Monday, November 19, 2012


In the months before I had radiotherapy in 2002 I was becoming too weak to lift my Bible. However, I wanted be able to have the words that encouraged me and gave me strength easily accessible. I decided to compile all the verses I loved into one book and put a small piece of my artwork beside each verse. This was to remind me that I could produce something beautiful when I was well.

This book became my lifeline. I had it beside my bed where I spent many an hour, I found it so helpful as I didn’t have the concentration to be reading large excerpts of text. I have also found it fantastic over the years in that I can take just one sentence from it and find something that feeds my spirit.

In the years between Radiotherapy in 2002 and my surgery in 2004 I compiled another group of verses that I named “Verses for Peace, Patience and Perseverance”. These verses gave me the strength to keep going, keep persevering and keep pushing forwards.
In 2005 I was falling over a lot, my vision became blurred. It was found early in 2006 that there were two blood clots pressing against my brain stem. However, I had to wait for several months for my surgery. With this surgery there was a chance that I was going to be left with a facial palsy, be unable to see clearly, unable to walk unaided, along with other potential after-effects. I began to experience anxiety like I had never known before. It was then that I added a new chapter to my book. I put verses together to turn to and repeat to myself over and over whenever those anxious thoughts came. They truly ‘fed’ me during that time and continue to do so when I am feeling anxious. They are entitled ‘Verses to Fight Anxiety and Fear’.

After my surgery in ’06 I was too weak to be able to sit at a desk and paint any more. And when my pain condition progressed to my arms and hands in ’08, painting (and handwriting) went out the window. This meant the last two ‘chapters’ of the book didn’t have any artwork with them for many years.

I realised late in 2010 that I hadn’t used my art equipment in many years. This was because of blurred vision and then post-surgery weakness in 2006. When chronic hand pain entered the scene in 2008 painting went right out the window. Our church was running an exhibition to try and fundraise and so I decided to donate all my canvases and art equipment to a church art group to use in the exhibition. I was extremely grateful when the art group then gave me photos of their paintings to complete my book.

I have been strong enough to lift my Bible for many years now, but I still often turn to my copy of “Verses of Comfort, Inspiration and Hope”. Ten years after my compiling this book of verses I still find they are relevant and extremely encouraging. They give me the strength and hope to keep me going.

Even though the original book was only 5 pages long, it has been added to over the years it is now 40 A4 size pages long.

Monday, April 30, 2012


In previous blogs about my journey leading up to and through radiotherapy I have talked about how I was experiencing extreme weakness. However, when I look back I can see that God was truly carrying me and strengthening me through that time.

Some time after having radiotherapy I did a piece of artwork that became very symbolic to me of how God changed me through my radiotherapy treatment period.

The artwork originated as a pastel work of a flower that I scanned into my computer and then played around with. While doing this, one image in particular really caught my eye. This was it:

To me this picture represented a woman with her head bowed down in submission and surrender. She has one arm stretching out, wanting to move forward; the other arm reaching up to heaven giving thanks to God for His holding her future. To me this portrayed a woman of strength. Even though this isn’t how the world perceives strength, it was very much how my strength was growing.

I had my eye on the future and was reaching out towards it, wanting to move into wellness again. But at the same time didn’t have the strength in myself to do so. It was only in submitting and surrendering to God and allowing His joy to fill me (what the yellow in the picture represents) that I found the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

10 years on from my having radiotherapy and doing this piece of art, I feel that this picture, done all those years ago, still represents me. I continually want to move forward in my life and to move on from pain and weakness and into a place of joy, strength and freedom. However, in order to do so I continually have to surrender to God and rely on Him for strength. All the while I am being filled with joy - which is what the yellow in this picture represents.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


You may or may not be aware that I have another blog running in conjunction to this one. 

It is called kiwibraintumoursurvivor-TODAY and is my present day blog (as opposed to this blog which is being written in retrospect) sharing insights and experiences. 

It can be accessed it through this link:  

Friday, January 20, 2012


During the six weeks in 2002 that we stayed at Domain Lodge (a motel for patients undergoing cancer treatment), while I underwent radiotherapy, I was extremely weak. I decided before I began the treatment that I wanted to spend some time each day doing something artistic. That I wanted to do one thing, even though incredibly small, every day. I can’t really explain just how weak I was during this period, and how extremely small this one thing was.

Nearly every evening I would go out on the little balcony outside my bedroom and sit and do a few strokes of colour onto black paper with my pastels. I had chosen black because to me it symbolized the darkness that I felt was hovering around behind me in that Lodge. Even though it was a beautiful building, I was so very aware of the fact, from my first visit there, that everyone there was struggling with cancer and was walking a hard road, so black in the background seemed fitting.

Colours still strongly represented themes to me and I titled the artworks with just one or two words. In the six weeks I was staying at Domain Lodge I only managed to do six pieces of art but they are very symbolic of what I felt I needed, and what I was experiencing during this time.

Each piece of art I did was extremely abstract but was somehow a way of reinforcing in my mind what it represented.

The first artwork was what I felt I greatly needed for that time. I only had the strength to put one foot in front of the other; making it across the road to each day’s treatment was all I could manage. Every day I hoped and prayed that going 
through the radiotherapy treatment would, in time, pay off and that my tumor would either stop growing or recede. I knew I would have to wait before either of these things would be visible.


The next three pieces were themed around faith.

In spite of having no idea whether the radiotherapy was actually going to work, I did feel faith rising up within me. I believed that even though I couldn’t see or feel any change in my tumour, that it would be halted by this treatment. (The blue in the artwork represented faith and was reaching to the higher lightness that flowed over it)


The following piece pretty accurately summed up how my faith was also being challenged some days. I was too weak to fight these challenges to my faith but thankfully God carried me through it all.


More than anything I felt completely and utterly washed out during my time of radiotherapy and there were undoubtedly days that it felt like my faith was also washing out.


As I have already said, I was so very weak while I underwent the six weeks of treatment and more than anything I needed God’s strength to get me through.


Finally, the last picture that I did was what I could feel deep inside my being. In spite of no doubt looking utterly exhausted, having a throbbing head 24 hours a day due to the swelling the radiation caused in my brain, and my hair starting to fall out, joy was what I felt. 

“Abundant Joy”