[🎨] 14 Self-Portraits I Took During Chemotherapy 📧📰
I had a slow growing cancer that likely began in my early 20s and wasn't discovered until my late 20s when it had reached stage 3. Cancer is a shit show, but I was excited to take my bald head and make art with it.
- 1.SustenanceIt was hard to eat anything, but I had to try. It was hard to take care of my self and ask for help in all the ways I needed it, but I had to try.
- 2.MeditationOn many days meditation was all I had the energy to do when I wasn't sleeping or vomiting. I wish it helped more than it did, but at best it kept my mind off things.
- 3.Love.I felt very loved during treatment, but so many people don't know what to say, and even say a lot of shitty things to people with cancer. It was like the beauty of a rose with the prick of a thorn.
- 4.ZealI wanted to smile and that meant humor for me. I needed humor to survive the sorrow. Positive thinking does nothing for me. I needed to laugh.
- 5.Inner SpaceI'm an introvert. I entertained myself with stories and creative thoughts when I was the only one awake at 3am.
- 6.Brain FogMany times I "woke up" to find I'd been standing in the dining room, staring at the blank wall for I don't know how long.
- 7.FocusChemo brain made it hard to focus. The people around me listened to me repeat the same things over and over because I'd forgotten I'd said them.
- 8.DreamstressSometimes it was wild, vivid dreams that kept me at peace.
- 9.InternalI'd watch the sun rise and think about decomposing and feeding the dirt that grew the roses where the birds sang in the morning.
- 10.IdentityI'd think about the weird creature I was becoming. I didn't recognize myself in the mirror.
- 11.TaprootI'd think about the new growth that would come, after chemo killed off parts of me the way fires burn whole forests.
- 12.AlienI was an alien in a daze. I had so few people to connect with. I had so few people who know what it was like to be young with cancer. I had no one who knew what it was like to have my cancer at my age with my surgery type. But people looked to me for hope. People spoke as if I radiated hope. They felt connected to me in ways I couldn't feel connected to them.
- 13.HomesickI was homesick for a place I could never go back to. I grieved the death of who I had been, because I could never be her again.
- 14.ArrivalAnd here I am, living in this beautiful nightmare of PTSD; a body damaged by cancer, chemo, radiation, and major surgery; and everything else that comes with remission. I'm in my 4th year of remission. My body still causes me pain every day. I'm still limited in what I can do. I'm still a mess. But I'm alive and I can't help but be happy to have more time with the people I love.