The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: March 11, 2002

The Burning of Flashy Trashy
mixed media
20 x 24 x 5 inches
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In 1990, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I chose to maximize my chances for remaining disease free by participating in an experimental protocol. Every day for eight weeks, I got in this cast to be zapped by five different views of radiation, my body like an air force target, permanently marked for radiation by tattoos. I experienced significant memory loss and a short attention span. To help rebuild my memory and attention span, I willed myself to spend an hour a day working on this piece.

No one can experience what I have and remain unchanged. It is very frightening to wake up and to discover a new person in a radically changed body that can never be trusted. Art has given my soul the chance to regenerate and reconnect to the person I have become.

The Flame Within X, XI, XII
multi-plate linoleum cuts
Framed 15 x 17 inches
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I believe there is an internal flame that burns within each of us, kind of like a personal pilot light. There are times throughout our lives when that flame burns brighter or higher or with a special intensity. Throughout my five-and-a-half-year odyssey through the cancer experience, I have felt my own flame dwindle to a few embers only to be rekindled to a roaring fire. It has been through my artistic endeavors to document my experiences that my flame has been revived and nourished. I believe my art has contributed significantly to my recovery from metastatic breast cancer and to keeping me disease free despite overwhelming odds.


My Cancer Experience
by Bob Riter
October 06, 2015

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