Monday, March 7, 2011

Breast Cancer Series: "Plumage".....



Breast Cancer Series: "Plumage"....


Yesterday my family received the extremely unhappy news that my husband's aunt, who has battled breast cancer in the last few years, is now to be receiving hospice care. The last time I saw her, a little over a year ago perhaps, was when her family was visiting from several states away, and she was ostensibly in remission, while I myself was still actively in treatment, somewhere between chemo and radiation. I recall how we compared notes, in that way that cancer patients/'survivors' (not crazy about this term personally -- wish there was any other..., but what to use?) when they meet up are apt to do. She was glad at the time to have it all seemingly behind her. It's quite terrible sometimes how quickly things can change. Her teenage son is exactly one month younger than my own....

It all serves to remind me how I have had occasion and privilege to meet so many women living with cancer by now (and so many of them young and relatively young), along the way in my own cancer journey -- and each and every one of them with their own stories to tell. In this piece, the third in my Breast Cancer Series, I think I tried in a way to symbolize them all.....

The title, "Plumage", as per my ongoing 'bird' theme, refers to the often colorful, patterned, and artfully tied headscarves worn by women during active treatment. Although I myself frequently preferred personally to just go 'au naturelle' in my chemo-induced hairlessness (it was summer at the time, and hot), I still wore my share of hats and scarves, amassing quite a collection of them (many made and given to me by friends). I always admired the women who could manage to sport theirs with real style and flair. As for myself, the pretty-but-silky scarves often slipped around on my naked scalp, or were tight, or uncomfortably hot -- so sometimes just going without anything at all seemed the easiest and most comfortable and practical solution to me. Thus, during my bald phase, I ran around 'natural' in large cities and small towns and everywhere in between, yet never with any undue attention. In fact barely anyone even batted an eye -- I do believe everyone's seen it all these days (or at least has had enough friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc, go through cancer treatment to understand what's going on). However, while I myself felt practically liberated by my own state of baldness, I certainly can empathize with my fellow cancer patients who choose instead to remain covered up, with their very own manner of 'plumage'......

9 comments:

Gloria said...

You have been through some very rough time and I'm very sorry about that. It seems thought that you have a lot of strengh. It's very sad about your aunt. What can you but pray. Prayer's are with you and your aunt. Take care.

Patience said...

Thanks so much for the comment and good wishes, Gloria -- indeed, while it's all been a trial it's also been an amazing learning and strengthening experience. And I do consider myself one of the lucky ones -- still here after all, and plan to be for a long, looooooong time! ;-) Thanks again!

Gaby Bee said...

I just wanted to thank you for signing up to follow me.
During the past 5 weeks I was, without any internet connection!
But since yesterday, thanks God, I'm on-line again!
I enjoyed looking at your paintings...they are stunning!
I'm sorry to read you have been through some very rough time. Stay strong!
Sending big hugs and positive thoughts across the miles!

Gaby xo

Tau said...

So sorry to hear about your aunt, Patience. *hugs*

Patience said...

Many thanks, Gaby and Tau...

DeanO said...

I'm glad I found your blog - you touched my heart and certainly encourage many!

Patience said...

Thanks for the comment, Dean -- so sorry to read about your ill friend....

Shelley Whiting said...

I love this piece and love how stylish and beautiful the women look. My mom always wore her scarf with courage and personality.

Patience said...

Thanks so much for the comment Shelley -- indeed, in this painting I did try to capture that certain spirit of the many women I've been privileged to meet throughout this experience. But in any case, my condolences to you regarding your mother Shelley -- my own mom is a lymphoma survivor, and I would have been very bereft myself to have lost her.....