In late 2017, I had a life-changing brush with death.
In mid-October, on my 61st birthday, a small red bump appeared on my chest shoulder. I thought it was just a bug bite. But, within a couple of weeks, new growths began appearing all over my body, and they were growing! Diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, I was given, at most, just a few months to live. I went into shock. Treatment began immediately with my first infusion of Keytruda, an immunotherapy drug.
Right after Thanksgiving, I began chemo pills to help fight this deadly cancer. Only a couple of days after starting the chemo pills, I had a severe allergic reaction and my sister rushed me to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare and sometimes deadly reaction to a medication.
My condition worsened, and after just one week in the hospital, I was moved to hospice to be “kept comfortable.” Fortunately, I walked out of hospice a month later with the help of a walker. Two months after my discharge, a new PET Scan showed no evidence of disease! The deadly melanoma that had invaded my entire body just a couple of months earlier was miraculously gone!
By the Grace of God, I was saved and given a second chance at life. While I recovered, this traumatic life event gave me endless hours to reflect on my life. What was my purpose; why was I saved; why am I still here; what am I supposed to do or accomplish with this new gift of life? Pretty heavy stuff that kept me awake at night for years.
During the long recovery of my illness, which was emotional, physical, and psychological, I suddenly found I had loads of time on my hands. So, I picked up my watercolor brushes again. Painting during this time of recovery was soothing and therapeutic for me. The horrors of my ordeal and the reoccurring PTSD would fade away while I painted.
A self-taught watercolor artist (with the help of YouTube and a couple of classes 20 years apart), I am still learning how to master this medium. After a lifetime of being a graphic designer, I am excited about how my new future will look, with renewed goals and dreams.
A nurse navigator once told me, when I was bedridden, to start thinking about my legacy. I thought she was crazy. I was dying! A little late to think about that now! Her comment did stick with me while recovering and got me thinking; what was my legacy? I hope my art is what it will now be.
Thank you for visiting!