The good news is I’m feeling great and basically back to pre-surgery, with maybe the exception of not being quite as strong. Radiation finished with only a few minor side effects. I took a weekend photography trip to the Sandusky/Port Clinton area this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Look for an upcoming blog about that trip.
The bad news is neither the chemo nor the radiation appeared to help much. A tumor is growing in the area where my oncologist had to leave some tumor remnants during the original surgery. It grew even during radiation even though it was definitely in the irradiated area. The location of this tumor makes surgery not an ideal option right now and so the next step is a clinical trial of immunotherapy. My type will be two drugs that basically switch on the body’s ability to see the tumor and kickstart the immune system into fighting it. To all my Trekkie friends out there…the tumor is a cloaked Romulan ship, immunotherapy is the Enterprise, and Spock found a way to de-cloak it so they could fire photon torpedoes at it. The James (OSU) is in the forefront of research into immunotherapy so I’m again blessed by having them so nearby. I will have an infusion every two weeks for the foreseeable future as long as side effects are tolerable. Tiredness and gastrointestinal problems the most common and are usually manageable and not nearly as severe like chemo. I won’t lose my hair again! However, it is not without potential downsides. Anytime you tinker with the human immune system you can make it turn on itself and cause auto-immune disorders, though they are rare.
But onto photography…because somewhere between a surgery, two hospital stays, countless doctor appointments, chemo treatments, radiation, trying to get back to working close to full-time, and stealing a bit of photography time this summer on the weekends, I also find myself accepted to three shows this fall, and have already booked two shows for 2020. The first, the "2019 Ohio Nature Photo Exhibition/Competition", a group show at the Caesar Creek Lake Visitor Center, features the photo below "Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light", from Aug 31 thru Dec 31. The exhibition was open to any image taken in any of the City, County, State, and Federal Parks or Nature Preserve located in the State of Ohio from which around 30 images were selected
The second is a juried group show called “Nocturnal Illusion” in which I have the two photos (below). It features works of art that pertain to evening, nighttime, dreams, the ethereal, and the mysterious. My photos (below) along with several other artists' work will be up for the month of October with the opening reception at the Hilltop Art Hop, Saturday, October 5, 6-9pm at 3060 ArtWorks, 3060 West Broad, Columbus.
The third show is "Inclement Seasons". This solo show is six of my photos exploring the beauty of bad weather, at the Art Space at Highline Coffee in Worthington. The photos will be up for the month of October with the opening reception Saturday, October 12 3-5. The photo (below) is called "Slowing the Storm", which is the breakwater at Rocky River Beach (Lake Erie). It’s my favorite in the show, and, while I didn’t even hint that, Don Scott, the curator also chose it for the promotional material. Like most of the photos in the show, its title has a double meaning. It's also a play on a photography term as well. A breakwater's job is to "slow" the waves pounding of the shore and provide a safe shelter. I chose to make the photo with a long exposure, also called a "slow shutter", to emphasize that.
Seven months ago I sat in an emergency room knowing something was probably seriously wrong. Waves of "what if's" threatened to overwhelm me (as they do even now with the immunotherapy coming up). That day my husband was my breakwater, "slowing the storm". Planning for this show has been a Brightening Day in my inclement season of a year. I’m not to the point of And Then the Storm Passed but I’m certainly not Still in Winter’s Grasp. If you find yourself On the Road to Destruction, seek help. Use your faith, your art, your friends, family, pastors, teachers, and doctors as your breakwater. Don’t let your inclement season overwhelm you.
There is one more photo in the series. While its title is fairly straight-forward without the subtle double meanings of the others, it still has a message. It’s one of grasping at opportunities. It’s easy to sit home during an inclement season (both physically and mentally), but there are times when you have to get out or take a chance. Had I not done that, Creek on a Snowy March Day would not be in the show. Actually, come to think of it, there wouldn’t be a show at all. While Creek on a Snowy March Day is the only one made this year, they all represent challenges, opportunities, and trips that I would not have taken even just five years ago. The show, itself, is a testament to the amazing art community in Columbus that’s willing to take a chance on artists and help them grow. So while I’m still in an “Inclement Season”, I look forward to sharing these photos with you, seeing you at the receptions and creating more photos this fall
Don Scotton September 19, 2019
What a wonderful and inspirational blog post. You are a brave warrior. I agree that you are blessed to have the support of the James, whose medical team is on the forefront of cancer research. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to meet you as we've become friends through our mutual appreciation of fine art photography specifically and art in general. Thank you for your personal story, some of which I plan to steal to promote your October show along the way on social media. Whatever the inclement season, the hope for a brighter future is on the horizon.