Nothing at dog&boy is ever done without intent. Everything is considered, done with purpose, and meaning.
This musing is part story, part therapy, and a whole lot of emotion.
We talk often about how we tell stories through design. Our scarf designs are created to uplift the spirit, provide comfort or simply to connect to a moment in time. Stories of love, loss, joy, courage, and resilience. Stories that are individual yet also familiar to so many.
Often, we receive stories from customers who have given or received a dog&boy scarf and how it’s made them feel. It’s a privilege that they have shared their stories with us.
But more than just stories, the designs are about a connection to moments we loved and would love to have again.
So many of you have commented on the story of my mum, Margot, who passed away from brain cancer just as I was launching dog&boy in 2015. I didn’t think much about it when I wrote about it, but her passing had an impact of what and who dog&boy is.
Little did I expect though, that I would ever be adding to the dog&boy story.
Writing my own story
You know that moment when someone tells you something and you gasp loudly thinking, ‘Gosh, how terrible, I never want that to be me.’.
Well, I became that gasp moment not so long ago. 29 June 2022, about a week after my 48th birthday, I became the 1-in-7 who was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage-2 HER+ (queue audible gasp 🙃).
I was now a statistic, a percentage mark on the scoreboard of life.
I love dog&boy. I love the experiences it has given, the people it has connected us with, the opportunities it has brought. But it has taken me some time to think about what to write or how to write about my story.
I didn’t know how people would react or what they would think once I put it all out there.
I kept asking the team, ‘what do I say?’; ‘who really wants to know about this?’; ‘who really wants to know about me?’.
They then reminded me about why dog&boy exists. dog&boy is not about being some trendy fashion forward brand, keeping up with the latest TikTok fashion craze. We exist to make you feel good. To bring a smile to your day, even possibly when it is pretty crap. To add something simple but gorgeous to your everyday outfit, to make you feel just a little bit special.
Flat & Fabulous
Those who have physically met me know that I was at the front of line when they were handing out boobs – I was blessed with more than ample (thanks mum!) but learned to hide my G-cups pretty well.
3 weeks after diagnosis, I said goodbye to my G-cup girls.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my G-irls. They brought me equal parts pleasure and frustration, but strangely, the decision, whilst surreal, for a total mastectomy was purely academic; my goal was to not only survive this disease but thrive. To minimise its impact on me, my loved ones and my life going forward as much as possible. I have way too much to live for and still too much to do and see and experience.
I was ‘fortunate’ that the progression of the disease had not spread to other parts of the body, so I avoided needing radiation or chemotherapy, only a long-term course of hormone blockers. Overall, my prognosis is excellent.
But it’s a bit of a peculiar place to be, having something that identified you for most of your life to suddenly be gone. Oddly, it’s been far more liberating than I had ever expected (not to mention it’s opened a whole new wardrobe style for me!) I feel far more confident and at peace with my body now than I’ve ever felt before. It has survived a huge trauma and, so far, this disease.
So why am sharing my story? Well, as you know, telling stories is what we do at dog&boy. Stories of love, loss, courage, and resilience. But much more than that, I know my story will be so familiar to many others.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. At some point, we will all be touched by breast cancer – 1-in-7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
There is a whole month dedicated because breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. It is not just an ‘old lady disease’. It is not just a heredity disease. In fact, hormone positive breast cancer accounts for 80% of all breast cancer diagnosis.
Breast cancer is not a preventable disease, but it is highly treatable. Which is why constant research and support is vital.
But more importantly is self-awareness. Don’t wait until you get to that 5-0 milestone before you start regular breast scans and checks. And if you’re over 50, then please don’t put it off any longer. Do something today.
If I had of waited another 2 years, this post would read very differently.
Thanks for coming along on my journey with dog&boy and reading to my story.
And as always, please keep sharing your stories with us.
Leesa and I are so pleased to hear your prognosis. As you may be aware we have known and have been following your progress since diagnosis.
An excellent result for you. You look well and happy.
Thank you for sharing your story, you have brightened my day. There are very few, if any, who have not been touched in some way by breast cancer. Your message of self-awareness is very important. Everyone should check regularly and not ignore even the smallest change. Get a second opinion if need be.
24 years ago, I chose to have lumps removed even though they tested negative. Medical advice was we will watch and monitor. I was not keen to wait until they perhaps became positive. I have never regretted that decision. Important for everyone to remember that it is our body and our decision to make.
Take care and journey well.
Wow. Such dignity and grace. Every story is unique to the individual. I’m glad for you and your family that your story ends with the happy acceptance of new fashion options. Classy. Keep well. Thanks for sharing.
I already have purchased 3 or 4 scarves from you and now I am on a breast cancer journey. I’m wondering if you have thought about smaller squares that are just a neck tie to perhaps tie around plain coloured head wear to brighten up the plain colours. I would like to tie them on top or to the side or underneath just to add some glamour and colour. Even some lovely bandanas would be good. Hope you get what I mean and thank you for your story. Be well.
Dear Sonya, I was so sad to hear that you are a 1 in 7 victim but how wonderful it is that you have caught this in time and that you have such a great attitude towards life despite your affliction. My sister lost a leg to osteogenic sarcoma and she had similar attitude. My best wishes for your continuing recovery.
Thank you for sharing your story – I think it very important to be able to write about ourselves, whether it’s good or bad other people do benefit from reading other peoples journeys.
I admire you for feeling comfortable within yourself after your double mastectomy – it takes a lot of courage and I admire you for having that courage.
I have the privilege of owning a few of your beautiful scarves and when I wear them I always feel special – thank you for that feeling and I have given some dogandboy scarves for presents and they have always been appreciated.
Keep well and thank you again for writing your story and for beginning dogandboy. Best wishes. Libby 🤗