This is a turning point in the Art Therapy blog posting. I was expecting this to happen. The only unfortunate part is that the objections have come form people who have not read the blog.

The sessions are a safe place where people are encouraged to speak their mind. Someone taking notes might appear intrusive. I take notes to ensure accuracy in my posts and thoughts. The wording of what is said is so important. Did they say angry or upset? I have an excellent memory for these things. Is there a difference between taking notes inside the sessions, or jotting down similar notes after I walk out? There is a difference in how people feel as you are taking notes in front of them. I would have hoped that the openness which I showed would have been reassuring, but it appears not to be so.

No pictures either. I am allowed to take them outside the session but not inside. Not sure how that works. It doesn’t. So no pictures. I made a point of letting everyone know I was taking notes. I gave them the blog address. I asked before being allowed to take pictures. What happened between the second session where people were so open about letting me take pictures of their thoughts, and today?

I have made a major point of being discreet in my postings. This has not been difficult. Not an imposition by any means. A given under the circumstances. I have been very careful with the information I divulge. There has been nothing of a personal nature, for instance. The participants will recognise themselves, but no one outside the group will be able to tell who is who. The nature of the blog has also been positive. At least I hope it has. Am I surprised that people are uncomfortable? No. I was hoping for a bit of largess considering the huge amount of good this is doing to so many people.

The comfort of the group is of paramount importance. The nature of the post will change starting with this one. You will still benefit from the highly polished and amazing art that I paint, but there will no references to others, or a description of what they have painted. There will be comments, or more likely questions opened for discussion based on what was said. These will be of a more general nature. Human beings being what we are, there will also be cross fertilization going on. There is really no way of holding back a thought process that was provoked by what was said in the sessions. These might be used to start a fresh posting based on that thought. No offense intended to anyone. No judgments. No recrimination. No antagonism. The reactions of one and all are fully understandable and do not need either explaining or defending. It is what it is. A bit like having cancer. It is what it is.

The choice of colours in our paintings is interesting. Mine are pretty stark with a dash of colour. Others exhibit much more lively or darker colours. I have mentioned the liberal use of blue and green. The first dealing with water and its attributes, the second with new life, and freshness. Both dealing with coolness and calmness. Using darker or lighter colours reflecting our mood or state of mind. Even within a painting, starting with darker colours and somehow gravitating to lighter ones brings up a host of questions. Is your mood getting better from painting? From attending the sessions? From talking? From being around people you feel safe with? Why did you feel darker at the beginning?

A thought that crossed my mind at one point that had nothing to do with anything in particular has to do with interpretation. I have had a lot of trouble with art in general. How do you know if something is good or not? Does it matter? I often look at art and wonder if this is a piece that will be famous in 10, 15 or more years. And I missed the boat by not buying it now. I was talking with a friend about this, one day, oh so many years ago, and they said that I should stop torturing myself. Art is what I make of it. What I see. Nothing more or less. We bought a piece from a student at an art show a few years ago. It is a narrow piece painted on wood showing a clothesline from which hang a number of t-shirts that are a bit torn, with an inscription in Arabic. Second from the right is a perfect t-shirt with the Roots logo on it. I asked the girl about the political message behind it. Much to my surprise, she said there was none. She just painted it. She designed those t-shirts and like the look of it all strung together. I was shocked to say the least, and based on that premise alone, had to make the purchase.

All this to say, is there a possibility we are over-analyzing or paintings? Seeing convenient truths or perceived truths where there are none? I am not sure, but at some point, felt that sometimes, the message is pretty clear. Or we just painted for the fun of it. Let it be. Not sure.

My Painting

Cancer Thistle

Cancer Thistle

The painting depicts a thistle growing inside the body of a person, well OK, a man. The thistle represents cancer with its amazing roots invading the body.The thistle has some medicinal purpose. I chose it because the thistle is full of thorns that hurt when touched or come into contact with.

I played rugby while in boarding school in England. One of the fields we played in was full of thistles. It was so bad that you were careful to tackle someone only if there was no thistle around. Added a whole new dimension to the game.

The person is balancing Anger and Tranquility on the two scales neither winning the battle but equalising each other. Anger wells up in our bodies and is quelled by tranquility.

The person is standing on a bed that gives him strength. The list includes: Steadfast, Friends, Support, Hospital, Drugs, Food, Alternative, Meditation, Visualization, Safe Place, Prayers, Faith, Strength, Attitude, Perseverance, Humour, Depression, Self Pity, Exercise, Lies, Truths, Family, Insurance, Finances, Travel, Rest, Sleep, Guilt, Participate, Cook, Clean, Shop.

There was little doubt that the moderator was moved by the piece and thought it was very powerful. But again, no discussion. We had run out of time.

The eye is not red, contrary to what it looks like, but brown. No idea why it looks red.

The Real Thistle - with Bee

The Real Thistle - with Bee

I am saddened by the events of the day. Love the people who attend. So it goes.

It is difficult to know what is your worst enemy. Somehow the all seem to be tied in to each other in a big conspiracy.

Sleep deprivation is probably the worst offender. It leaves you defenseless against anything else.

Anxiety comes a number of sources, the most likely of which is lack of knowledge.

Depression, well I don’t know about that one. I think I will stick with the first two for now.

I appear to have tackled the sleep thing very effectively. I do not sleep through most nights and find myself waking up and going downstairs to do something. Invariably, it means eating some fruit, reading the news on the web, watching TV and discovering that there really is nothing on, and going back to bed. We are fortunate to have a bed in the family room that no one is using for the moment. Provides a good place to lie down, toss and turn without disturbing Janet.

Anxiety is a whole different issue. The solution to anxiety, in my case, appears to be knowledge. I was anxious before the operation, though quite numb. The anxiety disappeared once the operation was done and we had a better idea of what to expect.

I was VERY anxious before the first chemo session. The anxiety was exacerbated by the lack of sleep. Janet tells me they were all very concerned over my well being and had no idea what to do to help me. That’s OK, I had no idea what to do either. On the way to the chemo session, I suggested that I would probably be better once the session was done and it became a more known entity.

The second session resulted in a day of anxiety as opposed to what happened before the first session. We are expecting the third session to be even smoother.

There seems to be no end of items to add to your anxiety though. The H1N1 vaccine is the latest. I am definitely on the list of people who should get it. There are side effects, or potential side effects such as fever. I have been told to get the virus as close to the next chemo session as possible. Something to do with the levels of my platelets. I am not allowed to take Tylenols to reduce temperatures that are created from having chemo. I have to go to the hospital if my temperature reaches 38. How do you reconcile this?

My third chemo session is to take place next week. Followed about a week later with a CT Scan to study the effectiveness of the treatment. And that is where the anxiety starts, both before the scan, and after, to the time where we see Dr. Hedley for the results. Janet and I discussed that this morning and we are attempting to come up with plan to do something to reduce the amount of anxiety that we feel certain will take place.

My brother intends to visit me in the next couple of weeks. That will distract me forĀ  while and reduce the anxiety levels. My sister also intends to visit at the same time. The risk, though, is a huge increase of pent up anxiety when they leave. Enough to make you scream and rail at the sky’s.

This too shall pass. We will figure something out.

© 2010 I Have Cancer Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha