Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
I was almost 16 when my mother had her first mastectomy. I regretted that life would never be the same for either of us. Three years later, another surgery followed with various treatments. I said my final good-bye to her the summer I turned 24. She was 56 years old.
I have always wanted matching outfits to wear with my mother -- a popular fad when I was growing up. I was reminded of this when I wore my hospital gown after my first lumpectomy. I wore the "daughter" dress 24 years after my mother's death.
I wasn't surprised when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my late 40s. Armed with my bag of drawing materials, I went through surgery, radioactive implants and radiation treatments. Three years later, I had to go through the same thing again. I packed for the hospital and, using the same bag for my drawing materials, was once more prepared for another challenge. My art provided a way for me to express myself when words failed.