When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in January 2015, my life changed. This might seem an obvious statement, but it did not change in the ways you might expect. Or at least, not only in the ways you might expect.
There were tears, fear and grief. A reshuffling of priorities. Scheduling of surgeries and biopsies and medications and scans and blood tests. So many bloody blood tests.
But there was also a strength that emerged and continues to surge through me, like nothing I’ve ever felt before. There’s a strange sense of relief. Scintillating clarity. Lots of hugs, and “I love yous”. Precious nurturing. Above all, a re-connection to spirituality, my relationship with which had become faint and trivialised in my life. A sense that I truly am being taken care of, both physically and within a bigger picture. And a red-hot feistiness that insists it’s not my time to go yet, with still far too much to do, see, achieve and experience on this planet.
In short, I’ve become more myself this year than I have ever been. I know who I am, what I need and what I want for myself, my health and my life.
The strength and positivity I’ve found through this journey have not come about through band-aid like optimism. They’ve appeared when I’m honest, real and learning to move through life, day by day, with a focus on what works, what helps and what I need.
In creating this blog, I want to share the journey with you. Not just the journey of the challenges and practicalities of dealing with cancer (of which there was startlingly little information available), but also the gifts, strengths and inner resources this experience is revealing to me. I want to share stories of recovery, insights, what worked, what didn’t and how we can make this journey a little less lonely for us all.
And more than this, I want The Red Shoes to become a community of like-minded explorers who are learning and sharing what it is to live a meaningful, soul-directed life. I invite you to share your stories, questions, fears and dreams here. Plus, there’s always The Red Shoes Gallery for some light-hearted, devastatingly good-looking distraction.
My love affair with red shoes began when I was eighteen, and over the years they have become my talisman for strength, resilience, courage, compassion and kick-ass power. (You can read more about the story behind “The Red Shoes” here). When I was looking for a name for this blogged collection of thoughts and experiences, it struck me as the perfect fit (pun intended).
Although it is by necessity a lonely journey at times, I want you to know that you are never alone.
Life’s too short … wear the red shoes,
Emma, July 2015