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Mary Beth Lawler Art Blog

Mary Beth Lawler

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Two Tranquilizers

by marybeth , March 9, 2009—04:47 PM

Topics: healing

Last week the phone rang at 7:30 am and the caller id said it was my brother. First thing in my head "What's wrong?" To my relief he was calling to tell me that his most recent MRI showed the lung cancer had not returned. Whew!! A couple of days later I went for my first post surgical mammogram. I am not usually apprehensive but this time I was a wreck. I thought it would be painful but it wasn't. So I relaxed a little. I'm in my cubicle waiting for the high sign, when I get called in for another set. Now I'm ready to throw up. Back to my cubicle to wait. Still another set only this time on the left. The two tranquilizers I took before I left home were doing me no good at all. I was in adrenalin overdrive. The technician was very reassuring but it wasn't reassuring me… Continue reading… 2 comments

The Healing Handbook

by marybeth , March 9, 2009—12:00 AM

Topics: healing

Last month I was fortunate enough to attend a five day workshop at The North Country Studios at Bennington College (VT). The class was Thread as Markmaking and I thought this would be useful for my paper quilting. On the first morning setting up my stuff I met the woman sharing my table, Barbara. We didn't get the chance to talk much we were to busy with slides and demos and assignments. Somewhere along the way I noticed that she had one breast. The next morning I apologized for asking but asked anyway."Was it breast cancer?" She said,"It was, twice!" When I told her of my diagnosis 11 months ago she gave me the biggest hug and said "It's a cruel reason for a sisterhood." We talked a lot after that, treatment, surgery, hair loss support and healing… Continue reading… 0 comments

Bad Hair Day

by marybeth , September 25, 2008—07:25 PM

Topics: healing

I just washed my hair and I can't do a thing with it! Can you believe this? Everyone said my hair would grow in curly, instead it's growing in squirrely. How are you supposed to style this? I know it's "normal" but it looks really funny. I don't even want to talk about the gray… Continue reading… 3 comments

Who Am I?

by marybeth , July 4, 2008—05:02 PM

Topics: creative time, healing

A few days ago I caught a glimpse of myself in a store window. I was looking at a stranger, in many ways. I didn't look like myself. Not just the bald head, the expression on the face looking back at me. It was like an out of body experience. So much has happened so fast, sometimes I feel like Dorothy, whipped about in the funnel and unceremoniously dropped in a strange land and having to find her way home. I presumed my art work had all but stopped because I was tired, but now I think my work, my inspiration and motivation have dwindled because they belong to the other me. The "multi tasking, obsessively productive, run, run, run, until you drop" me. She is on retreat somewhere trying to learn yoga and kick caffeine… Continue reading… 4 comments

The Beginning and the End

by marybeth , June 25, 2008—03:39 PM

Topics: healing

I am three weeks out from the last chemo infusion and some side affects are disappearing and some new ones are popping up. Nausea and metallic taste are gone but watery eyes, swelling and fingernails falling off have set in. They have given me drugs for both the eyes and swelling (Yeah! more drugs!) but there isn't much they can do for dead fingernails. I started radiation yesterday and it is indeed very quick and uneventful. Side effects of the radiation will start to show up as the treatments continue, skin damage (I have drugs) and fatigue mostly. Oh good, fatigue, I wouldn't want that to go away! I will have 30 treatments, Monday through Friday for 6 weeks. The people at the Center are fabulous, it was a little chilly this morning so they wrapped me in warm blankets… Continue reading… 3 comments

Chemotherapy Comes To An End

by marybeth , June 6, 2008—02:38 PM

Topics: chemotherapy, healing

I was going to write this update last week while I was home recuperating but I felt so lousy I decided to wait. I'm so glad I did. The last blast was a strong one and it really knocked me down. Last week I was miserable, sick, cranky, angry and not a lot of fun. My blog would not have been a pleasant read. This week I feel more like myself again. The chemotherapy is still doing it's thing in my system and I am still experiencing all of the side effect but I am feeling some of them beginning to fade. Last week I was one with the bed, just rolling over was not worth the effort but now I have more energy, I'm able to work and looking forward to teaching at Snow Farm in Williamsburg, MA the week of the 16th. www.snowfarm.orgContinue reading… 5 comments

Getting Ready for the Last Treatment

by marybeth , May 27, 2008—11:57 AM

Topics: calligraphy, healing

Tomorrow is my last chemotherapy infusion. How do you spell "screaming and jumping up and down"? I'll still feel rotten for a week or two but who cares, I have plenty of popsicles and the weather is gorgeous and my patio is clean and ready for me. My friend Jamie came over and helped (she did most of it) weed and prep one of the gardens. There are herbs in that one mostly but I add a few annuals for color. I puttered around a few of the other beds and the perennials are coming back strong. I even managed to get the Clematis I planted last year to survive. I've tried twice before and they didn't make it but this one is off to a great start. Over the Memorial Day Weekend I spent considerable time finishing up several calligraphy jobs that will all be due next week… Continue reading… 3 comments

Fish and False Eyelashes

by marybeth , May 16, 2008—12:41 PM

Topics: healing

I'm getting cranky, just ask Alex, "Yes my love." he says patiently and gets me another popsicle or whatever else it is I'm too tired to do myself. This last chemo round was a rough one, I guess I'm tired of being tired and sick of being sick, so I get cranky. My fingertips are going numb and everything tastes weird. Even wine doesn't taste good. This is an outrage! When I feel good I do as much as I can because I need a sense of accomplishment. Thank God there is only one more. My apologies to those who suffer through much longer periods of treatment. My prayers are with them… Continue reading… 3 comments

Three Down, One To Go

by marybeth , May 9, 2008—06:39 PM

Topics: healing, toxins

My third chemotherapy infusion was Wednesday. My friend Sandy DeCristofaro ( came with me. Good thing for me, not so good for her. The place was packed and I had to wait for a chair. All in all we were there for 5 hours. Lunch time came and went so we nibbled on animal crackers. We did have some lively conversations with the other patients about movies and cooking. Everyone talks pretty openly about their situation and treatment, comparing notes and suggestions for coping. Several people were there for their first infusion so they were full of questions. Normally the nurses spend a great deal of time with each patient, but that day they were really hopping. When we finally got out we were starving and I had a craving for steak… Continue reading… 3 comments

Two Down, Two to Go

by marybeth , April 24, 2008—03:18 PM

Topics: aesthetics, healing

My "cranial prosthesis" has arrived and I'm still chuckling over the words "cranial prosthesis". It's from the Latin for fake head. I like this style so much I want to do this for real when my hair grows back. My eyelashes are falling out now, but my dear friend Florence bought me some new ones. Isn't it grand that in this age of technology we can repair, replace or enhance just about anything? So here we have, fake hair, fake eyelashes, contacts and this afternoon I'm going to stop at CVS and buy a tan. I'm no proponent of surgical enhancement, I don't think I'd ever go that far but now I do understand the impact that physical appearance can have on the psyche. I am happy to go around with no hair, it's great! Everyone should try it… Continue reading… 10 comments

Rule #1, no blond jokes! Life as a blond is indeed interesting. I can't say I am having MORE fun, but I am having fun. I am getting another wig that is darker like my natural hair. I'll post a picture of that when it comes in. After I finished whining about losing my hair, I had Alex shave off what few tufts that were left and an extraordinary thing happened. I love having no hair! It's cool and comfortable, no blow drying and styling, no product, just slap it on and go. Change persona daily if you want. It will be interesting to see if my work changes any when I'm blond or hairless. I will have my second of four infusions tomorrow so we'll see how I feel. I want to thank all of you for your messages of support… Continue reading… 10 comments

Today is a good day. I feel almost "normal". It may have something to do with a dream I had last night about painted roman letters. Unlike most high anxiety dreams where you can't do anything right, I was making little books and paintings with beautiful letters in my parents basement. (just go with it, it's dream) I had visitors from a California calligraphy society and they were going to be hosting the 2025 International Calligraphy Conference. Never too early to start planning a conference I say. Rather lucidly for a dream I thought, I'll be 69 at that conference. How cool. While there are a multitude of layers of deep psychological meaning here, I prefer to think that my unconscious mind is realigning itself with making art and making plans, two things I do just because I can… Continue reading… 4 comments

So Far So Good

by marybeth , March 15, 2008—12:01 PM

Topics: healing

My fabulous surgeon called and the pathology from the second excision is clear. Lymph nodes are also clear. All good news. The cancer does not have hormone receptors so I will not be taking Tomoxafin but I am sure I will be taking something else for the mandatory 5 year period. I continue to be amazed at how much progress is being made and how far the research has come in treating breast cancer. Now I know where all that money is going in all those foundations and I'm damned glad the momentum for fund raising continues to build. This image is of a really girly paper design I did for a scrapbook kit. I'm not the pink ribbon type so you won't see any on me or my car. I'm gonna go for plaid - OK pink plaid. OK pink plaid with pink roses. Everyone asks if there is ANYTHING they can do for me… Continue reading… 6 comments