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Cancer Patient Finds Healing In Art
A woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago has found art can be both a physical and emotional healer.
On January 18, 2004, Carol H was gearing up for a 40-mile ultra-marathon. Her boyfriend wanted her to wear a water pouch that straps on like a back pack. She felt the pack pinching and started to wrestle with it, only to find a lump in her upper right chest.
"It was really high near my shoulder, but I knew exactly what it was," Carol said.
Her mother died of breast cancer when Carol was 35. Eight months later, her father died of cancer. Carol knew all too well what cancer meant, but she wouldn't go there.
"I thought I might be in for a lot of suffering, I might be in for a lot of challenges, but I wasn't going to give in," Carol said.
And she hasn't. Despite five painful surgeries that have left her with limited mobility in her right arm and hand, Carol is determined to continue teaching, running, and fighting.
Part of that fight includes art.
While her two shelter dogs chase squirrels and birds around the many fruit trees that dot her property, Carol threads beads, small pieces of glass and a little metal angel into a bracelet.
"My mom collected angels and since she passed we've all worn angels every single day," Carol said.
Carol's mother is represented in other works of art. So is some of her anger, some of her fear, and some of her hope.
Her pieces include sculpture, watercolor and weaving. They are all the result of Carol's time with the Cancer Center's art therapy program.
"It's (art) relieved anxiety and hidden anger and hidden fears I didn't know I had," Carol said.
When she meets with her fellow cancer patients and she begins an art project she gets to escape her cancer, or gets to confront it head on.
"I had been focusing on everybody else and trying to be positive, so it was essential to my healing to get rid of these negative emotions," Carol said.
There are ways to fight cancer and they donít all involve poisonous chemotherapy and cancer-causing radiation. You have choices. Read this column to find more articles to bring you hope in these times of despair. You have options that donít have to compromise your way of living.
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