Saturday, September 29, 2012
As an artist I need to feel inspired to create and have always been fascinated by the rich culture and spirituality that India offers. Before I got sick I worked for an artist in NYC who showed me Indian shadow puppets he had collected in India. I became very fascinated with them. The shadow shows begin with an invocation to Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva, who is treated as the patron God of all puppets. These puppets are huge double-sided, and colorfully painted on thin leather. The best part is that the artists sing while they are painting them! Part of the beauty of the art is the process. I love that.
At times I didn’t know if I’d make it out alive. There are no words for how evil cancer is. After my diagnosis of Ewings Sarcoma my whole life changed. I lost my health, my hair, my job, and my energy. As a young adult I felt very alone and unable to relate to lifelong friends. I wouldn’t have made it without their support, but I felt like an alien. I lay in a hospital all year watching while they were all getting engaged, promoted, married, etc. I asked myself many times. “Why me?” Did I deserve this? Emotionally it is very tough. Cancer tries to strip you of everything. It can’t take your spirit, though. I had to focus on things I did love … like art. Through this journey I’ve been inspired to return to school to become an art-therapist and help others.
I’ve found that the best medicine is connecting with others who have also suffered. I met a girl my age during my treatment who had Ewing’s too and we quickly became like sisters. We have a lot in common and I look up to her because she had won the battle with grace and beauty. If she could do it, I could too! We have talked for hours about cancer, jokes, dating, dying. I can tell her anything and she understands. Unfortunately cancer always knows the right (worst) time to show its ugly head. I just found out my dear friend has a recurrence after 3 years of being in the clear. Now I am there for her.
No one tells you what life’s going to be like after cancer treatment. After 17 cycles of chemo lasting a full year, 12 weeks of radiation, and multiple surgeries, the world asks you to be a normal young adult again, to start where you left off. It’s impossible! Ewing’s Sarcoma not only messed with my body it messed with my head and broke my heart. Slowly I’m trying to pick up the pieces. Although the uncertainty of my future is scary, it’s also kind of exciting. I’m in the perfect position to start an adventure! I have nothing holding me back. After my last Chemo cycle my dad gave me a necklace of the Hindu god, Ganesha, who symbolizes New Beginnings. I am ready for my New Beginning!