Dolorès P.

Life sometimes does things in funny ways. Last year, at 73 years of age, I was diagnosed with breast cancer just three days before I was to bury my daughter, who had just died of the same type of cancer at 42 years of age.

Expressing emotions through art

 

Life sometimes does things in funny ways. Last year, at 73 years of age, I was diagnosed with breast cancer just three days before I was to bury my daughter, who had just died of the same type of cancer at 42 years of age.

It’s a hard fall when you get the diagnosis, and even more so when you have seen your own daughter struggle for 10 years against this devious enemy. To be honest, I would have traded places with her.

It was a friend who spoke to me about the services offered in my region by the Quebec Cancer Foundation. At first, I went there for the massage therapy. They proposed art therapy to me, but I was a bit reluctant because I don’t think of myself as an artist. But therapy was precisely what it was, therapy through the medium of art.

I did not realize right then, but I was bottling everything up inside. In fact, I was in rebellion! Even if I had undergone surgery and radiation therapy, with my family I kept on as if everything was fine. I was playing the part; I was a super grandma! In hindsight, I see clearly that I would have exploded had I not gone to seek help. At the outset, I didn’t really know what to expect of art therapy. However, as soon as I got together with the art therapist, I felt good. She asked me to draw a picture of a person picking an apple from the tree. What she saw was very revealing about my state of mind. I understood that the drawings spoke and that I myself had a great need to verbalize what I was feeling.

You have to digest the “indigestible,” and that cannot be done without support. To have the opportunity to express yourself at these sessions, to be able to get that knot out of your stomach is an unhoped-for opportunity to stop and care for yourself. Each time, I leave in peace and return home relaxed.

I have to forgive life. I have grandchildren who count on their grandma. I plan to be there for them. I hope that in sharing my experience, I will convince other people fighting cancer to take advantage of these services that do so much good.

Dolorès P. has been taking part in the Foundation’s art therapy sessions in Mauricie since the month of August.

Art therapy is a free service and requires no artistic talent. For further information, go to  www.fqc.qc.ca/pres-de-chez-vous to discover the schedule for sessions offered in your region.

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