Have you ever noticed in life those threads… the threads that seem to weave the parts of your story into a tapestry… slowly taking shape until finally you see what life is trying to teach you… what life is asking you to show up for… what life is demonstrating to be your purpose in this world…
For me, this tapestry has unfolded to reveal my place in this world… and from this reveal I have found Creative Transformations… or you might say that it found me…
My cancer story started the morning I woke up from a dream that I had breast cancer, the dream that allowed me to find the lump which had begun to grow. Six weeks later after putting my youngest on the bus for his first day of kindergarten, I went to my PCP to have her look at it. The following morning I was scheduled for a mammogram, which turned into an ultrasound, which turned into a biopsy… a very long and increasingly more stressful 5 hours. Four days later I had the results, it was triple negative breast cancer and the sample was saturated with cancer. Ultimately they staged me at 3a, but not until after they had biopsied my hip and scanned my chest to try and clear the concern that it had metastasized. I was terrified.
In reality, my cancer story really started when I was 19, the year that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both she and her sister ended up with breast cancer at the age of 43, 30+ years later my aunt is healthy and cancer free, but 7 years after my mom’s first diagnosis with cancer it returned, Stage 4, and she died within a year at the age of 51. I had the privilege of being one of her caregivers, of being by her side when she died… but it was nothing that I was prepared to handle.
Ultimately, it was this experience of profound loss that spurred me to become an art therapist, for I began to be acutely aware of the many ways in which we experience grief and loss in this life, yet we have so few ways to process it fully enough to let it go and reclaim our lives.
When I found out that I had cancer myself, I had a long conversation with the Universe… asking it why must I learn everything experientially?!? I think the only thing that really got me through that spiritual dilemma was knowing that somehow, some way, if I made it to the other side of treatment, this life experience was going to influence the work I did.
Initially I had no idea what that purpose would be, so I did as I always teach my clients to do- I listened for my instinct, I listened for my wisdom, I allowed my creativity to guide me. I began to make breast casts, knowing that I would have a bilateral mastectomy after chemo was done, and I wanted to capture what my body was like.
It wasn’t until after treatment ended, until after I had attended the annual Young and Strong conference at Dana Farber for breast cancer survivors 45 and younger, that I began to understand what I wanted to do to support my cancer community- any cancer, not just breast cancer. I knew I wanted to blend my personal and professional experiences to support the emotional wellbeing of cancer survivors- those in treatment and those who have finished.
Because cancer is not simply a medical problem and yet the emotional needs of cancer survivors are often overlooked, unaddressed, or neglected.
The traditional approaches of only talk therapy are not enough to fully heal the body, mind, spirit and self.
The healing from cancer is not a linear process, so to be successful in supporting my community, I knew I had to develop techniques that cancer survivors can learn in order to be able to lean on them in a moment of need.
I wanted cancer survivors to be able to move from surviving to thriving, which meant that I could not take a singular approach- it had to be comprehensive. It had to declare the importance of having a healing team, with the foundation being a comprehensive assessment and game plan of the multiple needs at play- recognizing that this assessment would need to happen time and time again until the final goal had been reached…
The goal of recognizing yourself again… of being able to navigate the choppy, turbulent waters of the unknown, of the future… of being able to process through what has happened and then being able to re-assimilate the experience so that it is no longer screaming to be acknowledged…of being able to find a deep inner peace in the midst of the storm.
It wasn’t until a year or so into Creative Transformations when a memory came to mind… a memory of my mom between her first and second diagnoses, telling me about how afraid she was… about cancer coming back, about what she had been through. That brief glimpse into her inner world was totally stunning, because I would have never guessed that she was so deeply impacted by the experience.
We cannot remain silent anymore… because our silence hurts us.
When this memory surfaced, I gasped because all at once I saw the tapestry of my experience, of my life, laid out before me in its entirety, rather than just a small section.
I finally understood what I had been moving towards for my entire existence.
I thank you for being here to witness my life purpose, to explore this deep labor of love that I hope will bring you towards the emotional wellness and healing you deserve.
Explore the pages, read about my offerings, and contact me- because I want to be on your side.