I found the lump in my right breast by chance whilst having a shower one sunny July evening. I had cancer.
At the beginning of 2014 I was a dancing builder. My partner and I were both dancers, me classical ballet, him fine dance (I never really did find out what that was?). We had a building and renovations company together. We were happy, we were living and working together, most people’s nightmare, but for us it worked.
A dirty pint at the end of a dusty day on site. Living in a beautiful three story house in the Laines with my partners daughter, and Pushka Bob our darling cat. We were financially secure enjoying the finer things in life. And then came the blow.
I found the lump in my right breast by chance whilst having a shower one sunny July evening. After taking my breast to the docs, within a few weeks after all the prodding, poking and investigations I was given the diagnosis that we all fear.
I am diagnosed with cancer
A particularly nasty kind at that, it was Triple Negative. I had no idea until then that there are different kinds. It had spread to my lymph and the only way forward was surgery, chemotherapy and followed by five weeks of daily radiotherapy. This was not going to be fun.
All the clichés are right. Time stands does still, the world does stop spinning, words being spoken are just white noise. I’m sure anyone in reading this who has been unfortunate enough to be given a cancer diagnosis will have experienced something similar.
A cancer diagnosis changes different things for different people. For me and my little family unit, it tore us apart. I was no longer able to be a dancing builder, and being self-employed our income was pretty much halved overnight. I could never have predicted that my diagnosis was the very thing I needed to push in to living my best and most authentic life
After the initial shock of receiving my cancer diagnosis, I settled into this weird cancer bubble.
First the surgery and the complications that brings both physically and emotionally.
Then the dreaded chemotherapy
Then the dreaded chemotherapy was looming.
Weirdly, I dying wasn’t scary at this point. I did not want to loose my hair. I was having my very own pity party, wandering round Brighton (my home city) feeling close to tears about the imminent loss of my long blonde curly hair. The head of hair that I had spent a small fortune on over the past few years since ditching my grungy dreadlocks for proper grown up hair. I was seriously drowning in my own sorrow…
Finding myself approaching my hair salon, I froze, looking through the window saw that my hairdresser was free. I went in, plopped myself down in the chair and got a rather dumbfounded Annie to shave half my hair off.
This was another one of those moments. I no longer felt fear, I felt empowered. The Diva that was my Cancer was not going to be allowed to control me. And all the treatment it was going to take to kill her. I was going to smash the living daylights out of her, hair free and proud.
It was in the coming hours after my fabulous undercut that the Different Daily Headgear Challenge was born.
The challenge would involve me taking a selfie every day during chemo, wearing something different on my head and posting the pictures on Social Media. I wanted to raise awareness about breast cancer, especially in younger women – and men. I also wanted to raise some money for Macmillan Cancer Support. But most importantly I wish for something to help me get through the following months. One day at a time.