During my treatment, art was only a small part of what I used to take my mind off of what was happening to me.  During my hospital stays, I remember working on a few crafts I had received as gifts, although I preferred to color my coloring books.  I also drew a rabbit and a portrait of Father Ralko, the hospital chaplain, who would come to visit me and whom I became friends with. While I was at home, I enjoyed watching television to pass the time; I think I saw every Unsolved Mysteries, Rescue 911, and Lifetime Movie there is, not once but twice.  One of my favorite shows to watch was “The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross.”  I loved his show and still do. It was relaxing watching him paint, and I loved that his trees always needed a friend, and occasionally, he would bring his squirrel on the show and it would sit in his pocket.

It wasn’t until six years later that I started writing poems. My favorite is “My Days” it is a remembrance of how I spent 1994. a time in my life that I was so weak and vulnerable but felt so safe and strong at the same time. When I read this poem now, I remember everything I went through and thank God for helping me survive. 

My Days
 Hospital visits Monday, Wednesday, Friday
 Blood transfusions, Spinal Taps, Chemo,
 Needles, Pills, Procedures,
 Doctors, Nurses, Patients, Parents.
 Nowhere to run, Nowhere to hide.
 I had to keep fighting so I would survive.
 So many new concepts, so many new things
 A new way of life, a new way to live.
 No more going out, only staying in,
 No more school, only trips to Children's
 I found a new family of friends,
 I soon longed for the days I spent with them.
 I miss the long days I sat all day
 On those Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. 

Poem 2 and Poem 3 are about my thoughts and feelings about having cancer and how it affected my life. It allowed me to see what IS important in life. 

 Poem 2
 I thought my life was complete, But then it was flipped and turned upside down.  
 My life wasn’t mine to control, For now, God held my soul. 
 The old me seems to go into a box.
 It would never be the same.
 My life changed to hopes and dreams. 
 When I finally emerged from the box, I was happier and wiser.
 I had learned it’s not what’s on the outside, 
 But what’s on the inside that counts. 

 Poem 3
 Things may come, and things may go,
 But you’ll always have the memories to hold.
 Memories may fade and seem to disappear,
 But know they will always be there.
 My life has changed in many different ways,
 Although parts of me are here to stay. 

I wrote Poem 4 for anyone who is going through cancer treatment.  We all had a choice to make; we could either fight cancer or let cancer win.  Poem 4 was written to give other cancer patients the strength to keep fighting.

  Poem 4
 The pain and the hurt,
 The comfort and the hope.
 The life that we lost, 
 Or the one that we gained.
 The struggle we fight – 
 Can be won or lost.
 Which would you want?
 I chose to win and I won.
 I chose to live with pride, 
 That I survived.
 My pain and hurt turned into prayers.
 The comfort and hope turned into dreams. 

My approach to writing “Waiting ” was to recreate one of the days I sat in a waiting room at Children’s Hospital. Frequently, my mind would wander, and then I would hear my name, and I would be brought back into reality.

 I sit in the waiting room,
 Waiting for them to call my name
 Even though I don’t want them to.
 I watch all the little bald kids play in the corner.
 They don’t realize what awaits them,
 What the future will be like.
 I am known as the one with cancer,
 this is what it will be like for them.
 Their parents sit and watch them play
 as if it was their last day together.
 Nurses and Doctors walk through the waiting room.
 All of a sudden I hear my name.
 The butterflies in my stomach reappear
 for I am not looking forward to what comes next,
 I see a needle and I feel it pierce my skin,
 I squeeze my stuffed dog,
 I nurse pushes chemo through my IV, she pulls it out.
 I am done.
 My time in this place is over for now,
 but I know I will be back all too soon.

I wrote Camp in 2004 after returning from Heme Camp where I was a counselor. Heme Camp was something I looked forward to each year and was a part of for 13 years.

Camp is a place…
              Where we come together
              To build long-lasting friendships.
              To experience things you have never experienced before.
              To share your pasts and shape your futures.
              Where the possibilities are endless.
 To have fun and be yourself.
 Where there are no differences.
 Where nothing holds you back.
 Where you go on adventures and discover new things.
 Where you laugh and smile.
 Camp is the happiest place to be.