After being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, Sherin lost her usual zest for life. Thankfully, she’s now rediscovered it – but it came from an unlikely source.
Cancer made me forget who I was
I had dealt pragmatically with my two previous breast cancer diagnoses in 2016 and 2017, receiving the usual therapies and treatments before defiantly throwing myself back into work and routine and mirth.
But, in 2019, I received my third cancer diagnosis, but this time it is incurable. It shrouded and erased any semblance of what had previously been normal to me.
The cancer cells had gone rogue, infiltrating my bones and bone marrow. I lost the ability to walk. I had become invisible to the able-bodied and was overlooked by those with vigour. Work became infrequent and increasingly impossible. Pastimes became irrelevant. I forgot who I was, what I was capable of, what had driven me for five decades.
And then I came across the Trinny Tribe.
I am re-learning how to be kind to myself
The Trinny Tribe is an online community for enthusiasts of the Trinny London makeup range – but it’s also so much more than that. The Tribe filled in gaps for me of which only my subconscious was aware.
The friendships I have made there are no less solid for having been established in a virtual reality. They are founded upon honesty, mutual respect, and a willingness to factually express vulnerability.
A simple, honest message I posted on the Tribe pages was where it all started. The positive response was astounding. In parallel, the Trinny London HQ gifted me a care hamper. I was taken aback (in a very good way) and wrote to the head office to thank them. And so began a deep, abiding and organic relationship with the organisation.
At a time when I had forgotten how to smile, the Tribe – my safe space – gave me permission to laugh and showed me how!
For the first time in a long time, I am allowing myself to be relentlessly kind to myself.
I am stunned by the support I’ve received
The Trinny Tribe is where I seek solace, companionship, and the kind of rumbling belly-laughs that bubble up among friends and cushion us in difficult times.
During a live interaction last summer, Trinny told me that a decision had been made to name a Lip2Cheek product after me. My reaction was – in the first instance – stunned silence, and then an outpouring of emotion off-camera!
To this day, I remain somewhat shellshocked at the honour given to me.
I was privileged to have been given the opportunity to nominate a charity to receive a meaningful proportion of the proceeds generated from the sale of this product, and I have chosen Breast Cancer Now.
I have found Breast Cancer Now’s services invaluable
Breast Cancer Now has accompanied me in a variety of ways as I’ve progressed along a five-year cancer ‘journey’ I fervently wish I had never had to undertake.
Still, I could not have asked for a more supportive or effective companion. Early in 2018, Breast Cancer Now mentored me through their Moving Forward course: a nationwide support programme designed to equip primary cancer patients with a host of resources and tools to help them proceed with their lives and flourish.
I had no idea that I was to be dealt an even harsher blow down the line, but the programme helped me more than I had thought it would. It brought me together with others who had either completed or were still undergoing treatment, and made me feel less alone.
The course moderators handled the content with sensitivity and insight, participants shared their narratives and experiences in a safe setting, and I left the programme enriched, empowered, and emboldened.
Supporting Breast Cancer Now means so much
My association with the charity did not stop there.
In 2020, a year after my third (metastatic) cancer diagnosis, I participated in the 12-week LIBERATE study. The study researched the usability and effectiveness of a supportive, self-management-focused website for women living with secondary breast cancer. I was glad to be helping the cause and saw clear merit in equipping patients with a self-management tool, thereby empowering them to take charge of their condition.
I’ve also recently registered for the Living with Secondary Breast Cancer Online programme. I hope to benefit from community insight and experience, to share my own narrative, and thereby help others as I draw upon the support offered by the course content.
All these things are facilitated by the charity so, every time someone buys Sherin Lip2Cheek (that still sounds so surreal!), they are doing more than they potentially know. They are aiding the cause, furthering research, helping people and enabling them to smile. And smiling is what lips do best and to greatest effect!
I am still rediscovering myself
The products in the Trinny fold are gaining ground, and the emphasis on wellness is compelling. The products inspire the community, but are not the end-point of engagement. What looms larger is the movement towards empowerment within the community.
Before Trinny London, I had a basic skincare routine, but the Tribe drew me in and allowed me to open my eyes and my heart to the immense power of self-care. I take the time, now, to linger over skincare and thoroughly enjoy each facial massage! To some extent, self-care offsets the clinical burden, making it more bearable.
It is also within the Tribe that I am rediscovering my love for writing, versing and reciting. Rediscovery is still relatively new to me: I’m learning and growing all the time.
I read and rhyme, I continue to enjoy food and little, indulgent treats. My three Cavalier King Charles Spaniels bring me just as much joy as they did before, and I refuse to subject my family to doom and gloom – and so we joke and smile and laugh and banter every bit as intensely as we ever did.
Thank heavens I opened myself up to possibility. Thank heavens I allowed myself joy.
I’m not done yet!
Trinny London have teamed up with us to help create inspire, support and empower women affected by breast cancer. Get you own Lip2Cheek kit to help us with our cause.