Music can play an important role in navigating cancer treatment. For me, I remember the days when I had no hair, was weak andscared. My mom and I were watching a movie, and the song “Crazy” came on by Seal. The lyrics are: You’re never gonna survive, unless you get a little crazy!
My mom grabbed me, twirled me around and we started crying, dancing and shouting the lyrics to this song! This became my mantra through cancer, and perhaps even life.
Psychology Today states: pleasurable music may lead to the release of neurotransmitters associated with reward, such as dopamine. Listening to music is an easy way to alter mood or relieve stress. People use music in their everyday lives to regulate, enhance, and diminish undesirable emotional states (e.g., stress, fatigue). Plus, research shows that music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life.
Now meet Trish Michelle and Tiffany Dyba.
This fierce duo is on a mission to create a community of outspoken, passionate and dedicated people won’t let cancer define them.
Trish and Tiff are New Yorkers who met at Friendsgiving celebration during the pandemic and instantly connected. What they didn’t realize was how much they had in common:
- Both are breast cancer survivors.
- Both found their own lumps in their mid-30s and neither had a family history of the disease.
- Both women had double mastectomies with reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation and turned to support groups to connect with others.
- And, both felt out of place attending traditional support groups.
Trish and Tiff were much younger than other women in their respective support groups and needed to find a community to talk about challenges like dating while in treatment, navigating their career and concerns about fertility and sex.
After connecting around their journey through cancer, they found they had more in common than they thought. Their love for hip-hop and need for connection during COVID-19 shutdowns led them to launch a fun, upbeat and inspiring Happy Hour every Friday night on Instagram Live, known as @hiphop_happyhour. This happy hour is full of fun, uplifting music and conversation and is “a place where you can feel safe, can come as you are and voice whatever you want to say,” says Trish.
Join Hip Hop Happy Hour every Friday night at 7pm EST / 4pm PST on Instagram Live
The dynamic duo also launched a movement called “Reclaim October” helping to redefine pinkwashing and raise awareness of what fighters and survivors go through post-cancer treatment. This past October, they raised over $19,000 in one month for various breast cancer charities – including Fighting Pretty!
Like Fighting Pretty, Tiff and Trish are transforming the way we talk about cancer and honor ourselves as women who have been diagnosed by this disease.
“I like to say, cancer really begins when it ends,”Tiff says. “In the midst of surgery and treatment, you’re in a whirlwind. Butwhen the dust settles and you have a moment to process, you realize you’re sad, terrified, and angry. And all of that comes to the surface just as your team says, ‘See you in 3 months.’ That’s the time when you need support the most.”
Back in December, we invited Tiff and Trish to join us for one of our monthly Fighting Pretty Conversations and we had a blast! We danced, we cried, we shared our favorite songs and connected on a whole new level.
Plus, Tiff and Trish created a special Fighting Pretty playlist on Spotify – now available for you! Enjoy, and rock on with your beautiful, badass self!
Kara Frazier, Founder of Fighting Pretty
// MORE ABOUT TRISH //
Trish Michelle is a cancer thriver, public speaker & advocate. She was in her 30s when she was diagnosed with late stage invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer).
Realizing that the second hardest thing after hearing “You have cancer,” was finding a strong community of peers with which to bond and support through difficult times. As such, Trish volunteers her time with numerous non-profits and serves as anambassador for the NY chapter of The Breasties.
Trish works tirelessly to raise funds, awareness, provide representation and is actively fighting systems to create an inclusive and progressive movement toward equity, particularly in the cancer and chronic illness community.
Tiffany Dyba is a former fashion recruiter turned entrepreneur. Tiffany now runs a successful consultant business focusing on high growth startups. She has worked with organizations such as Brooklinen, Prose, Birdies, Parsley Health, and many others. Tiffany was also recognized as one of Business Insider’s ‘Most Innovative Career Coaches’ focused on helping women realize their true worth and potential and ditch their unfulfilling careers for onethat makes them happy and that maximizes their potential. Tiffany draws from her experiences working for big brands such as Burberry and Tiffany & Co, and has been featured in Fast Company, The Muse, Yahoo News, Thrive Global and many others.
In 2018, Tiffany was diagnosed with Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, at the age of 35. Tiffany has since made it her pesonal mission to advocate and support other young women who are navigating a breast cancer diagnosis. She began blogging her experiences using the name C.D.R.E.A.M which stands for ‘Cancer Doesn’t Rule Everything Around Me’ a play on the popular song, C.R.E.A.M by the WuTang Clan, highlighting Tiffany’s love of hip hop music.
Tiffany has become a thought leader in the breast cancer community, and is an active member of TheBreasties online community for young women navigating reproductive cancers. Tiffany has been featured in Women’s Health, The NY Post, Thinx, and Tiff and Trish have been featured in Healthline and TheSkimm as a featured ‘S’kmmr of the Week.’