The Slow Journey to Recovery

I finished all my treatments on November 22 and had my Hickman removed mid-January, the new year. For reasons unknown to me I fell into a deep depression. I tried to rationalize it, telling myself I was missing all the attention from my doctors and people around me, but I could not seem to rid myself of a growing darkness in my soul.

I went to see Dr Douglas and asked him about my depression. He told me it was natural for people to go through a depression after recovering from a serious illness.

"But why?" I asked him. "It's all over and I'm free."

"After spending so much time fighting your illness and handling the treatment, it all ends and you feel abandoned."

"Yes, I figured that part. But this inner darkness?" I braced myself for my next question. "Did I almost die?"

"Well, let's just say you came real close to biting the dust."

"Oh." I felt relieved that I was now admitting it aloud.

"I keep thinking about it--the fact I almost died. It is all finally registering."

"You were lucky and survived. Look at it this way. were in the sick world, and now you are in the well world." But I sti11 felt unsure about how to handle my sion. Dr Douglas suggested I paint it out, which I did.

I painted, pastelled, and drew, asking myself what was like and how I felt now. I drew black charcoal pictures of myself in a world of darkness. I had to reflect that night in the operating room, on my determination to live and to see who I had become.

In the end I realized it would always be with me: I had fought death and could not pretend nothing had happened. I just needed to incorporate the experience into my life, which was now exciting and enjoyable to me. My art and I continue to flourish.