Taking a break...

When I painted this a few years ago, I knew how many women face this battle, but never knew how close to home it would be. I auctioned it off and donated the money to Susan G. Komen for a Cure (the charity chosen by my wonderful collector) and at it felt good knowing I helped the cause a little. Then maybe a year later I received an email from the Komen organization letting people know that you could submit your art to be in the calendar. I had the perfect piece! I submitted and the voting began. I was happy to hear that mine was one of the twelve that was chosen to be in the 2016 Susan Komen For A Cure calendar but had know idea that it would hit this close to home.

When submitted you were asked to tell your story. Nowadays, nearly everyone has been affected by breast cancer in some way, and I was no different. But I was not a survivor, I was a supporter, which today could not be more true. At the time, my story was that my grandma had past from cancer and that I had been told I had a lump that needs to be biopsied. Fast forward to today, after I received the calendars and brought a few up for my mom to see and to hand out, we had no idea the she would be added to my breast cancer "story".  We hadn't even been to the Dr. to have a biopsy of the growth on her skin on her breast bone area, yet. So we knew nothing, nothing at all. But she looked at the calendar strangely, saying how coincidental and amazing that my painting was in it.

I told her to stop it and that she'd be ok. It was probably nothing. But I was worried too. They biopsied the area and the Dr. said it was most likely skin cancer. To our surprise it came back as breast cancer and so the journey begins. She's scheduled for a mastectomy by the end of the month. Tomorrow is the PET scan then a bone scan. There was a dark area on her sternum. I'm going to be strong for her. She's not only my mom, she really is my best friend. I moved to this tiny town 15 years ago to be close to her and live 5 minutes away. We talk several times a day, she's my person.

I'm taking a break from Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge because I'm taking her to town several times a week which takes the full day. We live and hour from civilization and now, with roadwork, and an unbelievably ridiculous 45 minute wait, it's more like 2 hours and that's just one way! I'm thinking she'll have to move down there and I might have to go with. So you can understand how painting one painting everyday is not really possible. I do however need to keep painting for me. My art has always been therapy for me and my anxiety, panic attacks, and mild depression, but today it's therapy to keep my mind off what's happening and to recharge myself to be the supporter I'm meant to be. I know now that as hard as I've tried to move away from this tiny town, something keeps me here. I actually moved away in 2010 but here I am again. This is the reason. This is my purpose.

Sorry to be so serious on my art blog. Art is a very personal thing though and it's hard to disconnect what's going on in my life and my art. My art has always been a reflection of my emotions brought on by my life's journey and now more than ever it will be here for me. There I go again, getting all serious! Hopefully my next post will have a new painting to share. I actually am inspired strangely enough.


Anonymous said...

Wishing you and your mother the best of luck.

Jen Beaudet said...

Thank you Jeames! I appreciate it a lot! :)

Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...

LOVELY...All the best to YOU = )

Sheila said...

I will keep you and your mother in my prayers. Being a caretaker is as exhausting as being ill. Be sure to take care of you too :) My father was sick for over a year, not cancer, but it was a long recovery. So wonderful to have your art included, congratulations. Blessings to you both :)

Blondie's Journal said...


Let me just say that I feel we have been friends for a long time so I'm going to take the liberty of saying many things.

You are doing the right thing by staying at your mother's side---I did that with my own...she was my lifeline. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Not truly knowing the travel issues, I hope you can work that out. Surgery and chemo if it's part of the plan involves long hours and I was so stressed out three years ago when my husband went thorough all of that. The daily drive to downtown Chicago and his hospital turned me into a bundle of nerves. I, too, suffer from clinical anxiety and depression for which I take meds so this was a true test of my courage, but I did it because of my love for this man. I think you will, too.

Your art will sustain you. Can you keep a sketch pad? Some small canvasses? I don't want to sound naïve about art! I just want you to be calm and content. I found reading to be my best friend.

Sending love, prayers and best wishes. To you and your precious mom. I'm here.

Jane xx

Susan said...

Oh, Jen, I am so sorry to hear of the diagnosis of breast cancer for your mother. My prayers will be with her and with you. How amazing that you painted those lovely ballet slippers and had the painting in the calendar. Isn't is strange how things work out sometimes in life? I hope, so much, all will be well. Sincerely, Susan

Jen Beaudet said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful words and prayers! I really appreciate your support and wisdom!

Jane- I feel like we've been friends to Jane and I so appreciate your input and your experience if having been the caregiver for your husband. I think the idea of a sketch pad is awesome! I'm going to try and come up with some idea of how to earn money to donate for the cause. I haven't thought of it yet but sketching might lead to something.


Vicki said...

Hello, Jennifer. It's been so long since I've 'talked' to you. I'm sorry you are going through a difficult time. My heart goes out to you and your mother.

First of all...and keep in mind every single case is different...my friend had a rare form of breast cancer 24 years ago (got the diagnosis when she was only age 43 and there wasn't a whole lot of info known at that time about best treatment/prognosis). She opted for a mastectomy...and she has never had a recurrence. Now, at age 68, she remains the healthy and active woman she was then, as now. Also, I was surprised once, to learn that the wife of a man I worked with...this was a long time ago; like 30 years ago...had undergone mastectomy 20 years earlier. She was in her early 40s when diagnosed but then cancer-free, after surgery, til she died of natural old age just a couple of years ago...age 97.

Cancer is not easy. Surgery for cancer is not easy. As you might remember, I too am a cancer survivor. You heal, you trust your doctors; you live.

One thing I want to caution you about although you probably won't listen to me, like I wouldn't listen to anybody else when I was taking care of my own mom (which was actually over 5 years of hands-on caregiving where I also didn't have anybody to help me other than my already-overworked husband who had a tough day job): You do this for love. You do this out of devotion and compassion for your parent. It's a natural thing to want to do, to help, to 'be there' for your parent; it's even what we learned in Sunday School, to honor our parents. And you will do a great job, Jennifer, because you have a kind heart and a good soul. But do not forget, in the process and the journey, to look out for yourself. Caregiving is a full-time job. It's physical and it's mental; emotional. In my case with my mom, it was always also a financial thing to deal with. It all can overtax you...take a toll on you...very quickly, because you're spread so thin, and you're accustomed to a certain routine which then goes all topsy-turvy with your new responsibilities. Hopefully, your mother will have a stellar recovery. But you WILL need an outlet from the day-to-day busyness of this kind of temporary life...so it's great you have your art and you MUST carve out time for it for yourself. I'm glad you realize this! Maybe take a sketchbook with you wherever you go; sometimes it's a lot of 'wait' time when your parent is a patient, and it's good to have something else to focus on to pass the time. Eat well, get enough sleep; don't get run down...and do let anybody else around you pitch in, to give you breaks. It's okay to delegate!

I wish you both the very best and for a positive outcome ahead. Have no fear, you'll figure all this out as it goes. You'll be in my thoughts!

Terra said...

I am praying for healing and for all good news for you and for your mom. That small town sounds like a very nurturing place for you two to be. "For I will restore your health to you, and I will heal your wounds" says the Lord." Jeremiah 30:17

Jen Beaudet said...

Thank you Terra! I appreciate your prayers! Yes, she has the whole community praying for her.:)

Jen Beaudet said...

Vicki! I thought I had replied to your comment but it's not here. I'm not all here these last few weeks. Things are better though. We;re heading to Davis in a few weeks for a second opinion and then she'll decide what to do. I'm trying to take care of myself and painting really does help. But I also realize that I have to paint to pay the bills! win win :) I really appreciate hearing from you and your wisdom from your experience.

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