A continuing personal project for me…Jennie invited me to witness one of her chemo treatments recently.
Jennie is always an inspiration. So together…with her party hair and fake eyelashes rocking her treatment. She is a survivor. You can see it in how she walks. This was a tough round though…and, she has been tough all the way through. This time…she had a harder time, but her words to me still ended on a positive note.
“My fingers and toe nails are really sore and feel as though the are going to fall off and I have trouble doing things with my fingers (like buttons and such). My body was painful from the inside out, as though everything was screaming at me to rid itself of the toxins. It is a strange process to feel my body go through. Two days after the chemo I started feeling flu like symptoms. By the 3rd day I was is so much pain that I had difficulty making it up and down the stairs. That was the feeling for about 4 days. Then it was as though the toxins are literally working their way out of my body through my skin. As the pain lessens inside I have started getting achy skin. My thighs, arms, shoulder blades and tummy are all sore to the touch and my scalp hurts to wear my hat or hair. My mouth has been like burning sandpaper full of cotton balls and yet i’m starving all the time (well, so my brian thinks) and I’ve put on a bit of weight. However, since yesterday I have been feeling about 50% better. And, on the plus side, I don’t have much of the nausea, I haven’t grown a hair on my leg for about 2 weeks now and I feel ‘happy high’ when I have nothing that needs taking care of!”
This treatment was in March. And, if everything is on schedule, she would have had her 5th treatment yesterday. So, she is back to feeling like this(or worse). I’ll be thinking of her this weekend…I’ll be wearing the bracelet she gifted me. For me, it has been a month of cancer news. An uncle who we thought had it beat is succumbing to it after all. A dear friend’s mother was diagnosed and began her own treatment. It’s a good reminder to live your life. Do the things that are important to you. Don’t work too hardbecause you don’t know when you’ll be uttering the words ‘I should have worked less. I didn’t realize…’ Words my mother heard recently from her brother.
And, because you will all ask about her–my mother is doing really well. She is off galavanting in Arizona with her best friend(they’ve literally been friends for FOREVER). Her hair has grown back and, although she still has days when her energy disappears, she is well on her way to a full recovery.
The wonderful thing about this project is I have gained friends. Friends I would have never met. Not to mention the huge amount I have learned about my own process. I cannot stress enough the importance of personal projects to working artists. You should always have at least one on the go. If you haven’t been following the project, please take a moment to scroll back through my other blog posts to read their whole story. If you are so moved to help this family out, they are collecting funds to help cover the unexpected child care costs they are incurring. If you have been following, we all thank you.
Below are pictures of me(yikes!) with Jennie and Adam Brade. I always tell people that I love LOVE and theirs is a love to be admiredhow lucky am I to witness it?
PS…Jennie has finally started her own blogYou can follow her thoughts here.