Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm HEALTHY and a new life unfolds...


Just wanted to send a New Year greeting and a thank-you for all your support, prayers and good wishes. I am healthy and in remission for almost a year now. UNBELIEVABLE! I found the strength through all of you to endure the discomfort of my chemo, various tests which poke and prod, an over flow of oral meds  plus the pulling around of that IRRITATING IV pole.

I've been really, really busy since my discharge from the hospital just before Labor Day. I was immediately back in my studio and managed to paint 4 large paintings by September Fall Open Studios. I had missed painting so much. October meant Dia de los Muertos activities and that was a whirlwind of activity through early November. I then left for New Orleans with Gary on November 5th for a 10 day visit. It was wonderful. When I returned, there was one holiday market (I cut back this year on the number) and some online sales. Before Christmas arrived, I decided to take some time off from the studio, spend time with Gaby and decorate the house, tree and wrap presents. It was the first time I took time off for the holidays in years and it felt good. It felt great to share time with Gaby, my girl and enjoy the holidays with her and Gary.

Where that left me was some time to reflect on my illness and allowed me to look back at this year. How did I feel:  frightened! I survived this Leukemia diagnosis with strength I didn't realize I had. I saw people dying on the Oncology Floor. I saw people who were not resilient, who were wasting away with cancer. It was frightening. I looked, felt sad but kept on going. Today, I deal with the fear every day. Thoughts come in like: how long do I have, when, will it return, how will my kids do without me? I think having these thoughts are pretty natural. How I deal with them is that I've created an imaginary pair of windshield wipers. When these thoughts arrive, I pretend to bring out the windshield wipers, clean out my brain, and wash the thoughts away. Like a dirty window you can't see through, my brain needs a good cleaning so I can think clearly. I have to remind myself I have no control over my future but I can make my present as enjoyable as possible.

So, speaking of the present, one of the most amazing things I've observed, being back and living in the present, is that experiencing a healing, rebirth, renewal, etc.does not mean that all your relationships will also be evolved. I have found myself struggling with the desire to change these relationships. I want these individuals to suddenly become introspective, more sensitive, more empathetic. Right. It will never happen. My only solution is to let go of my desire to change them. 

In my search for ways to alter my expectations, I came across a post from Tiny Buddha which I subscribe to. The title is, "40 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Pain." Too good to be true? Maybe. Personally, I found this helpful. The article starts with: " Eckhart Tolle believes we create and maintain problems because they give us a sense of identity." I can relate to this. There is also a quote from Ajahn Chah’s which I find very helpful:

"If you let go a little,  you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace."

This is my latest challenge. I wanted to share the link with you just to show you that I hope to always be able to look at my life and living as something precious, that always needs work, needs revision, needs change. When my life nears its end, I hope I can then say I gave it my best shot. I looked within, adapted, revised to make my world and others more at peace and therefore made my present more peaceful.

all my love and wishes for a peaceful new year,



  1. Very happy that you're back and healthy. I'm going to this site and hopefully help I can find some words of wisdom to deal with a dear friend who is in stage 4 ovarian cancer...I can't even imagine what she's going through right now both physically and emotionally, however, like you, she is a fighter.

    Have a wonderful New Year and keep the faith.


  2. Thank you Georgina. Wonderful to hear from you on this new years eve. Best of luck with finding the right words, understanding for your friend. Wishing her moments of peace and clarity.

    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012!


  3. God is watching over you xoxo i'm so glad you are back painting and living and enjoy life & happiness Martha! Your strength is inspiring.

  4. Thank-you Dana. I feel blessed and so grateful to be living and in good health! That I have my painting as a form of expression also makes my life even more special!

  5. really great to have you back marta. and might i add, your new hair style looks awesome.

    be happy, be well.

  6. Thanks Rebeca. Enjoying my canas and short hair! Who would have thought???