This is the dress that started it all. The red dress.
I had just that week found out I had Stage 2 Triple Positive Aggressive Breast Cancer. I learnt that I was incredibly lucky to have caught it. Another 6 months and it would more than likely have been stage 3 and a very different diagnosis. I was a mess but I was also determined.
Four days after my diagnosis I went to a posh evening black tie event.
Usually I would wear black or navy to these events. Both are slimming colours that hide the bumps & lumps of too little gym time and too much indulgence. That week though I was suddenly facing the news that I was fighting for my life.
I suddenly felt quite gung ho. I felt bold and brave. I had spent the day at Redditch Hospital having biopsies taken and was sore. I was bleeding and in a certain amount of pain. I had a dressing around my right boob and was seeping from a rather large biopsy hole.
I was realising already that this next few months I would need to gather every ounce of fight and energy that I could muster. I was realising that I couldn’t face this fight without being strong, bold and positive. I was already in my mind bracing myself to fight hard and strong. I woke up every morning that week in tears. I did not want it to be real and wished it wasn’t but it was. The tears were not helping. Life had thrown shit at me. Life has determined that I would need to fight for my life. My life, my future, all my plans were in danger. I needed to face the challenge and somehow find the strength to fight back. I needed to get the big girl pants on and really get those superhero powers up to speed.
I am fortunate to be that person that was born an optimist. I am at heart always positive. I look for positives and find them in so many places. That comes naturally to me. I also look for the positives in people. That’s just who I am. I have crap days, don’t we all but they don’t get me down for long if at all. See I was taught that life wasn’t expected to be easy or without hardship. I was taught to face those challenges and tough times with a smile and a plan. I was taught that was life. Life might not be easy but we don’t let it beat us. There can be good times ahead.
When life threw this shit at me I have to be honest and say there were moments when seeing the positive in the big picture was not easy. But I determined not to let it beat me. I might not be able to control cancer but I can can control how I face it.
So on that night, there I was sore, bleeding and dealing with all this stuff going round my head and well let’s just say that a black dress didn’t seem right. A black dress seemed somehow mournful and grim which is not at all how I felt.
So I dived into the back of my wardrobe where I had this red dress. A dress I had bought many years before but not been brave enough to wear. It was too bright. I looked fat in it.
Suddenly I didn’t care. Suddenly I wanted to be bright and bold. Suddenly I didn’t care if I looked a bit fat. Who cares about fat when cancer is trying to kill you.
So I wore that red dress and I put the red lipstick on. I put big hoop earings in and I promised myself I would never back down from this fight. I would fight bravely and live strong. I would wear red and laugh in the face of cancer.
It picked the wrong girl to mess with !
Cancer in a red dress was born.
I started a facebook page this week. To go with the blog. You can follow me at Tonya Cancer In a Red Dress where I will try and keep track of all the various social media posts, thoughts & comments. I also added a Social Media page on here with my Instagram feed on it.
Since the start of the blog I have since gone on to really embrace the Red bold colour into my life and my wardrobe. I have worn a few red gowns, red jeans, red shoes, red t-shirts and red dresses. I still love my denim, navy & blue in general and for work I am not sure Red will be evident every day but I plan to stay brighter and bolder in my every day life from now on. This is my new normal. Forever changed.