Rose

When my specialist told me my breast cancer had spread into many of my bones, my reaction was not all horror. A part of me was glad that at last I could find time to find the self that I had suppressed for so many years. Since then, which was a year ago, I have more and more begun to enjoy my new life. After much reading, I have found out that the
people who survive with cancer the longest have learnt to 'sing their own song'. This year has been a time to change from the road I was on, and to find a new one. I have felt that this road was so tentative that it was like a thinly drawn line on the sand of a beach, which almost disappeared, every time the waves washed over it. I am beginning now to feel the road is a little more formed. It involves giving up my career in teaching and being alone with myself. It involves starting to rediscover my creativity, especially in writing and painting. It involves finding that other dimension in life, which is full of magic and mystery - unexplainable but very real. It involves above all listening to my inner voice - continually asking myself 'what do I FEEL is right for me' - and then allowing myself the luxury of putting this into practice.

My paintings show where I have got to in the formation of this new road. The heart (right) was created from the middle outwards, with the tiny purple of my soul in the centre. All the bright colours are my friends and family, surrounding that fragile self, and they are layered in protective curves until the whole is a burst of joy and love. They can't come down my new road with me, it is for me alone, but they can stand and watch me carving my way forward. They are, I think. gaining a lot of strength from supporting me while I do something that frightens them. We are all growing. The purple scene (left) shows a different part of my road. This is an image of my inner soul, the emptiness and desolation I sometimes feel when the loneliness of carving this fragile new life becomes overwhelming. Everyone envies me the ability to stop work and change my life. But my future has become open and I must not fill more than a few weeks at a time. I must take nothing for granted, assume nothing. I must let all damaging behaviours slip away so that I am left with calm peace. It sounds wonderful but it is very painful to achieve as it isolates me from the busyness of the world I have left behind. I can no longer hide behind that busyness but must take life full on in my face. Overall, I feel I am finally beginning to win - my soul at last is feeling free and my tests at the hospital show an improving situation. It is a beautiful world that I am being re-born into - and I AM going to be around for a long time yet!