The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 3, 2002

19 Steps of Pain mixed media 16 x 24 inches 1995

I was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in the winter of 1987. At the time, I had just completed my first quarter in college. I spent the next one-and-a-half years battling for my life. Art became a way for me to release what I was feeling. "19 Steps of Pain" documents all the different emotions and changes experienced through my process of healing. Each square depicts a certain emotion, beginning from the dark, negative space I felt inside -- anger, denial, grief, sorrow, emptiness -- to a more positive note of acceptance and hope. It has taken me eight years to accept my life and go on living, without guilt or pressure to make up for lost time. Not a day goes by without some reference to this part of my past, except now, I am living in the present.