Thursday, September 11, 2014
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month----hence I'm aware of one of my two cancers and thankful for all positive happenings I got in its aftermath. Should you or your contacts be thinking of donating to a breast cancer cause, how about this one? :)
We made it! Thank You all! A check is in the mail to My Hope Chest! (Nov. 9)
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
NBC interviews F**K the Big C from William Evertson on Vimeo.
show at eve-N-odd
-daytimeonline.tv: Telling Cancer Where To Go
-St.Petersburg Times: defiant Art: F the big C by Lennie Bennett, 9/8.
-Creative Loafing, F**k the big C!
-All Events in St. Petersburg, F**k the big C!
-The Tampa Bay Newspapers: Beacon, Leader, Bee, Just 4 Women by Lee Clark Zumpe, September 2011.
- The Island Reporter, October 2011 issue, p. 9 and p. 21.
-On eve-N-odd's blog 'Ria Vanden Eynde and My Hope Chest'.
-On Bill Evertson's blog: 'Post F**k Cancer'.
-On Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog: 'Creatively Coping'.
Purchase one of my pieces here and help me fund a reconstruction for a breast cancer survivor via My Hope Chest!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Next week I will be in FL opening the F**k the big C! (He)Art's Healing Power group art show at eve-N-odd gallery, 645 Central Ave #11, St. Petersburg, FL.
So why the F word? It's simple enough for me:
-I have no reason to be polite to cancer. It hasn't been courteous towards me, neither of the two times it struck. Using the F word in a show title can be educating. When we are confronted with our impotence, using expletives may help us vent our humongous frustration. The ** reflect the energy it's used with ;)
-Don't you find it heart wrenching how policies will allocate big funds to kill people off in conflicts and war while we have a hard time struggling to get funds for something life sustaining as cancer research?
-Wouldn't it be awesome if eradicating cancer from our bodies would be as simple as saying "F**k You Cancer"?
-I have cancer, bloody hell, I have two, three actually if you're counting types! One of then NOT under control and, well, are they ever? Still, they sure will not have my spirit as long as I'm breathing. They will not have me. That and mainly that is how I give (my) cancer(s) the middle finger.
F**K THE BIG C! is for all those who went through it, for all those who're going through it, for all those who live with it, and for all those who were taken from us by the disease.
Jennifer Kosharek, eve-N-odd gallerist and myself will be interviewed by NBC's local morning show Daytime ... this Thursday morning so please tune in! Check out the article in Creative Loafing HERE. Then I'll be at the eve-N-odd gallery Thursday 9/8, from 6-8 pm, 645 Central Ave. #11, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Delicious food catered by Courtside Grille! And some pink drink! I hope to see you there!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Donations go to local cancer support projects, including $40 of each of my prints sold to My Hope Chest, a Tampa based NPO helping uninsured breast cancer survivors afford breast reconstruction surgery. Signed prints (they're all on the above poster) will also be available for pre-order through summer here.
There is a Mail Artist Call attached to this show, mail artists can send a F**k the big C! 4×6 postcard to the gallery to be put up. Visitors can take one home in exchange for a donation ($5 suggested). The postcard donations go to the American Cancer Society Benjamin Mendick Hope Lodge in Tampa. Also, email a jpg of the card to email@example.com and they will be documented on the blog Art on the Road and fckthebigc.tumblr.com.
The show was the idea of Jennifer Kosharek, gallerist at eve-N-odd. She suggested doing a group show after we discussed sending my painting2cancers pieces to her gallery. I dreamt of donating part of my sales to a cancer support organization. Jennifer suggested I'd co-curate the show. So I contacted two of my cancer survivor artist friends, Branka Djordjevic (Luxemburg) and Betty Esperanza (Canada), who were immediately won over by the idea of doing a group show to raise awareness and inspire. We feel that although we are changed by going through cancer and so is our individual art making practice, we emerge as stronger women and artists. We feel enriched by the experience and are dedicated to Live our Art Life to the fullest. That's how we're giving cancer the middle finger and that's what inspired the show's title.
While I was browsing on the web and facebook for groups and pages that would allow us to post our event, I came across My Hope Chest and its founder Alisa Savoretti. They immediately struck a chord. When I was dxd with cancer I was doing research in Applied Ethics at the university on a voluntary basis, trying to get funded. Had I not been married, I would have been on my own and I would not have been able to get a bilateral reconstruction. At that time, I was reluctant to go through yet another surgery. I was even considering having the amputations and nothing else, thinking having breasts would not be so important ... It is huge! Having 2 cancers may have changed me. My thyroid cancer marker suggests that there is residue tissue that needs to be monitored and I carry quite some lines on my body. Yet, when I look in the mirror, when I look at my new breasts, I see a radiant woman. That's what having a reconstruction did for me. Wouldn't it be wonderful if my donations could help do that for another woman?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
This image is done using a photo of the trees outside my hospital window when I was in there for my breast cancer surgery. The trees reminded me of a Greek Chorus in Greek tragedy, a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action. They were there to offer a variety of background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance. In many of these plays, the chorus expressed to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their hidden fears or secrets. The chorus often provided other characters with the insight they needed.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Betty Esperanza, Branka Djordjevic and I will show works at the eve-N-odd Gallery, 645 Central Avenue #11, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA in September this year. We plan a long summer of promoting the show so as to make it count beyond a gallery exhibition, to get the message across that while we are changed by cancer and so is our individual art making practice; we emerge as stronger women and artists. All three we feel enriched by the experience and are decided to Live our Art Life to the fullest. That's how we're giving cancer the middle finger.
F**K THE BIG C! show runs through September, opens September 8 with live performances, Gallery Walk on September 10. Donations go to local cancer support projects. I will be showing pieces of my blog painting2cancers and have made signed prints available for pre-order here. For each sold piece, $40 will be donated to My Hope Chest, a Tampa based npo helping uninsured breast cancer survivors afford breast reconstruction surgery.
Want to support us too ? Send a F**K THE BIG C! postcard to the gallery before September and we will put it up! Visitors can take a card home in exchange for a donation of their choice! (suggested $5 donation). Mail me a jpg of your card at fckthebigc(at)yahoo(dot)com and it will be documented on my blog Art on the Road and on fckthebigc.tumblr.com
F**K THE BIG C! is for all of us who went through it, for all of us who're going through it, for all of us who live with it, and for those among us who've passed away.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
(with this photo, I won the Photo Essay Competition by dearthyroid.org)
(a poem by Kathleen Raine)
Said the sun to the moon,
You cannot stay.
Says the moon to the waters,
All is flowing.
Says the fields to the grass,
Seed-time and harvest,
Chaff and grain.
Said the worm to the bud,
Though not to a rose,
That wings may rise
Borne on the wind.
said death to the maiden, your wan face
To memory, to beauty.
Says the thought to the heart, to let her pass
All your life long
In the alchemy
Of the world's dream?
says the stars to the sun,
Says the night to the stars.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
I look for me
Friday, April 1, 2011
The Shape of Death
What does love look like? We know
a poem by May Swenson
Monday, March 14, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Acrylics and resin on a mono print, 4by6. Entry for A Book About Death, Life! Entered in the permanent ABAD : Life archive as part of the Presbyterian College Art Collection, Clinton, South Carolina.
from Psalm 55
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
I enjoy working with women with a wide range of body types and life experiences. Cancer survivors are just one of the groups who have found participating in the project to be a positive and emotionally healing experience. Over the past twelve years, more than 500 women have participated in the project. I’m grateful for all of the interactions I’ve had through this work -- I have learned from and been touched by the openness, courage and generosity of each model.
For more info on The Breast Portrait Project, visit:
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
But look :) in the photo, where the tree branches are getting entangled and you can't see which is which anymore, where the darkness is most intense, that's where the brightest light is ....
Friday, January 21, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Monday, December 20, 2010
I love how they are lying there between the lilacs, also my favorite spring perfume. So, let me post this piece as my holiday wishing card. There's a stack of snow lying outside, and hopefully, warmly covered underneath, a seed is getting ready for spring.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Within 9 months I had two cancers. Friends, and doctors, assured me, meaning well, that I would not have a second cancer in less than a year. Kind of isolating when you're worried. I tested negative for Cowden, a rare genetic syndrome combining thyroid and breast cancer, which would have put me at a higher risk for uterine cancer. What a relief.
In Belgium we have a high detection rate with mammogram screening. I wasn't even in the target age group. Mammograms can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. The key word is can. The imaging technique has its limitations. Sadly enough. Trouble started because I had felt a small hard lump in my left breast, size of a rice grain, exactly where one of my tumors was found .... The radiologist advised a biopsy, to be sure, after all, calcifications can be benign. Usually. I had three tumors in my breasts, different types left and right. What are those odds?
Doctors think statistically. Makes me think of the psychology diagnostics course I took. They teach you that if 75% of the population has brown eyes, you will be approached as having brown eyes. That's how it works. If you happen to have green eyes, tough. It's a problem, I think. It blinds doctors for the specific patient sitting in front of them, the woman whose breasts carry cancer ... It's tiring to be in a statistically small group as you are lumped into the norm that doesn't apply. Modern Experimental Science. Sad.
I'm thinking of all the women and men, whose cancer isn't detected early, who fall through the cancer cracks, through screening or otherwise. I could have been one of them. I guess I'm lucky. Sad.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
"Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place."After that stay I was put on levothyroxine, for the rest of my life. Since I heard I may not be rid of all cancer tissue, I think about that past cancer trajectory again ... I wrote another poem a while back, about what exactly those meds mean for me.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Life without my thyroid,
Life with cancer…
Never the same again.
Exhaling, letting go.
Searching to embrace a new life
Simply breathing, here and now.
my poem on dearthyroid.org
Monday, November 1, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
I've suffered the changes
of mountain and sea,
wind and cloud.
And yet be still young,
~Soyo Taeneung (1562-1649)
Monday, October 4, 2010
You can see that pastel in the seeking kali video in my side bar, it's the first image on there.
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
~T.S.Eliot, from 'Dry Salvages.'
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Well ... it's all happening!
One of the pieces I submitted to an art call by Mobius.Inc in Boston, MA, The Prostitution of Art, made me feel all of that amplified. Funny how that happened. I've participated in many a call so far and many a piece of mine traveled. You can check my log Art on the Road ;) My friend Bill Evertson went to the opening and shared a video about the exhibit, co-curated by another friend of mine Jane Hsiaoching Wang and watching it, I just felt a part of the whole thing ...
Here's my piece, I used a drawing I made when I was in my teens, measuring with Da Vinci ;) I shot it on our ironing board, which to me funnily fits with the theme of the show and then photo-shopped over it.
And here's Bill's video, my piece is at 1.28 in the video, in the magazine Mobius prints for the show :)
Friday, September 17, 2010
The Art Cure's focus is to introduce the power of art in healing and coping with the dark sides of life while raising funds for charity. Breast cancer victims and survivors are invited to paint a canvas for a silent auction with proceeds benefiting breast cancer awareness and research.
Friday, October 1, 2010 is The Art Cure’s projected opening at Horizon Gallery in downtown Savannah, GA for invited guests and press. Sunday, October 3, 2010 is planned for a public reception. For more information visit the official blog:
I decided to donate Elysium:
The deadline for sending works is September 26th. Info here. Still time!
In the meanwhile two of my friends, Kathleen McHugh and LuAnn Palazzo generously donated a piece to be auctioned off-clicking their names will take you to their pieces on The Art Cure's blog. But also: they both dedicated their work to me ... and I was moved to tears. Love you both! XXX
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I don't remember now how I found out about them, but I do remember I knew immediately what to answer ;) You can click my image to go to their site and read what I wrote to go with it.
Friday, September 10, 2010
-Never again! The fiber board that is, acrylics and pastel: wow!-
15 by 17 inches.
After my reconstruction I wanted to do womanly things ... Don't ask me why. Some (female) friends asked if I felt less of a woman after my left breast amputation. I never knew what to answer. I still don't. Between the two amputations, I went into shops to try on clothes to see how the asymmetry felt to me and to see if and how people reacted. I remember that I got to feel I wanted to have a reconstruction done in the long run. A couple of months later my right breast was amputated and both were reconstructed. Since all of that ... I just notice that I look for nice shoes, fitted clothes and that my hair gained importance. I don't analyze the stuff. Womanhood redefined? Womanhood rediscovered? Womanhood appreciated? ... I just enjoy going along with it.
Monday, September 6, 2010
This post is part of the Dear Thyroid Blog Tour, i.e. during the month of September, Dear Thyroid is going on a blog tour to promote awareness for thyroid cancer. 'For this blog tour, we’ll be asking bloggers to write a post on their own blog that addresses some questions provided by Dear Thyroid regarding thyroid cancer and thyroid cancer awareness. On the day we are scheduled to make a “stop” at your blog, Dear Thyroid will post a brief description of your blog along with a link from our website to yours.'
So, here’s the Q&A ;)
-What kind of thyroid cancer were you diagnosed with? How many years have you been a survivor?
In March 2005 I had a thyroidectomy, followed by RAI end of May for papillary thyroid cancer, 4,5 cm left lobe and spread to some 3 or 4 glands. I just found out that the Thyrogen test I took in August, shows there's residue tissue ...
-September is thyroid cancer awareness month. What does that mean to you? Why do you think awareness is important? How do you spread awareness?
This September, thyroid cancer awareness month, I want to take a moment here, on my blog, to remember. Remember what getting cancer---my 1st, 9 months later, I was dxd with breast cancer---meant to me. What it meant for my body, my relationship, my surroundings. My physical and emotional status, so to speak. But also, I post on this blog as my very small way to spread awareness. Thyroid cancer is rare, not many people know of it and often it just falls between the folds of the other cancers that get more talked about. I think that also has implications on early detection. I’d say, ‘peeps, feel your necks!’
-Many thyroid cancer patients have been told, “If you have to get cancer, thyroid cancer is the one to get.” What do you think of that statement? When you’re told this, how do you respond?
As a thyroid cancer patient/survivor, you’re often told ‘it’s the one to get.’ “Frankly, I’d rather not ‘get’ any, you?” is my default answer. I put that statement down to ignorance from an attempt to be comforting, easier to deal with for those who say it? And ignorance. Out of ignorance, hurtful things are said … The treatment trajectory and prognosis vary according to the type cancer you have, it’s not as straightforward as it seems-thinking that it is, is a cold approach which feeds the myth-after all, bodies differ…-that’s the warm approach.
-Dear Thyroid is constantly working to dispel the myth that thyroid cancer is the good cancer or the easy cancer. What other myth would you like to dispel regarding thyroid cancer?
There’s another cancer myth about it that roams, you can live your life the same way without your thyroid ... After a thyroidectomy, you’re thyroid IS a pill basically. You take a pill daily, for the rest of your life. Hopefully, you’ll be able to manage the hyper-level they put you on as a way to control the cancer that may lure in residue cells. Hopefully you don’t suffer too much from side effects. Hopefully you get on the right dosage easily enough. Hopefully they managed to spare nerves (vocal chords and shoulder) that are in the neighborhood while taking the thyroid out, hopefully they managed to spare most of the 4 parathyroid glands in the process, otherwise leaving you to also take calcium supplements for the rest of your life. Hopefully, hopefully ….
-What one thing would you tell the world about thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer sucks! It’s out there! Check your necks!
-What advice would you give to a newly diagnosed thyroid cancer patient?
A lot of information addressing treatments, follow-up, strategies, I looked up for myself on the web, in books, in support groups and by asking questions to my docs and fellow patients. I’m a person who wants to know. It gives me (the illusion of) some control maybe, it gives me peace of mind, reasonable stress levels, certainly. Nothing is more nerve-racking to me than not knowing what’s going on in terms of treatment.
Note to this post:
Very early on, for this blog I made “Moth,” to recall my thyroid cancer. It’s one of my most gripping and one of my best pieces, I think. I never really got to post a text with that painting. Too poignant. But this blog-tour post? Suits just fine! Thank you “Dear Thyroid.”
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I was very sorry to hear yesterday that we did not completely eradicate you by excising you and bombarding you with radioactive iodine of 100mCurie.
As a young girl, I admired Mme Curie a lot, so I imagined she'd be a great ally while we were trying to nuke you out of my system. On the other hand and in some distorted way, it all makes sense. You're a part of me. You're feisty.
Still, I wouldn't get too confident if I were you.
Don't even think for one second that you got it made -wherever you are.
I'm way bigger than you.
And I'm a hell of a lot feistier!
Friday, July 30, 2010
I'll be back tho, with a new series femininity, that's in the making :)
In the meanwhile, thank you all so much for visiting and leaving your comments and feedback.
They're very supportive and I love reading them!
It tells me that I (still?) can't really 'control' my emotions in that moment, when docs go there, even if I've had the experience of two cancers. I'm guessing that, if they'd say, it's back or you have a third cancer, the wave would rise and I'd be overwhelmed again, though I'm certainly stronger in coping with treatment strategies, acceptance, the not knowing that accompanies the cancer, any cancer. That moment, in which they go there, the wave rises and I('ll) have no defense.