Tag Archives: Therapy

Shirley Klinghoffer – CRT Revisited Q&A with Mary Ann Wasil

In conjunction with Shirley Klinghoffer: CRT Revisited, an exhibition inspired by hospital forms used to support women’s bodies during radiation therapy, artist Shirley Klinghoffer has invited others who have gone through cancer treatment to share their stories about the “healing objects” that accompanied them on their journey. Klinghoffer, who is a breast cancer survivor, shared her storyand now another survivor, Mary Ann Wasil, has shared her own.

Describe your healing object?

My healing object is a tiny pink hand-knotted Rosary.wasil

Why is it important to you?

My son Eddy made it for me when he was in high school; he is now 21 years old.

Do you have any other stories which you would like to share?

During my eleven-year dance with breast cancer I have always taken great comfort in prayer, especially the Rosary. I am Roman Catholic and have always felt a deep connection with Mary, the mother of Jesus. This brave young woman was chosen by God to give birth to our Savior. Whoa. Not for the faint of heart.

 (It should be noted that when I was a child I actually used to thank God that I was NOT Mary, grateful to Him for choosing her and not me, because I knew I would not have been up to such a daunting task.)

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer. You pray the Hail Mary a total of 53 times (along with a handful of Our Fathers, a Glory Be or two – or six, and a Hail Holy Queen for good measure) while reflecting upon the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. Traditionally, specific Mysteries are prayed on specific days of the week during specific times of the Liturgical Calendar.

Frankly, I find it far too confusing – and, well, um, specific.

I love to pray. I “specifically” love to pray the “Hail Mary.”  (That’s me being witty…please forgive me.)

I don’t count sheep, I say the Rosary. I often drive in silence, and say the Rosary. I incorporate the Rosary into my meditation practice. When I was training for the NYC Marathon several years ago, yep, you guessed it, my running partners were a fairly even mix of The Beatles and the Rosary.

It’s my default, my “go-to”…it’s my place of peace, it’s, well, it’s just mine. I love it.

All three of my children know how much the Rosary means to me, so when my son made this delicate little Rosary with his own two hands, he knew how much I would cherish it. I am never without it.

I carry it in my purse or my pocket, even in my hand during my routine MRIs and scans while being treated for stage four metastatic breast cancer these last four years.

I don’t need the Rosary to pray the Rosary. But having the Rosary my son made with me at all times, well, it is, indeed, my most beloved healing object.

Do you have a story to share? Download the submission form and instructions here.

 

Shirley Klinghoffer – CRT Revisited Q&A with Teresa Wicks

In conjunction with Shirley Klinghoffer: CRT Revisited, an exhibition inspired by hospital forms used to support women’s bodies during radiation therapy, artist Shirley Klinghoffer has invited others who have gone through cancer treatment to share their stories about the “healing objects” that accompanied them on their journey. Klinghoffer, who is a breast cancer survivor, shared her storyand now Teresa Wicks has shared her own.

Describe your healing object?

It is a viceroy butterfly which is commonly seen in my area in May through the summer months New Image1

Why is it important to you?

I had a breast biopsy done in mid-May of 2009 after being told I had an abnormal mammogram..  I told my husband that evening that I needed to go out and buy all my flowers to plant in my garden the next day since I would be home  waiting for a phone call from the breast center with my biopsy results.  I knew I wanted to keep my mind and hands occupied so I wouldn’t be sitting on pins and needles all day.  As I was working in the yard, I was moving the wheelbarrow with a large bag of potting soil down to our back yard which involves negotiating some steps.  As I was easing the wheelbarrow down the steps, a very large butterfly like the one in my photo appeared and landed on the bag of soil.  It was so big and beautiful in the morning light, it literally took my breath away.  My mother had died from another form of cancer when I was 20.  Now 32 years later, I sensed her presence via the butterfly telling me that no matter what the biopsy reveled, I would get through this.  It was such a profound moment for me.  About a half hour later, I did get the call telling me that the biopsy did reveal cancer in my left breast.  Over the course of the next year, I underwent 6 rounds of chemotherapy and 5 surgeries which included a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

Do you have any other stories which you would like to share?

I have a strong family history of cancer due to a genetic mutation. Most all of my maternal  family members who have  had cancer  have died. When I reached my 5 year milestone in 2014, I had a tattoo of a butterfly done on my lower leg to commemorate my anniversary and remind myself every day of the strength of being a survivor and all life lessons I gained from my experience. The most valuable lesson for me was truly living in the moment and not to worry about what may come.  This was especially brought into my focus in April of 2014 when my husband was seriously injured with both head and neck injuries  in a bicycle accident from which he has successfully recovered. New Image Do you have a story to share? Download the submission form and instructions here.