Chemo Creations

Chemo Creations
Photo courtesy Louis Randall


The Chemo Creations exhibit started while I was in the midst of Chemo therapy to fight against breast cancer. I was not able to read because I couldn’t concentrate.

I couldn’t exercise during this time as I has little energy. I sat in my chair, and the only thing I noticed I was really drawn to was a basket of multi-textured and colored yarn that had been sitting there for quite awhile.

In my chemo-induced stupor, I started knitting with no idea of what I was going to make. I let my imagination run and create. I stopped trying to let my mind control the outcome of what I was doing.

I did this for days as the fog rolled in and out from the sea of my mind. At one point I looked down and realized, I had grabbed a totally different yarn color and texture and had knit that into my creation.

TaDa! A new sensation had begun.

This happened quite a few times without me giving it any thought. I just stuck my hand into the basket and grabbed whatever yarn came into my fingers.

I was very fortunate as a lot of people cared about me. One day one of my visitors came by and noticed what I was doing. She was not a knitter herself, but was smitten with the textures and colors and inconsistencies.

That felt encouraging. I needed that.

With the little bit of brain power I had, I went and got into my stash of yarn. I decided to make one piece with all similar colors for my granddaughter.

I still had no control. I was right in the middle of my treatments. I could work a little while then nod off and pick it up later, going in a totally different direction.

It turned out so fresh and so fun, that piece. I decided to pick a different color pattern and make another one. My neighbor came by and said she wanted to buy one and told me the colors she wanted.

Having always been an artist, it felt wonderful to be creating in the midst of all this craziness and all these challenges.

I kept getting my treatments, getting foggier, and kept on clicking my needles, all the while dropping stitches and making mistakes. But they kept turning out.

For the piece I created for my granddaughter, I decided to add embellishments and charms that matched her personality, our relationship, and the great times we have had together. This seemed to really complete the piece. I felt satisfied that the piece was now completed.

When my neighbor saw how those embellishments impacted the entire piece, she brought me some of her own treasures and asked me to braid them into the creation I am making for her.

The results were so similar. It completed the piece.

Even in my brain fog, I knew I was onto something.

As a normally a very positive person, I looked for ways to stay ahead of all the minutia that hangs around when you are in the midst of a long journey through which you have little control. I made the decision to stay upbeat.

I wasn’t going to let this stinking cancer win any battles and most certainly not the war. Pink wigs can only go so far in making me feel better and make others around me smile. My motto was and still is:

The devil whispered, “you cannot withstand the storm.”

I whispered back, “I AM THE STORM!”

When something like this happens to you, you have to make a choice. You can either sit it out, or dance. You have to decide if you are going to just be, or if you are going to fight. For me giving up or giving in wasn’t an option.

That is why I am so glad the Keeper of the Stars showed me that even a chemo-fizzed mind is an asset, a positive in all the negativity in the air.

I am please to share my story and the main reason I kept smiling through all the treatments. ISI