Doors to Healing

CURE, Summer 2011, Volume 10, Issue 2

As part of the Doors to Healing project, each artist was asked to write about his or her door.

As part of the Doors to Healing project, each artist was asked to write about his or her door. Below is the response from some of the artists whose work is represented in the video presentation.

I dialed the number and nervously waited as someone picked up the phone on the other end. “You don’t know who this is. You don’t know me, but I think I’m related to you. We share the same name and I’m afraid we might share the same genetics. I’ve just been diagnosed with a rare form of colon cancer. My doctor told me to find my relatives, that this runs in families.”

There was silence on the other end.

Then the voice said, “You’ve called the right place. We all have it.”

- Nancy Fontana’s story

I can’t say that losing a mother changes a person, because that would imply that I know what I would be like if I had not lost my mother and I simply do not know that. I only know what I am like having grown up with a mom who was attacked by breast cancer in her thirties, battled the cancer for five years and died when I was thirteen…

- Pamela Phillips

I decided to be with her at every oncology appointment and every one of her treatment appointments—we were going to fight this together. There are too many instances where the person with cancer is isolated or abandoned by their friends and or family and spouses. This wasn’t going to happen here—not to my bride, not to us. We are winning the battle—ten years now, and counting!

- Oscar Correa

Can’t enjoy food. Mouth cancer took care of that. Can’t enjoy sex. No man in my life. So I’ve decided to enjoy every moment. The pleasures of childhood innocence relived. My granddaughter. My baby brother. Simple pleasures and dreams remembered.

- Wenona Campbell’s story

My sister and I used to dance together.

We’d dance in the living room to Joni Mitchell.

Now I dance for her.

- Coleen Patterson’s story

A sense of her…

Once fragile

Always gently

Speaking softly

A sense of her…

Creating serenity

All comforting

Yet strong

A sense of her…

Old traditions-

Colors red

Celebrate her

- Beverly Paderes

Then Cancer comes. Wonder gets redefined. Play is forgotten. Life becomes a series of blood draws, scans, films, injections, surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, fear, anxiety- always anxiety.

Eventually, treatment comes to an end… The scans come less often, the time between blood draws lengthens, the scars heal, depression wanes. Anxiety becomes manageable and begins to give way to Hope. And with Hope, the human spirit, in healing, again turns to play.

- Dan Murray

As a nurse, I’ve given lots of shots

In hips and arms and thighs.

When I got sick it didn’t take me long

To realize

That when it comes to needles

I really do believe

That it truly is more blessed

To give than to receive!

- Diane Dunaway

He painted huge Converse shoes.

Larger than life.

Fit for the young hipster who painted them.

“Your painting will be shown in a gallery.”

“When?” His eyes brightened.

“September.”

“Oh.”

He looked away.

- J.R.’s story

You said we would grow old together

And still hold hands watching the whales go by in Puerto Nuevo

We vowed to hold tight to each other forever

The tears finally flowed hot in art class

They sprang molten hot on the way home to my empty house. They were the tears I could not shed three months at your bedside.

The suppressed tears that were kept locked tight in my heart because they were mine I thought that if I didn’t cry it wouldn’t be true

- Orfa Muñoz

When we walk through life’s darkness

There’s always a light ahead

I know I have an angel

Because I’ve been through so much

And I’m still here.

- Elsa Garcia

She once believed her breasts were safe

for all the care she gave her body.

To believe without questioning she now knows

can be fatal.

To know and map in her mind’s eye every lump

and ropey scar

With roving, probing fingertips

In the still darkness away from questioning eyes

One year, two, ten?

Best not to feel a difference today, or….

Please, God, gentle mercy for me

Give me grace to accept what will be.

- Lorelee Nichols