the, the slope was just like ice. It’s was like, there’s no powder. See, I know enough to say like powder, like I know I’m talking about mm-hmm. , uh, just solid ice, ice sheet

And here we are to three, three 

Kristin: guys. You gotta, you gotta paint the picture like you are six foot four and just. About 80% arms 

Will: and legs. That’s true. Yeah. I, I am, I’m all limbs here. And, um, and so I, we, we managed to get our gear on and I, I kind of just maneuver myself over to the ski lift. There were not that many people there, uh, on this day.

And, um, maybe should have been a hint. Yeah, probably and, uh, my, my, uh, my friends got on ahead of me and I, [00:04:00] uh, just kind of fell into the ski lift chair and, uh, uh, immediately, like both of my skis snapped off. I don’t know how that happens. It just does, like, if you move the wrong way, you just, you, you lose your skis and, uh, probably good.

That probably saves bones from being broken and ligaments from being torn. Um, but the, the point is, I was on a ski a chairlift, and the person running the lift was kind enough to put the skis on the chair. behind me, so I was in front mm-hmm. without skis. Mm-hmm. and my skis were behind me, and I had to kind of go o, get off the chair.

Go down a little slope somehow. Mm-hmm. , uh, ended up just sliding on my ass. Yep. Mm-hmm. down the little, down the little thing. Uh, and then my skis came down after me. Uh, and it didn’t get any better from there. Folks. Um, At one point, if you were a more accomplished [00:05:00] skier, you knew what you were doing, you would kind of turn the corner on the bunny hill.


Kristin: more accomplished you mean just have ever skied before? 

Will: Have ever skied before? Mm-hmm. , you would turn the corner, you’d see three like 24 year olds from Texas just strewn about on the slope. , uh, none of us had skis on. They were elsewhere. Uh, and, um, uh, just struggling to survive. And, uh, and we got, finally got to the bottom.

Uh, and we just started, we basically just stayed in the inside the rest of the time. Just drank your hot cocoa? No, we, we, yeah, just drank the hot cocoa, had some beer and, um, and that, I have pictures of 

Kristin: you guys just like. Scraped up. Oh, I was, 

Will: I was wearing like sweatpants too, by the way. No, this was not prepared.

None of you were. That was the last, the only time I had ever been skiing one time down the slope. And I’ll, at this point, I can’t go ever again just because I’m 38 years old. [00:06:00] Oh, yeah. You, no, my legs would snap off at the knees. You don’t have enough if I ever tried again. So anyway, so, so we did other things in Washington.

We did sledding ed. Sledding is fun. Always fun. Uh, nice and safe. Like loaded the ground safe. Exactly, yeah. Walked around a little bit. Enjoyed the hot tub. Uh, it was, it was, it was a great time. It was wonderful. It was fun. But enough about our. Christmas family vacation. Mm-hmm. , let’s get to the episode. Yes.

So we’re excited. Uh, we have someone who I’ve known for quite a while on social media, a a unbelievable social media presence. So informative. Uh, Dr. Liz, she is an author and speaker, story 

Kristin: teller. Just avoiding saying her last name. 

Will: I, I struggle with it. O Oden. O, that’s right. Oden. All right. Yeah. Dr. Liz Oden.

There you go. Uh, just a, a fantastic, uh, physician, um, speaker, person. Mm-hmm. , uh, just so, uh, just her educational content on social media is, is [00:07:00] fantastic. She’s a writer too. Um, and we just had a, a wonderful conversation, also a cancer survivor. And so, uh, her and I had that in common. We’d spoken before about this on her podcast.

And, uh, it was nice to, to just talk about our perspectives on things and, um, yeah. 

Kristin: Yeah. And you have in common, you’re both, um, you know, physicians, both surgeons, and also, um, you know, cancer survivors. And, um, that can’t be a large group of people that probably more than 

Will: you think, but I mean, obviously it’s gonna be a small, you know, the more modifiers you put into that Yeah.

The more Right. The fewer 

Kristin: people you’re gonna get. I think it gives a unique perspective that not a lot of people have. And so it was really fun to get to hear you guys Yeah. Share with each other. So let’s get to it, huh? 

Will: Let’s do it. All right. Here’s Dr. Liz.

Liz, thank you so much for joining us. It’s, uh, we’ve talked before, it was about a year ago, um, on, on your podcast, and so, yes. Uh, now I had to have you [00:08:00] back on ours. Uh, and the main reason is because, uh, I, I just had to see what kind of glasses you were wearing. . Uh, it’s, it’s, I, that’s the one thing I remember about you is you have great glasses and as an ophthalmologist, uh, I can’t help myself.

So tell us, well, when are you wearing 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: here? These are currently 3D printed titanium mesh. I didn’t even know that was possible. Yeah. Samuel L. Jackson has my glasses. I go to this amazing optician in London who does all the movie stars for films, but he can’t get his credits on the screen cuz he has to pay a ridiculous amount of money

But when I was, when I was growing up in stars and needing glasses, I remember my mass teacher telling me that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. And are cool and they’re my thing. So Uhhuh. Yeah. 

Will: I love these. I tell that to, to kids in adolescents too, whenever they have to get into classes.

No, no, no, no. I I tell them the glasses are back. They’re cool. They’re cool. 

Kristin: They’re, 

Will: they’re, I do not tell them, [00:09:00] unless I don’t want to see anymore kids, then I would tell them. But no, I tell them that cuz that’s true. Glasses are, they’re fashionable now. 

Kristin: They’re, yeah, they’re, they’re, I have many a pair that I do need them.

I’m wearing contacts right now. But 

Will: also I tried so hard to get ’em outta contact but 

Kristin: can’t Also, they are just like a fun addition to your outfit. They’re like an accessory. They jewelry for your face. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: And I can tell my husband has glasses, sorry. My husband has glasses he wears when he’s having people for meetings without coffee.

So when he needs to be stern, he has a certain pair of glasses. They just change his personality. that 

Will: they, do they go to the end of his nose or do they stay up? Not quite. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Not quite. But we’re both in bifocals now, so. 

Will: Well, I can tell. I was gonna say, I can tell that you’re nearsighted. And so you’ve been, how old were you when you started wearing 

Kristin: glasses?

We play guess the, guess 

Will: the, oh, okay. That’s a good, I do like this party trick. This trust 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: is a party trick. Um, okay, so I think I was about 12 or 13 when I started wearing glasses. 12 or 

Will: 13. And I know you’re nearsighted, so I would say, do you need from the side, uh, [00:10:00] yeah. Tilt your head a little bit the other way.

Go the other way. Oh yeah. I’d say you’re probably, you’re not that near. I’d say you’re like a minus three. minus 3, 3 50, something 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: like that. Minus three and a half. Yeah. 

Kristin: Oh, wow. Look at that. Still got it. My god. That’s 

Will: incredible. . Okay, here’s the, here’s the, here’s the secret. Uh, when people are nearsighted, uh, they’re, the glasses will minimize your face.

And so you can see when you look just off the edge of your face mm-hmm. Through the lens, it kind of minimizes it. It’s the opposite with people who are farsighted. Okay. That’s why kids, little kids, when they get glasses for the first time, most of the time, or we’re talking like 3, 4, 5 years old, a lot of times they’re very really farsighted.

So their eyes look huge whenever they put Glass’s really cute whenever little, yeah. Little kids put glasses on. Uh, and that’s because they’re farsighted glass, so they maximize this is, is this interesting to people? That’s really interesting. I dunno. I am fast. Usually I only fascinated myself a. [00:11:00] But 3D printed titanium glasses.


Kristin: And they’re like, for the listeners who don’t have video right now, they’re really cool shape too. They kind of 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: frames, yeah. A bit missing between the nose and the top of the eyebrows. I’ve never seen that circles. Right. And 

Kristin: it’s, I’ve never seen that. Super 

Will: cool. Well Liz, if you were, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll stop talking about glasses for now, although we could do it for quite a while.

If you weren’t recording with us, what would you be doing right now? What is your, cuz tell, tell us what your, what you do, what’s your kind of day-to-day like? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: So, I used to be a breast cancer surgeon and I retired in 2019 when my breast cancer came back locally, which meant I couldn’t operate anymore. And I was really floored for a while because when you spent 20 years of your life training to be a doctor and you suddenly can’t do it, you realize how.

how bad your life is because I had no hobbies, no friends. Life was just eat, drink, work. Mm-hmm. . And it took some time to work at [00:12:00] how I’m gonna fill the days cuz I don’t have children. And when you’re 43 there aren’t many women who don’t have children who don’t work to meet during the day. But I started writing books.

Um, I wrote the Complete Guy to Breast Cancer, which kind of answered all the questions I had that I was stupidly searching the internet for at three o’clock in the morning. And that led to me doing videos on Instagram, explaining breast cancer. And that’s led to me giving talks all over the world, just trying to help people improve patient care.

But my new thing that I started in September is cold water swimming. Oh, I’m one of those crazy people dipping in rivers when it’s freezing cold. Yes. . . 

Kristin: What’s your fav, what’s your go-to location? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: There’s quite a few. Do you have any favorites? Rivers near me. Um, there’s a lovely place near Huntington, a tiny village in Suffolk, and you can see swans and ducks and cormorants, and it’s just being at one of nature.

It’s been really helpful. 

Will: I don’t imagine you find any warm places to swim 

Kristin: in 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: England? No, in England, in the uk No. No. Maybe in the summer the, the sea will slowly warm up, but [00:13:00] generally it’s pretty cold. . 

Will: So before, before you were, I guess when you were, you know, before you got into medicine, get all your training.

Yeah. What, what were your hobbies? What did you, what did you like to do? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I used to sing. I used to dance. I have a bronze medal in disco dancing. Thank you very much. You really? What? Yes. I used to sing that. No swim. I, I know, I 

Will: know. It’s not an Olympic event, but is No, no, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: it’s not. I had a purple leotard and a sparky belt and I used to race butterfly, so I didn’t need shoulder pads In the eighties when I was a teenager, I had shoulders out here.

Oh, swimming. And 

Kristin: I thought you were saying like you raced butterflies. I erased butterflies. Oh. Like the insects. . . I didn’t know that was a thing. Butterfly racing, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: but I wish it was no butterfly. And then, um, university kind of took over and you kind of stop everything at uni because you’re so busy trying to be a doctor.

There’s no time. 

Will: That’s, that’s was something I, when I, when I talked to, to med students and residents, like try, [00:14:00] even if you, it’s so hard to but try to hold on to like, yeah, that one thing, you know for you. I tell them to, it’s racing insects, obviously , uh, but uh, but you know, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: you could take that as racing insects, but we’re not talking about that

Kristin: Oh dear. This could take, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: we could go on many rabbits. Sorry. But you’re right, it’s like when I retired, my identity is not as a surgeon, I’m a person and I should have other things that I do, and medicine somehow takes it out of people. 

Kristin: It does, yeah. That was as this, you know, partner or spouse during the medical training, that was always something 

Will: I was happening.

What was it? I’m sure it was very difficult to, that, that moment when you knew like you had to make this decision to To stop operating. Yeah. To stop practicing. And can you tell me a little bit about what that. What that moment was like for you. Yeah, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: sure. So I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer three years earlier when I was 40 and I had chemotherapy, mastectomy, radiotherapy.

And it took about six months to get me [00:15:00] re-skilled to go back to work. And that’s the whole other conversation, was I safe to do it ethically, physically could I cope with dealing with patients? But I found a nodule of scar tissue that I just thought was nothing. And um, my surgeon saw it and said, Nope, that’s cancer.

You’ve gotta have it out. And I never went back to work. I thought I would. But as time went on and I realized I’ve now got a greater risk of it coming back, metastas statically to kill me. I didn’t think psychologically I could cope with breast cancer patients and all the side effects of treatment meant my left arm didn’t work.

So I couldn’t do my surgery and I suddenly felt, I can’t remember my last operation. If I’d known it was my last one. I’ve done everything differently. And that’s why lockdown was great because the washing hands was just like scrubbing. Mm-hmm. . But I really missed being in an operating room with a group of people making something magical happen.

That talking that community, that feeling, wow, we’ve done this. And when that’s taken away from you, [00:16:00] it was really, really hard. Mm-hmm. , but in some ways it was a relief not to have to treat breast cancer patients. Having had it myself, and as I became more well known, I thought, well, patients will want to see me and they’ll want to talk to me because of what I’ve been through.

And, and it ethically that can’t happen. It just has to be about them. But it was really hard giving it up. 

Kristin: Yeah. It seems like you, you’ve continued the thread at least of you’re still helping the breast cancer patients. Yeah. Through the work that you’re doing now, and you. Potentially helping save lives with all the information, the education you’re putting out about, you know, how it’s fantastic breast cancer and things like that.


Dr Liz O’Riordan: it’s, it’s funny how it started. I used to tweet under my married name of Aden, but my maiden name was Bald Thinking, the crazy patients can’t find me because it was all this fear that you’ll get trolled and you don’t want patients to know. And then when I was diagnosed, I thought people are gonna recognize me cuz I was treated in a hospital where I worked.

And my husband, who’s a consultant surgeon works [00:17:00] as well. So I just told Twitter and that day changed my life because patients from all over the world told me how to cope with chemo and what to eat. And suddenly by talking honestly about what was happening to me, I could help hundreds or thousands of people globally.

Instead of the 70 or a hundred women I might treat a year. And it was like, wow, this is an incredible tool for educating and not just patients, but doctors, students, nurses, it’s, yeah, it’s amazing. Right. 

Will: And it’s. It, it’s fascinating to me cuz I I’ve been through the same thing you mentioned earlier. Yeah.

How you went through, um, uh, you had to learn, you had to figure out Yeah. You know, how to, how to deal with this, how to get through this treatment. And it’s, it’s all, it’s fascinating that like, we have to do that as physicians. Like we, I mean, you in particular, you’ve, you’ve been in that world. Yes. But still there was that, that piece of it that you had to learn on your, on your own, on the fly and, uh, yeah.

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I, I thought I [00:18:00] knew everything there was to know about breast cancer. Mm-hmm. and I realized I knew nothing because I’ve never had chemo and I’d never had an operation. I was terrified of having a general anesthetic. It wasn’t being scared of waking up. I was just frightened of not being in control. This is ridiculous.

I’m a surgeon. Mm-hmm. . And then it’s how people treat you. Because I’m not just a breast surgeon. I’ve worked in the hospital. My husband’s a surgeon. You dunno, are you being treated differently by other colleagues and they don’t want to come and see you because she’s the person in the side room. And that’s, it’s really hard being on the the other side when you have a little knowledge.

Will: Yeah. And, and all of a sudden when I had my first cancer surgery, uh, yeah. All of a sudden anesthesiologist was my favorite person in the operating room. And uh, um, it’s like this, it’s like the, the drugs they have are just so wonderful. It’s just Oh, they are, aren’t they? It’s, this is amazing . It’s cause you’re so scared.

And then they, and then it’s just like you’re out and Yeah. Uh, [00:19:00] it’s, um, 

Kristin: it’s a lot of trust. You have to have as a patient, a lot of trust. They’re gonna take care of you 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: and realize you are on that gown naked underneath on a very small trolley. It, it’s really hard pushing your life in the hands of other people.

Mm-hmm. . But the scary thing for me was signing the consent form. So we have to tell patients all the risks, the pros, the cons, things that might happen, but we know they’re small. Don’t worry about it. But when you are signing a piece of paper saying you might get this, this, this, this, and this, it’s like, lie me.

I had no idea the impact of this form that I just take for granted. It was, yeah, really weird because you 

Will: do it, you do it so often, so many times. Yeah. In your career, it’s just a, yeah. Become seem like 

Kristin: an issue routine as a physician, but then as a patient, it’s terrifying. . 


Dr Liz O’Riordan: To me, it’s just another wound infection, but to them it may delay radiotherapy and it’s like, oh, okay.

I had no idea. Right. 

Will: And when did you, when did you decide, okay, you’re gonna take all these experiences and you’re gonna start writing a book? Because writing a [00:20:00] book seems like the hardest possible thing to do. Yeah. And how, how, how difficult was that to kind of get over that hurdle of learning how to write?

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I started off by writing a blog cuz my husband was a tech geek who said I should do one because it, this is back in 2015. And for me it was a way of explaining to my family what was going on because my brother lived in Switzerland and my parents lived 400 miles away in Scotland. And by just writing what was happening, it was a way of letting everybody know rather than having to deal with phone calls on chemo.

And I discovered that I could write well for a lay. I have a PhD where you write 500 word paragraphs and sentences and no one understands the word, but I found I could write for the general public. And I got so much, um, feedback saying Thank you for explaining what’s happening. But then on Twitter, I met one of my heroes.

She’s an incredible professor, she’s a gp. Her statistical knowledge got me through my exams and she messaged me to say we were having chemo on the same day for breast cancer. And [00:21:00] between us, we bought 20 books written by patients. Because you were both desperate to find out what it was like to be a patient having treatment.

Right. And the scary stuff you find on the internet terrifies me. I’d never been on a breast cancer forum. How ridiculous is that? I had no idea what questions patients were asking, and so the two of us thought we should write a book explaining everything. But it was one of the hardest things I’ve done, not so much talking about my own experiences, but writing it with someone else.

She is someone who says the deadline’s in January, so I’ll write it in July. Let me see your work. And I’m very much, I was gonna write it three weeks before the deadline. That’s how I roll . And it was quite hard working with someone else, but we, I’m so proud of how many people we can help through the book.

Yeah. That is amazing. 

Will: I can’t imagine doing it. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know what your clinical notes are. Were like, yeah. As a practicing physician, but you, you spend so much time writing this technical, you know? [00:22:00] Yeah. And using words that really aren’t real words. And no, it’s structure that, that’s just doesn’t make sense anywhere outside of our own little bubble of medicine that, uh, it seems, and I, you know, I’ve, I’ve tried to do a little writing.

It’s just like the hardest, the hardest thing. I just is like, look, let me just make like 62nd skits. And I, I can, I can handle that kind of writing. But, um, I, I’m just so impressed, uh, that you’ve been able to, can kind transition into that, that totally different world. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I write as if I’m explaining things to my mum or to a friend.

Mm-hmm. , or how I would explain it to a patient who doesn’t understand. Mm-hmm. . And that kind of helps me get into the mindset, assume they know nothing and explain everything literally. And I actually, I’m a geek. I enjoyed the research and fact checking, and I know I say this all the time, but where did that effect come from?

And is it really 

Kristin: true? Right. I think that it’s so important too, like the. The most successful writers, Dr. Writers, I think are those that can take different perspectives. And it seems like [00:23:00] you have the clinician perspective, you have the research perspective, and then you have the human being perspective, and that’s the one Yeah.

That I think goes, you know, people forget about that one when they’re Yeah. When they’re talking to their patients. And it’s something I talk about all the time, um, here and everywhere else, is you forget what it’s like to be a beginner. You forget what it’s like to not be the expert in this or to not be a professional in this.

Yeah. And you take for granted some of the things that, um, that are just basic knowledge to you, but are crucially important for the patient, for you to say out loud. Yeah. Um, and so when those things go unsaid, it can be very scary for the, for the patient. So I admire that, that, you know, you’re able to take those different perspectives and put on those different hats and then everybody benefits.

Dr Liz O’Riordan: And I think part of it is, When I’m telling 10 women a day, they’ve got breast cancer. It has to become routine. Yeah. I can’t get emotional. I have to go home. And it’s [00:24:00] almost reminding patients that doctors do this day in, day out. We don’t get coaching, we don’t get counseling. We might not be the most empathetic at the time.

We’re trying our best and it’s just getting that balance across. But talking about writing, I’ve got another book coming out, um, next Summer Under the Knife, which is my own memoir as a female surgeon because I went through when there were very few women going into surgery. The sexual harassment, the bullying, the funny stories that you have, just again, to show people what it’s like to be inside our world.

Will: Yeah. Mm-hmm. , do you have a couple stories you could share? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Yeah. So, um, I was doing urology, which is, um, how do you explain urology , um, kidney, kidneys and bladders and genitalia. Sorry, I’m having a, 

Will: I think brain problem brain probably covers it. Maybe I, it covers, yeah. I don’t know how much the kidneys are involved.

Is it because you’re then you’re bleeding into, to, to nephrology a little bit more, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: but, well, I guess in the nephrology is the medicine of kidneys, but urology is the surgery of kidneys in prostates and [00:25:00] bladder. That’s, there we go. That’s right. Balls. Lots. Balls. Ball and balls. Yeah. And my name was Dr. Ball.

Oh no, I was known as Tess as in Tess Tickle for the two years I worked in that hospital and it was at a tiny hospital in the Welsh Valleys. And I went off to do erectile dysfunction clinics by myself, as in like a junior doctor. And I was in this tiny little room and the nurse went to get the next patient and I was sat in a chair and the knock went on the door and I thought it was the nurse bringing me a cup of tea.

So I put out my hand and I ended up touching this 80 year old man’s penis because he’d just come in and dropped his trousers, , and I’m not sure which of us was more embarrassed. . 

Kristin: Oh my gosh. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Well, I did do that again, . 

Will: Yeah. Did you, did you consider a career in urology? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I actually really liked it. It made sense.

Yeah. Um, I really liked it, but I did like wearing wellies. Um, and 

Will: you’ll have to help us out. What wellies the shoes, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: so, oh, okay. Rubber, [00:26:00] rubber boots. So all the, all the surgeons wore, um, like rubber Wellington, boots in theater because there’s so much water and urine splashing around. Yeah. . Yes. . 

Kristin: I am not in medicine at all, and I think bodies are pretty gross.

So they are, this is always 

Will: and I, and I don’t deal with, I’ll stop that. Fluids . No, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: that’s good. That’s partly why I went into breast surgery. There aren’t any, well, 

Will: I, I’ll say urologists do have, uh, some of the best senses of humor in medicine. I’ve, me too, having interacted with, with different people. But, but tell us, uh, what else, what else do you got?

I’m sure you have so many. I mean, that is very interesting, you know, background, you know, uh, uh, being a, a woman surgeon. So, um, yeah. What else do you got? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: What else, what can I say? So, there was one time I was, um, Learning to operate and the middle of the night, and it was, um, a guy had come in his bowel had perforated, so Poland, his bowel needed to go to theater.

The registrar was in a and e dealing with another thing. So I went with a [00:27:00] consultant and he was really, really good. He said, right, you can open this abdomen. I think, yes, this is really exciting. And he was carefully getting aprons and gloves. And I was like, no, it’s fine. I’m, I’m good to go. I don’t need anything else.

And I gave the knife and he stood back and I gently opened the skin of the abdomen, which was paper thin because it was stretched, because his bowel was full. And a torrent of chocolate milkshake flew out of this guy’s tummy and hit the roof because it was under so much pressure. And I got covered in liquid shit.

And the cassettes there really SMU cuz he’d put on plastic apr and gloves to cover him. He said, you’re gonna smell shit every time you eat for the next two days until the smell goes, oh no. You know what? It was incredible cause I got to help him fix it. I thought despite this, I still like surgery

Will: That’s, if you could withstand that, then Yeah. Then you notice 

Kristin: the 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: career for you found your place. Yes. You, you kind of know where your lines are and that wasn’t it. 

Will: Wow. Tell me again what you were wearing when that happened. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: [00:28:00] Suggests a normal pair of scrubs, but generally when you are, when, when you’re prepping for a procedure, there’s a lot of blood, like an aneurysm or a bowel per, you’re put on a long plastic apron underneath your scrub gown, like a waterproof layer to stop the ship soaking through the gown to the scrubs.

Okay. I didn’t have. 

Kristin: All right. Was that the only time you didn’t have that? That was it, yes. Never again, , 

Will: I could tell you, I, I have never worn one of those either, but I am also an ophthalmologist and I’ve never had to, to record, uh, blood loss or any kind of fluid loss whatsoever. So it’s, that’s outside my world for sure.

were you wearing, at least, were you wearing eye protection? Were you wearing glasses? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Just glasses. Oh, okay. Oh boy. All right. That’s not great. You learned to keep your mouth closed when you gas, , . 

Will: Where were you, where were you squeezing? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Where were you training? I was, I was training in Wales, um mm-hmm. . I remember squeezing an abscess.

A patient had a sebaceous cyst on his back, a really, really big, juicy cyst that needed to be [00:29:00] squeezed, and I was obviously behind his back and I glanced it, and I squeezed, and it covered my face and the wall behind. And my, the junior doctor assisting me was like, he can’t know how much mess I’m covered in.

Oh, we’re just gonna clean this up. And she was like getting me wiped. So I was kind of wiping off my face and cleaning my tongue and scrubbing off the walls while she was stitching it up. 

Will: I have a very, very similar story. Sorry, Uhhuh. This was, yeah, Kristen’s, I’m dying. He’s dying. Sorry, Kristen who? No, no.

This is what she gets for being on a medical podcast. Um, uh, so this was like the beginning of my chief year as a resident. So I was in their last year residency and I was like, you know, big shot, you know, I’ve, I’m the senior resident, right? And so, you know, the, the, the first year residents would, would call me in if they weren’t sure about something.

Mm-hmm. And so it was at the beginning of the year. So they, I was, I got called in quite often and um, and they called me in for this. This big, kinda like a Chilean, just [00:30:00] a, you know, a, a oil-filled, you know, pocket in the eyelid basically. Yeah. And I, you know, I was like, ah, it’s, you know, it’s fine. I’ll handle this, you know, no big deal.

And, uh, and I, I squeezed it and, uh, yep, it, it, it got right face shot, just, uh, and I had to, um, and again, up until that point, I. I was kind of coming across as I can, I can handle, yeah. I’m the cool guy. And so it was really a, a, uh, you know, I deserved it. , 

Kristin: were you wearing eye protection? 

Will: Uh, I, I actually was not.

Ah, and so, um, it was a big mistake on my part. I learned a lesson that day. You only do it once study. It’s good to be humbled every now and then. Well, I think 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: so. . I think so. 

Kristin: Oh man. I, I’m glad somebody does it, I suppose. I don’t know how you 

Will: guys do. Well, you know, it’s, um, different eye fluids. You know, I think one of the things with medicine and deciding [00:31:00] what you kind of doctor you want to be is what, what fluids you’re okay with working 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: with.

Exactly. Right. One of my professors said, pick the body fluid. You mind the least. Yeah. And 

Will: for that sense, what was it for you? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Well, I went into breast surgery, so there are none. , you get sweaty arm once in a while. See, the one flew me. I can’t stand as vomit. I can cope with everything else but vomit. I find really, really hard.

It’s a rough 

Will: one. Yeah. I can’t, I, the oil, the oral secretions, the suctioning, the anesthesia. I did like a two-week elective. And anesthesia. I could not do phlegm. Anesthesia. You’re not into phlegm. Not into it. Can’t handle it. Mm-hmm. So is, is this the most fun you’ve ever had? Kristen on this 

Kristin: this is, sorry, we’re 

Will: digging real deep ears.

She’s very far away from, from medicine and for good reason. I, I don’t know what you would do if I was something other than an ophthalmologist who doesn’t have to deal with body force. I, 

Kristin: you just would be forbidden to talk about it. I think I’m already would’ve, she won’t pretty much. She doesn’t quite right.

Even when we had little babies, I mean, I, I made him do all the, [00:32:00] the body. All spotty 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: fluid stuff 

Kristin: that possible that was his job, that 

Will: you’re gonna be a doctor, you gotta, you’re gonna have to handle all of this. So, yeah. True. Yeah. It’s still the case. 

Kristin: How old has up for that? They are 10 and seven now. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Okay.

So does he do all the scrapes when they cut their knees and things? 

Kristin: Well, now he’s just like, oh, you’re fine. Oh, you know, they’re, 

Will: now I’m, well they’re, we have girls, so they’re not, you know, they’re not in, in, uh, in imminent danger at all times. Like little boys are so true. Yeah. They’re, 

Kristin: they’re more 

Will: careful.

So how, how, how big was your, um, I, I guess your residency class, was it called residency in the uk? 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I, no, it’s not. So the medical school class, there were about 150 of us for the five years. Oh, that’s a, that’s a big class. Um, it’s a lot. Yeah. Okay. Alright. Although I think they’re a lot bigger now. We’ve increased a number of doctors, but it, it was, you knew the people on your dissection table really, really well.

Yeah. . 

Will: And how many, how many women were in your class, would you say? [00:33:00] 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I think we were about 50 50. Oh, really? Okay. Nice. Yes. I think, and, and a lot of places it’s actually 60 40 women to men. Yeah. But there is still a large dropout of women and for whatever reason, family lifestyle. Um, it’s a really hard career as a woman because if you are straight, there’s not a great dating pool for women in the world of hospital medicine.

Not like there is for men. There are lots of nurses and physios and occupational health professionals. But I was single for eight years during my surgical training. I was the crazy cat lady with two cats. An I meet a guy in a club, said, what do you do? Ah, I’m a urologist. . What does that mean? I spend all day looking at, bye, see you

Um, and they’re lost. They’re lost. They’re lost. But it’s very hard to find a man who can cope with dating a woman who’s a surgeon and who likes cats. Exactly. Well, I didn’t have them at the time. They came when I couldn’t find a man. See, my husband was my boss and he asked me out the day I left to move to a different hospital,

Kristin: Oh, problem [00:34:00] solved. There you 

Will: go. What is he, is he a physician? Is he He’s a surgeon. He’s a surgeon as 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: well. Oh, that’s right. Upper gastrointestinal. So gallbladders and things like that. Oh, gotcha. But doing my junior surgical training, I was, there were 12 of us in the year, and two of us were women. Mm-hmm.

Okay. And I didn’t work for a female boss until I was three years out from becoming a consultant. So that’s the, is that an, what’s high on states? Is it resident or attending? Attend? Attending. Attending. Attending. Is there, attending is the, the big boss. When I had three years left of residency, I finally worked for a female attending.

I’d only worked for men until that point. Wow. That’s, that’s 

Will: okay. That’s number, that’s a lot of years. That’s telling. 

Kristin: Yeah. Yeah. Got a lot of things to say about that, but that would be a different podcast, , 

Will: right? Yeah. Let’s, let’s save that first time. All right. Let’s, let’s take a, let’s take a break and, uh, and then we’re gonna come back with, uh, Dr.

Liz. Liz, Dr. Weird. Nope. Nope. Doc. No. Dr. Liz. [00:35:00] Liz. Liz. We’ll be right back with Liz. And we’re gonna do a, a little activity. All right. Be right back. Big thank you to everybody listening. Spread the love, share the podcast with everyone. Leave a review and a rating. Be honest. All right. Tell us what you think of the show.

Uh, later today, we’re going to share some of your own medical stories. You can share yours, knock, knock We also have Patreon. Uh, come hang out with other members of the Knock-knock High community. We’re gonna be there. That’s right. We 

Kristin: are there. We are already there. I’m already 

Will: there.

Yeah. We’re commenting. We’re, we’re posting. Hang out. We’re, we’re hang out with us. Come on. Mm-hmm. , uh, early episode. Access. Check out bonus episodes. Uh, there’s, we’re doing another monthly show where we react to, to medical shows and to TVs and movies. And 

Kristin: do you Welcome to Planet 

Will: Earth . Uh, and also we have another announcement.

Uh, Moby. There’s a [00:36:00] Moby Podcast. Yes. Coming to the Human Content Network, a new podcast hosted by the iconic musician, Moby. At the end of this episode, we’ll be sharing a trailer, so stick around for that. Alright, let’s get back to Liz Arden.

All right, we are back with Liz and, uh, Liz. We’re going to do something, uh, special. Uh, that’s, uh, that kind of connects the two of us, so, okay. Uh, for, uh, we, we’ve touched on it already, but, um, the, the two of us have, uh, cancer history, uh, you with breast cancer, me with testicular cancer. And, um, and what I thought we could do is a, a little thing called gray cloud, silver lining.

And so, okay. There are lots of gray clouds, lots of bad thoughts, bad experiences, awful things that have to do with the diagnosis of cancer. A learning you have cancer, the treatment, the recovery, both [00:37:00] physical, mental, emotional, all that stuff. It’s, it’s gray clouds everywhere. Yeah. Um, but there are occasional little silver linings, little things that, oh, because I went through that.

I, this has, I have this new experience, or I, I’ve had this interaction, I’ve had this, I, I dare to say, good thing that has come out of, of this awful situation. And so I thought we could go back and forth and do a few gray cloud. Love it. Silver lining, uh, things. So, do you wanna start? Ooh, do you have Yes. Or do you want me to start?

I, I’m happy to start if you want. Okay. Let start, let me kick it off. Let me kick it off. Okay. Restart. All right. So, um, for me, a gray cloud was the nightmare of dealing with the US health insurance industry, which I had been. Insulated from, as a physician for the most part. There’s a few things you have to deal with as a patient.

It’s a totally different world, and we’re not gonna go into it [00:38:00] because that’s a whole nother podcast in another itself. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, um, that was a huge gray cloud, uh, on the phone, just hours, you know, upset, yelling at people, and, and it’s, uh, um, just so many, so much time and mental energy dealing with that and trying to get this expensive treatment covered.

Um, but now the silver lining for me is that I understand what my patients are going through and I can connect with them in that way, uh, of, of being like, you know, being able to talk about insurance with them when they have questions like, this is how this is gonna affect you. This is, uh, this is what.

You know, you might have to pay, this is how we’re gonna help you, uh, navigate this. And I’m more open to that. So that’s been a silver lining for me, is just having that experience. I can connect a little bit better with my patients around this. A [00:39:00] horrible Yeah, that makes sense. Issue that we deal with in the us.

So that’s, that’s one thing that, you know, I’ve, I think is a, is a net positive, honestly. Definitely. Why don’t you gimme one? What do you got? So I’d 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: say one was because I was made menopausal to stop me producing estrogen, and I had my ovaries out, my libido went overnight. Sex became a thing of the past.

Everything’s dry and. I had no idea how difficult it was to be a young married woman and never want to have sex. But the silver lining is I found people online who gave me help, who showed me what I can do. And I realized I never talked to my patients about it. I never brought it up. But by writing and talking and podcasting about it, I can help women get their sex life back after cancer and that feels amazing.

Oh, that’s awesome. I love it. I’d love to know whether, what Kirsten would say being as a wife of someone who’s had cancer, cuz you must have these too. 

Kristin: Yeah. Uh, well, similar to to breast cancer, he had, you know, testicular [00:40:00] cancer and that comes obviously with hormone replacement therapy. And so that’s been a whole, you know, thing to, that’s something that we will live with always.


Will: been a bit moody 

Kristin: over the last, so yeah, it’s always a competition. Whose PMs is worse today? . 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: You always win. Right? 

Kristin: Actually over here. He can, he can be a little bit tough. I be a little 

Will: cranky, little cranky 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: step. Mm-hmm. , you’d never guess some your Twitter feed , 

Will: right? Yes. It’s been a journey with, uh, and that actually ties in with health insurance for us is, is, uh, I’ve, I’ve been through so many different iterations of, of testosterone.

It’s, it’s been, it’s been a whole thing. Yeah. Um, okay. I’ve got. Okay. Okay. So Gray Cloud, I have lost both of my testicles, and that’s obviously comes with a lot of, a lot of problems. Um, but, uh, the silver lining is that riding a bike has never been more comfortable. Oh, [00:41:00] yes, I hate you. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s great.

Like, I, I don’t even, like, I don’t have any concern about, uh, my child kicking the soccer ball in the wrong place. Uh, yeah, it’s, it’s fine. I, you know what? I’m like Ironman down there, . It’s, uh, you, you can’t, you can’t hurt me. And uh, so there you go. Like that’s, I feel, yeah. Something. That’s 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: something, right?

Yeah. Well, I’m gonna stick on the same thing. I had a mastectomy and an implant, um, but radiotherapy made it shrink and shrivel up to the side. And I had it removed when my cancer came back. And I remember spending. Weeks going around stores crying, thinking, how on earth am I gonna disguise the fact I have one breast?

I had chronic pain, so I couldn’t wear a bra and a prosthesis. But six months later, and now I realize I don’t give a toss what anyone thinks, and I will walk around without a bra on lopsided, I don’t care. And it’s given me that freedom to think my breasts didn’t define me, they didn’t make me a woman.

That took time to get to that point. 

Will: [00:42:00] Yeah. Yeah. How long did it take you, do you feel like, to navigate that? I think 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: a good six months to a year, I would let my husband look at me. I would get dressed in the dark and turn around. I didn’t want him to see the scar and it wasn’t pretty because I’d had surgery before in two lots of radiotherapy, but now I’ve post topless with some photographs.

I don’t mind. This is, it’s just me. I now accept my body. But it does take. I’ve seen posted those have envivo. Yeah. I will look at women in, in bars and I like, I’m not learing at you because I fancy. It’s just such a pretty cleavage. I miss mine. , I’m assuming you don’t do this or maybe you do do the same , 

Kristin: other men’s testicles.

Will: Oh, um, I don’t routinely Do you 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: watch with envy? 

Will: No, it’s . . Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Uh uh, because sometimes it looks quite uncomfortable. Uh, you know, I’ve got you to wear, you know, jeans and, you know, you kind of always having to, to kind of read, uh, readjust yourself and, [00:43:00] uh, yeah. Not as much of a problem for me anymore.

It’s great. But the other thing, you know, there’s a, there’s a lot of men who have a testicular cancer who, who I never really had that, uh, you know, difficulty with accepting my body and the fact that I did not have testicles anymore. A lot of, and, and. I think part of that is just where I was in life and with a very supportive family and everything.

And, um, and, but, you know, particular prosthesis is a, is a big deal. Oh, deal. Great solving and yeah. It’s, it’s like, it’s, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an option. It’s an option. It’s good, it’s a good option. It just really depends on the person. Right. It’s, it’s all, it’s all about, uh, what you’re comfortable with.


Kristin: Um, ooh, that could be really fun though. Like if you have a prosthesis and people don’t necessarily, do you want to go bigger? Know that about you? You could do whatever you want, right? No, just like having them. Kick you and just be, do it again. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Show you how proud I am. That’s 

Will: [00:44:00] America’s Got Talent.

Kristin: It could be a really fun party out there. Yeah. . 

Will: Oh God. That’s, that’s, I didn’t, no think this would go in this direction. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: You strap the penis out the way though to protect it. It’s true. It’s 

Kristin: worry 

Will: about that, you know, the penis is, it can withstand a bit more a blunt force. Yeah. I would say, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: I’ll take your word for it.

Sorry, Chris. We gone down this line again. , 

Kristin: I mean, um, 

Will: okay. I’m used to it. That’s, is it my turn? Do I have Yeah, it’s your turn. I don’t think so. Okay. I, I have one more. I have one more. Okay. Okay, here we go. So, hormone replacement, we talked about that. Uh, it’s been a challenge. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of downs.

I can, lots of downs, , and I can tell, like I can tell when I’m getting low and I need to go back in and get more. So can I. I know. Yeah, it’s everybody can. And then being up when you’re up high. Oh, it’s great. It’s fantastic. So that those ups and downs are, um, though that’s a great cloud for me. [00:45:00] It is really frustrating to have to deal with that.

Uh, the silver lining though, is that because I’m already on testosterone replacement when I’m 60, I’m gonna have a great testosterone level. It’s, I don’t, I don’t have to worry, worry about it. I’ve 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: got it. Full head of hair virile or your muscles . Yeah, 

Will: totally controlled. It’s, it’s great. And so it’s, you know, something to look forward to, I suppose.


Dr Liz O’Riordan: can you get them to keep you on the full ale dose or do they drop it down with age or do you say, no, I do whatever I 

Will: want. Oh, really, it’s whenever you’ve lost them both to cancer. It’s, that’s the, your poor, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: your poor wife has to deal with these mood swings for the rest of your. Well, Uhhuh, 

Will: if we can even it out a little bit, it’d be, it’d be good.

It’d be good. You know, it’s, uh, yeah. 

Kristin: But another silver lining from that though, is you now understand what it’s like a little bit to be a woman. The ups and the downs. Mm-hmm. and 


Dr Liz O’Riordan: so when you get through the menopause, he’s gotta lay all the care on you. There you go. 

Will: I know very, very little about what it’s like to be a 

Kristin: woman, [00:46:00] but you have a taste.

You have a taste. Just like when you had your, your electric bra. Don’t gimme too much credit here. No, I’m not. I still think of 

Will: course. But yes, my electric bra was another, uh, instance with the cardiac arrest. I, I wore the external 

Kristin: def defibrillator. Got to understand what that is like. And, and these hormone, you know, fluctuations.

Like, you understand 

Will: what’s feeling taking that thing off at the end of the day. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Exactly. Because breast, it’s a heavy. How much do you think a 36 sea weighs? Oh my gosh. Good questions. Great. 1, 1, 1 36 sea breast. How much do you think it weighs? Just one, uh, three 

Kristin: pounds. 

Will: We’re using, we’re using, we’re not using the metric 

Kristin: system here.

Oh, no. , I can’t problem , 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: so, ok. Half, half a kilo. 

Will: That’s probably about a large sugar. Yeah. Large sugar. I would’ve guessed less than that, but 500 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: grams. It’s really a woman’s to 36 C. She’s got a kilo of weight strapped to her chest. That, 

Kristin: that 

Will: sounds like a lot. That’s [00:47:00] not a 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: some really what the kilo pound conversion is, but that way Yeah.

Will: Yeah. We, we should have, we should have learned about, uh, the metric system. The metric system a little bit more , uh, it’s a better system anyway. It is, but that is the 

Kristin: lot. That is a lot. Oh, let’s see, 

Will: what does that say? Oh, Aron, our producer, uh, says fantastic. One kilo is two pounds, little over two 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: pounds kilo.

And that’s just the one side? No, that’s, that’s the two. That’s both kilo’s device. That’s a lot though. That’s so 

Kristin: I was right one. No, I said three pounds. You, 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: you were over. 

Kristin: I was over. 

Will: That’s still, I mean, over the, that’s a lot, lot though. That’s, that’s a lot. 

Kristin: Yeah. You get back pain neck just a 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Right. Yeah.

That’s just a stickup. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve taken breasts off that of weighed more than two pounds. 

Will: Oh, wow. Well, we have touched on a lot of things during this conversation. Uh, we didn’t get to hear 

Kristin: her last one yet. 

Will: I, oh, oh, that’s right. Do you have one more? Yeah, yeah. Let’s hear. Oh, yeah, let’s hear. Let’s hear it.


Dr Liz O’Riordan: hear it. I think for me, a gray cloud [00:48:00] was losing my social network when I spent 18 months at home away from work, having treatment, feeling miserable, quite isolated. It was really, really, really lonely. But by tweeting and blogging, I discovered friends, many of whom I’ve met in real life, have become really, really close.

And it’s amazing what friendships you can develop just by reaching out to people. So that’s been a huge silver lining. And even now, so my mom died a week ago, and the messages of sympathy, sympathy and support I’ve had from complete strangers has just been incredible. I wouldn’t have had that without breast cancer.

I wouldn’t be talking to you without breast cancer. Mm-hmm. That’s gotta be a silver lining. Come on there, . It’s just, it 

Kristin: didn’t pay yourself. You gotta raise your bar. . Yeah. . . 

Will: But it is, you know, uh, there’s a lot of people complain a lot about social media and um, you know, some of the negativity and things, but there’s a lot of just community.

Dr Liz O’Riordan: The community you can build. Yeah. A real community. There’s good stuff out there. 

Will: Yeah. It really is. You just have to, you [00:49:00] know, you have to find, it’s to dig through all the nonsense. Yeah. And once you find it though, it’s, it can, it can really make a difference in, in your life. So, um, yeah. 

Kristin: I have a question for you guys.

Uh, listeners may, may wonder, um, What is it? One thing I, you know, I hear a lot is people, um, feel like they don’t know what to do to help. And I think that contributes to that isolation that you mentioned. And so, you know, as um, people who have lived with cancer, what is helpful, what can people do if they want to support someone in their life that that is going through cancer?

Dr Liz O’Riordan: That’s a good. That is a great question, and the first thing people say is, what can I do to help? It’s like, mm-hmm. . I don’t know. I’ve never had cancer before. No, I would know . I think the most important thing for me was just to stay in touch. Mm-hmm. , just to send someone a text or a card in the post, and I’ve got alarms on my phone reminding me to send cards to people.

Just that constant. A bit of contact saying, hi, I’m thinking of you. You don’t need to reply, but you’re in my thoughts [00:50:00] because after the initial I’ve got cancer, a lot of people run away. Mm-hmm. and you kind of find out that some friends can’t cope. And then it’s practical stuff. Just turn up and change my sheets or fill the freezer or walk the dog stuff I’m too polite to ask you to do, but don’t have the energy to do myself.

That’s what I would say. 

Will: Bring or bring a meal or, you know. Exactly. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: And, and that’s, or take my husband out for drinks. So he’s got some company away from me, , because I think it was all about me. I had a house full of flowers and cards and presents, and my husband, who was incredible supporting me through it and said he felt impotent because as a doctor he couldn’t make me better.

No one’s sending him a card. No one’s taking him out. And I mean, you must have felt that too. You need, you need that 

Kristin: Absolutely. As much as he does. It happens to, to the partner too. Yeah. It’s not in our bodies, but it happens to us. Yes. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. I think that logistical piece, that practical piece is, is something really easy that everyone can do that I hear over and over again from people was certainly true for us.

Like I would, I would agree. People are worried, I think that they’re gonna overstep or that [00:51:00] they, they won’t do it the way you want it done or something. Like, forget about all that. Just come in and help . Yeah. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: Just gonna say I’m doing your 

Kristin: laundry. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Don’t give us a choice cuz we’ll tell you No, that’s not necessary.

If you do, that’s fine. I’ll code won’t Exactly. Please come do it. Yeah. Be like a mom, like an overbearing mother . And just come in and take care of it. 

Will: Overbearing mother. But just tone it back. Just a tiny, make it just a bit. And then, and then, and then that’s perfect. Yeah. . Well, Liz, tell us, uh, so you, you talked a little bit about what you’re working on.

Uh, just let, let people know where they can find you and, and what you got coming up. 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: So my website is www dot liz dot ariden. Co uk, I think, sorry, mental slash um, if you put my name into Google, you’ll kind of find me and God, that makes me sound so I don’t mean to be like that. Um, no, it’s fine. It’s just true.

I still think I live in the country and don’t really do much. , um, on Twitter, I’m Liz underscore Adon, and on Instagram I’m at Ari and Liz and I spend a lot of [00:52:00] time tweeting, educating videos about what cancer is really like. My book, the Complete Guide to Breast Cancer is available on Amazon in the States, and that’s basically every question you’d ever want to know.

And it covers not just cancer, but mental health, physical health, depression, everything. My memoir is coming out in the summer called Under the Knife, and that can be pre-ordered through Unbound. And my next version of the podcast is coming out in. And the first guest is my mom. So my mom died just before Christmas, but she had her arm amputated in the summer because of a metastatic bone cancer.

And she christened herself the one arm bandit. And I got to talk to her for an hour about what her life was like. So she’s gonna be my first guest, and that’s called Don’t Ignore the Elephant. 

Will: That is, that’s wonderful. A wonderful thing to do, you know, at the, at the end of her life like that. And so I’m really lucky to have her.

I’m sorry for your loss and, uh, but it’s, you’ve done, you’re just continue to do wonderful things. I love your social media presence and, uh, for the education that [00:53:00] you’re, you’re giving 

Dr Liz O’Riordan: to people out there. So thank you. My mom said I share too much, but to me it’s just reaching and being honest and saying, shit happens and this is how you cope.

And if I talk about it, then maybe someone will know they’re not alone, but like, what you guys are doing, 

Will: we need it. Yeah. We need it. So we do. Thank you so much for joining us and uh, well thank you. It’s been a pleasure and we’ll talk again soon. Definitely.

All right. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite medical stories that were sent in by you, the listeners. All right. We got a couple good ones today. Uh, they’re always good ones. I dunno why I keep saying that. Yeah. Every single time I, I tell you, it’s gonna be a good story. Of course. It’s gonna be a good story you guys sent them.

Okay. So our first one comes from Shiva says, hi, I am Shiva from India. When I posted in my first rotation of pediatrics, my senior asked me to take a Venus blood gas of a newborn, and it was really difficult to get the sample out of the neonate. So that’s, you know, putting in a syringe, pulling up. Yeah, very tiny.

Yeah. Very, [00:54:00] very tiny neonate. Very, very small. I don’t know how people do that after many tries. Somehow we managed to get it before running the sample. When I was trying to push all the little air bubbles out of the syringe, I accidentally pushed too hard and the entire sample splashed on the notice board.

Over the machine and everywhere else around? No, no. I must tell you the Picasso art I created still lies on the notice board and leaves many people passing by in wonders. , how I wish my senior was wearing a unicorn headband that day. I hope the child is doing okay though, . I’m sure the child is fine, they’re fine.

And, uh, and I’m, I’m glad we need to talk about the cleaning skills. Mm-hmm. of, of the, the fact that’s, it must have been quite a mess to not be able to get it totally, uh, cleaned up there. But, um, uh, it’s, uh, not great. I feel bad for you, Sheva. I hope you’ve been able to, can [00:55:00] I, you know, recover 

Kristin: from Well, you left your mark anyway.

Will: Hey, the point is you’re able to get, uh, a, a, a sample from a neonate. Like, that’s, that’s something that’s, that’s, that’s something pretty good. There’s no way 

Kristin: I could, I don’t think I could either. I, I’d be better than you at it 

Will: probably. Oh, well, we don’t know about that, but I guess we’ll never know because I, no one, no me going anywhere near a neonate.

Um, so, uh, thank you Sheila, for that story. All right. Second story comes from Catarina. It says, one random story popped into my mind. 12 hour weekend shift, triplets, born on a Sunday. Insane number of referrals in a district general hospital. I worked as a pediatric, uh, senior house officer then, which we just looked up actually, because this is a UK kind of terminology.

Mm-hmm. . And that’s, it’s kind of like a resident, like a, like an intern. Somebody, 

Kristin: somebody 

Will: on the junior level. On the junior level. Um, a little bit. So the lowest of the, she says, uh, Catarina says the lowest of the rank in the [00:56:00] uk. She said, um, our consultant brought, bought us chocolate bars to thank us and feed us and somebody bend her.

Threw ’em away. Threw ’em away. Mm-hmm. threw him another, we’re we’re figuring out the, the, the terminology. So somebody threw away her half eaten chocolate bar. I 

Kristin: mean, that’s just cruel that she, 

Will: in any environment that she had temporarily, temporarily left unattended at the nursing station, um, she found it, fished it out of the hospital trash can and ate it.

Oh my. She still has no regrets. . And, uh, I don’t blame you, Catarina, for not having regrets. I would’ve, you don’t realize like when you’re like at that level and you’re working so many hours, eh, like 24 straight hours, like mm-hmm. you would do sometimes you need any, you also do anything to like, to eat something.

Mm-hmm. . And so I absolutely, I’ve heard of people. I don’t, I definitely don’t recommend this. Please do not eat a [00:57:00] leftover food off of patient trays, but. Does happen from time to time. Mm-hmm. Uh, and so there’s really no rules other than, you know, these, you don’t eat something that was on the floor. I’d rather eat something that was like, kind of like sitting on the top of a trashcan than on the floor.

What would be 

Kristin: in a hospital trashcan though? That would be my question. Well, it depends on the trash can. What? What is your. Chocolate bar adjacent to this. This 

Will: may have been such a trashcan. This may have been kinda like a George Costanza situation. That’s what I’m thinking 

Kristin: of, 

Will: right? Yes. Where it’s, it’s just sitting very gently on the top, on top of something uncontaminated you have to assume.

Mm-hmm. , uh, by the rest of the refuse. Mm-hmm. around it, you 

Kristin: know, you know, you guys work in hospitals, right. We try not to think about that 

Will: sick people. We can always blame the sleep deprivation. Sure. That’s, that’s true. So Catarina, uh, you know, you, you did what you had to do to survive. Yes. Okay. And so, I, I don’t, can’t fault you for that.

It’s okay. You’re fine. I’m sure. Hopefully you did okay after you ate your trash. 

Kristin: Yeah. We didn’t get to hear if [00:58:00] anything happened 

Will: afterward. So send us, those are great and we love those stories. Uh, send us more. All right. Send us our. Knock, knock

Well, we had so much fun with that episode. I hope you liked it. Uh, it was, uh, it was wonderful again to talk to Dr. Liz Oden. Yes, 

Kristin: she is a lovely person. Go check her out on 

Will: her social media. That’s definitely do it. Honestly. It’s a, it’s a great resource, uh, for everything, for kinda human connection, education features.


Kristin: has been, or will be a patient of something you get 

Will: to hear about, you get to hear for everyone. Some, uh, some UK terminology. Mm-hmm. and 

Kristin: her accent is just, 

Will: it’s great. Yeah. We love it. Kiss. She’s just fantastic. So you can send us your stories at knock knock high human Uh, let us [00:59:00] know again what you thought of the episode.

What you thought of the game. Yeah. Every, every episode I try to come up with a little game, little something we play if you An activity. Yeah. If you have an idea for something, let me know. I would love to hear. It’s kind of, sometimes it’s hard to come up with these things. I try. I try. I do my best. I do. I really do.

Kristen helps as well. Uh, but we’d love to hear, uh, some, uh, ideas from all of you. Uh, so email us, whatever you wanna talk about. Email us again. Knock knock high human Uh, visit us on our social medias. We have, we’re on Twitter, uh, we’re on, uh, TikTok. We’re on the other one. You too. That’s the excellent.

Uh, and, uh, you can also hang out with us and our Human Content Podcast family on Instagram and TikTok at Human Content Pods. Thank you to all the great listeners leaving wonderful feedback and awesome reviews. We appreciate it. If you subscribe and comment on your favorite podcasting app, we’re on YouTube.[01:00:00] 

Hey, we might give you a shout out. All right. Like ya on Apple said, uh, I became acquainted with Dr. And Lady G just before the pandemic. They have some stuff to say. . You sure do, and I’m delighted to listen to them. Thank we. We do have, we have lots of stuff to say. Uh, we’re just scratching the surface here.

All right. So, uh, also, uh, somebody else said, uh, 2023 has just gotten better. Well, that’s, let’s great. It’s, uh, it’s, we’re only a few days into it, but, uh, uh, I’m glad that there was already room for improvement, uh, just right off the bat there. Mm-hmm. . So, uh, our episodes can be found on YouTube. Full episodes go up every week on YouTube at d Glock reflecting on my page, uh, Paton has tons of cool perks.

Bonus episodes you can, where we react to medical shows and movies. Hang out with the knock, knock, high member community. We are active in it. We’re in here. Maybe I 

Kristin: should start posting embarrassing pictures of you there. That might be good. Yeah. Yeah. I like that 

Will: idea. Okay, Uhhuh? Sure. [01:01:00] Yeah, if you wanna see that, although I, I don’t think there are any embarrassing photos of me.

Cool. Trigger on the, with the Patreon, you get early ad free episode access, interactive q and a livestream events, A lot more is coming out. flecking or go to our website, glock Speaking of Patreon, community perks, new members, shout out. Now we have some catching up to do everyone.

All right, this is the first episode we’re recording after we’ve launched the Patreon and we’re overwhelmed with the response. We got a lot of new members here. Uh, tar p Beth w Joyce O, Julia T. Reese, m Ethan b I’m really good at saying names, by the way. Uh, uh, oh, I should have, I shouldn’t have said that too soon.

Cap Captain Maine, wearing captain wearing, uh, you know, you know who you are. Captain Maine wearing, uh, Leah, s e n p, Lisa, b l n j, Tucker p Kelly, b Matt m. It’s like a sing song kind. Agich, Jessica h, Sophie, b, [01:02:00] Jacob, a Chris, and, oh, I, I didn’t, you gotta go down to your base. Um, shoutouts to all. The Jonathans.

The Jonathans. You know who you are out there, Patrick, Lucia, C, joy, N Sharon, S Omer, Edward, k Abbey, H Stephen, G Robox, Jonathan F and Marion w. Thank you all. Patreon roulette. Shout out to Claudia H for being 

Kristin: a patron. You went Spanish with that one. Claudia, Claudia, Claudia, 

Will: Claudia, . I, I did not do that on purpose.

Thank you all for listening. We are your host Will and Kristen Flannery, aka. The Gleans. Special thanks to our guest, Dr. Liz o Reardon. Our executive producers are Will Flannery, Kristen Flannery, Aron. Korney Rob. Goldman Shahnti, Brooke Ja. Our editor and engineer is Jason Porto. Our music is by Omer Ben-Zvi.

To learn about our knock-knock hives program, disclaimer and ethics policies, the mission verification licensing terms [01:03:00] at HIPAA release terms, you can go to glock or reach out to us at Knock knock with any questions, concerns, or fun medical puns. See, I, I, I just went, I 

Kristin: saw that.

I just kind of like Improved. No, I’m just, I’m just, I’m feeling go where it goes. 

Will: Um, knock-knock High is a human content production. And now here is the new Moby Trailer for his new. Hi, I’m Moby, and this is Moby Pod. Well, to be honest, this is a trailer for Moby Pod, so I’ve been making music and art and doing all sorts of things for most of my life, and I have decided to go where many people have gone before I’m making a podcast.

I know I’m not reinventing or inventing the wheel, but I love talking. I’ll be joined by my co-host, Lindsay Hicks, and we will be interviewing tons of people, artists, musicians, actors, philosophers, and we’ll talk [01:04:00] about animals and spirituality and music and existentialism and various apocalypses and puppies and naked mo rats and anything and everything.

So please feel free to subscribe and we’ll be releasing a new episode every other week, and hopefully we’ll talk to you very soon on Moby Pod.