October 1, 2015

Cancer. To go public or keep it private ... that is the question!

I'm actually a very private person.  There's not many people walking upon this earth who know me at a soul level.  If and when I trust someone and become close, they know everything .. otherwise, it's really pretty superficial.  More than that, it has to be a two way street.  It can't be all about 'them' or all about 'me'.  Just don't function well in those relationships.  They drain me.  Sometimes I wonder about that.
I read an interesting post yesterday.  My old and dear friend Patty Waite wrote about it on her blog, "Nomadic Notebook".  You can view the post HERE.  It's interesting.  Patty and I met through our blogs years ago and have kept in touch ever since.  It was a dilemma for she and her husband as well.  However, she feels that she has learned 'going public' has given her many gifts from many people, such as support, recipes for cancer, etc. etc.  Have a peek.
So here I go ... opening up to the world.  As I said, not easy for me.  It's an experiment to see how I deal with it.  Last year, when I went into the hospital to have my knee replaced (I was literally sitting on the bed, suitcase in hand), the Dr. looked at my blood report and said 'Let's repeat this, there is something wrong".  In ten minutes he had the results.  "You will have to see a hematologist ... something is wrong - I don't know what, but I can't operate.  You could bleed out.  No one has ever bled out in my clinic, and you're not going to be the first."  Yikes.

So off to the hematologist I go.  Diagnosis? Leukemia ... CLL to be exact.  Since my private medical insurance has lapsed due to the fall of the Canadian dollar which made the expense outrageous, I have had no treatment and it has not been staged.  That will wait until I get back to Canada.  I am in shock.  I'm learning to live with it.  I'm not good at changing my diet - consequently eating an anti cancer diet is very off and on.  

A month ago I was diagnosed with macular degeneration in both eyes.  Not something an artist and creator wants to hear. 
So there  you have it.  Out in the open for all to see.  I really don't want to talk about it a lot ... in fact, life experience tells me most people don't want to hear it.  I don't want to 'dwell' on it either or become obsessed ... I believe that will do more harm than good.  Thinking positive .. a new beginning moving to Canada, starting afresh and regaining my health.  Acceptance is an issue for me as fatigue is a huge part of CLL.  Telling friends, 'no, I'm not coming' is major as well ... it's all about acceptance.  Ah, the lessons we are given.
So here's to you ... my friends, new and old.  Thank you for your ear.  Something I have learned for myself at least - it's very healthy to express concerns, at least once.  Put it out there and then drop it and move forward again.  That's what the plan is. 
I am, of course, at my easel today as I am most days, and half the night!  Trying something I have never done before, or in fact ever had much interest in. Flowers. Love them on my table and in the garden.  On the canvas ... not so much.  I am working on a large 3 ft. square piece (without frame) ... it's a work in progress.  Nowhere near finished.  Good change of scene after the conversation above.

WIP.  "Waltz of the Flowers" oil on canvas, 37" X 37" gold leaf frame

"Most people live in fear of some terrible event changing their lives, the death of a loved one or a serious illness. For the chronically ill, this terrible event has already happened, and we have been let in on an amazing secret: You survive. You adapt, and your life changes, but in the end you go on, with whatever compromises you have been forced to make, whatever losses you have been forced to endure. You learn to balance your fears with the simple truth that you must go on living.”


  1. The flower painting is wonderful. I hope for you that your return to Canada will help you get back your health, and slow down the macular degeneration. I know how frightening these illnesses are, and I hope your positive attitude will keep you going and help you to get better. BIG hugs, Valerie

  2. Hi Donna I am so sorry to hear that news and though we have never met I have followed through your art and love your work and the things you write about. Life is very hard sometimes but I can see what a wonderful person you are and I send you lots of love and healing . I know you say it is hard for you to share and I think you are very brave. If I can ever be someone that can help please let me know. Keep painting your beautiful paintings - I think the flowers you have been doing are spectacular. In the words of Dory out of Nemo - "just keep swimming" and I hope things get better.

  3. Donna, I love your courage and passion! As much as I know it wouldn't have been your first choice, I so look forward to having you back on our little island. I can't wait to see you and give you a hug! Like your friend Patty, we met on the Grace in Small Things blogsite, had our one and only lunch together when we met in person and yet I feel like I have been in your life for years. No matter what anyone says, this little digital wonder in front of me connects us up around the world and creates miracles. Sending love and light and laughter your way this morning. xoxo

    1. Oh Now I am excited! It will be wonderful to see you again ... I have another couple of blogging friends on the Island ... so it will be fun. Where are you at the moment? I'll try and contact you via email later ... busy day today. Thanks for dropping over. Really appreciate it! xoxo

  4. Gosh I have tons of questions! One day at a time -- I would not be good at changing my diet either. Although I have a friend who survived ovarian cancer and her husband has had several heart attacks and she really turned their health situation around with a Macrobiotic diet. I know that medical science can slow down macular degeneration quite a bit. I am in shock over your news so I know you must be!!
    Where in Canada will you be moving? Your home in Mexico is gorgeous and the price certainly is right.
    There are so many things swirling in my head Donna and I must tell you that they are positive.
    It's amazing to me that you really aren't 100% when it comes to painting flowers because you flower paintings are out of this world gorgeous!!!! Now don't laugh at me but when I saw my first Van Gogh painting, I could feel the emotion coming from it. That is exactly how I feel about your flowers - first you see beauty and then I can feel the emotion in the painting. I love your flower paintings and only hope you will do more.
    Stormy skies and gorgeous flowers - the story of life.
    You will always be in my thoughts and prayers and I am most definitely sending you good vibes!!!!!
    My love to you Donna!
    Sandy xx

  5. Good morning, Donna. I admire you for sharing your health challenges with internet friends. You will benefit from their support, caring and love. We all want the best for you, enjoy your posts and love to view your paintings and follow your career in the art world. Keep your posts coming. I enjoy the way you write and share life in SM. It will be fun to follow you as you return to Canada. You are a joyful soul and make others feel important and loved. It is your turn to reap all that you have given.
    Love hugs,

  6. Healing thoughts & prayer sent your way, Donna! You're making positive changes and going in positive directions, and the creative energy can do nothing but good for you. I love your flowers and look forward to seeing where you'll take it. All the best to you!

  7. I'm tearing up a little to realize that I had a part in being a catalyst for your sharing. I totally understand your conflicted feelings about it... it really takes some vulnerability to put these kinds of things out there, but I have never been sorry when I made the choice to do so and I'm sure you won't be either. We have been so blown away by the support we received and I can tell already by reading the comments that it will be the same for you. That is a lot of burden for you to shoulder by yourself and while I know from past experience that you are one strong woman, no one should be expected to carry this kind of thing alone.

    I remember years ago saying that I thought we would meet up some day - at the time I was in SoCal and you in Mexico, but as fate would have it, we will now be within a short distance from each other and I do still feel it will happen. Hang in there, dear, and just be open to the healing vibes that will be wafting your way...... much love and light, Patty

  8. Oh, Donna! Just recently met on FB (as a result of the above mentioned Dear Mutual Friend, Patty), but already I feel a kindred connection with you! As I have said to Patty and her sweet husband, we all learn from each other's lives, and I certainly have learned a great deal about positive attitude in the face of adversity from them, and now I have that opportunity to learn it from you. So happy you will be closer, geographically, to both Patty and I, and I so hope to get to know you better, maybe meet you sometime, and give you a hug from a new supportive friend!