I painted this watercolor to illustrate what it feels like when you’re seriously ill and on treatments. It’s as if the world stops and you’re waiting for the time when you can join it again and go on. I had breast cancer in 2001 and I painted this shortly after I finished the chemo and radiation. The poetry is from a poem written by Emily Dickinson, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul/ and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”
Here’s a little poem I wrote after I lost my hair. (Don’t cry. It’s not sad.)
When chemo’s heedless stroll across my head
Swept silent heaps of hair upon my bed
It left the coconut like polished chrome
To light the way at night when going home.
And now I’m shivering and much, much colder
With no more use for bubbly “Head & Shoulders,”*
And instead of daily wash and blow
I shine the dome with swipes of “Mop & Glo.” *
By Jewel Miller
Cancer is a dreaded disease, and for a reason. But its not all bad. There are good things that come from the experience, namely, going bald from the chemo. There’s a saying that bald is beautiful, although I never agreed with that. But I will say that bald is cool (as in temperature-wise,) it’s handy, and it’s freeing.
Cancer is also a good time to reflect over your life. It’s a time for seeking peace with God and your fellowmen. It’s a time for humility when accepting kindness and gifts from others. It’s a good time because it helps us realize how intertwined our lives really are with our family and friends, our community, church, medical professionals, technology, and most of all, with God. Cancer is good. It’s frightening. It stinks. It hurts. Sometimes it kills. But because of the truth of 2 Corinthians 1:7 it’s good. May God be praised!!!
My husband and one of our daughters have had cancer, too. And recently another one of our daughters had a benign spinal tumor removed. (We are suspecting we had bad water on our farm during our children’s growing up years.) If you back up to the beginning of that chapter in 2 Corinthians 1 you will see where our comfort came from. We praise God!!!