Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Pets and Painting From Diagnosis to Today - 15 years

As many of you know from reading this blog, on July 29, 2005 I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  I woke up from surgery and heard my gyn onc say the words, " I am sorry Dee, you have stage 3B ovarian cancer." Those words sent me down a road that I would have rather not gone down. A clinical trial consisting of nine carboplatin, taxol and selenium treatments followed that diagnosis. Then I faced more surgery and chemotherapy in 2008 when the cancer recurred on my liver and spleen. But somehow with faith, family, friends and treatments by the most talented, compassionate gynecologic oncologists, I am here today to celebrate my 15th Cancerversary. Thank you Drs. Rodriguez,  Gibbon and Song and the nursing staff at Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ for the excellent care. 

During most of the fifteen  years of survivorship, I have had a dog. When I was first diagnosed, a pug named Kona greeted me when I got home from treatments and slept on the recliner with me, most times snoring more than I was. Sadly, he passed right after I had surgery for my recurrence.  At the time, I wasn't sure how I could get through my upcoming chemo without a pug on my lap.

After a year and a half later, both my husband and I knew the house was too quiet without a dog. So ten years ago, an All American dog, Amber entered our lives. She was full of energy and loved to jump. So Joe who owned the kennel where we took Amber for puppy training, suggested we train for dog agility.  That has been so  much fun these past few years . I learned something new and I met lots of other dog lovers. It was also an activity in which I totally forgot about my cancer. Amber has been by my side in the ring and on our long walks around town. I hope this continues for many years to come.

Another activity has grown over the past 15 years too. During my initial chemotherapy my son's friend gave me an acrylic paint kit.  I had stayed home while in chemotherapy when my blood counts were low, just like now during the COVID -19 pandemic. Painting helped me pass the time, took my mind off of the side effects and kept me calm as if I was meditating. I started with quilt designs ( I can't sew very well at all) , then some landscapes but I found I enjoy painting dogs the most - big dogs, small dogs, agility dogs and family pets. 

So on this my 15th Cancerversary, I share with you my love of dogs through the paintings I have created during these past fifteen years. 

Kona -a magnificent pug

McCoy -a Viszla



Silvio - my grandpup

Chick- an agility dog

Sassy- an agility dog

Princess - a Brittany Spaniel

Bling - an agility dog

Walter - my grandpup

Cooper - an agility dog

Ginger - Bull Mastiff
Gracie - agility dog

Smitten- agility dog
Tim - grand pup ( The only watercolor painting of a dog I have completed to date.)

Amber - my best friend and agility dog


Every Day is a Blessing!


Gui said...

Wow! After reading your story, I was completely astonished. Thank you for the light of encouragement. Your art works are absolutely beautiful!!!! I am so thrilled you have used those years developing skills that brought you joy and serenity.

Lee said...

Dee, these are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing these words too! I just completed my last frontline for 3A HGSOC, and have the stressful upcoming scan next week. Gives me hope to read this-thank you:). Lee