In December 2013, I was diagnosed with advanced metastatic breast cancer. My disease is currently incurable, but my wonderful medical team is doing everything they can to turn it into a chronic illness.
In order to make sense of what is happening to my body, I started seeing a psychiatrist within the psychosocial oncology team at my hospital.
The brain is a tangle of memory, feeling, hope & dream. Pull on a thread & it all unravels. In order to make sense of my cancer, I find myself working through all the buried, unresolved hurt & memory from my life before.
It took months of drawing about my childhood before I even started to draw about cancer.
I've been an artist my whole life, but this is the first time I have felt the need for narrative. Figuring out how to tell my story with comic strips has been interesting & empowering. When I was first diagnosed, I didn't want to talk to anybody. I've since learned that it's the unspoken that is most frightening. Shining a light on my experiences takes some of the power away from my cancer. I'm taking my power back.
I hope that by talking about some of the hard stuff I am helping other people who are living with cancer's disruption to get conversations started, with me, with their friends and family, even with their doctors.
Here's the first comic I drew about cancer: