On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pardon me but there are chemicals in my brain

I don't do well when there are too many transitions in a day, when I am called upon to play too many roles on life's stage. I get discombobulated, pulled in various directions and start acting like maybe I've got chemo brain or something which I do anyway, even on a good day. This morning I had a 9:00 chemo appointment an hour away so not even the coffee had time to jump-start my temporal lobes. Today it was both Herceptin and Aredia so I was there for a while but Beulie was at my feet and staff played with her and gave her treats and petted and admired her. She's such a good doggie, I really think she might graduate next year and make someone a fine service dog.

If I could have just sat quietly and watercolored from a photo I probably would have settled into myself and come out OK but today was one of only two field trips each year. The "trip" was about a block from our classroom, hardly foreign territory, but I had never painted outdoors before and was clueless as to how to begin. I compounded it by painting a tree and I don't know how to go about painting trees yet (which was why I chose it, figuring I would learn). The more I mixed and the more I layered, the more I knew I was in deep over my head. But it was a wonderfully beautiful day. Unlike our friends in southern California who are suffering mightily, we northerners are having one of the most gorgeous weeks of the year. In the park it was warm, there were children playing, there were colorful trees, historic buildings, tourists and delicious scents wafting out of neighboring restaurants.

I worked in my office for two hours, suddenly focused. I can do that. Then I took Brix for a walk. And then I collaged and all the day's lack of cohesion became evident. What I want most is a hot shower and a book in bed. The last thing to bring my day back to perfection. After all.....I am alive. I am making medical history by staying alive so much longer than expected. I am so incredibly, blessedly alive.


  1. I like your tree. It's simple, there are some interesting textures with the color in the foliage, and the falling leaves attract the eye with their shapes and placement on the page. And you painted outside!! Good for you!!

  2. the tree looks great! i'm hoping to join the club of painting en plein air early november with a few friends.


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