Wednesday, October 27


mandala journal detail
ⓒ 2010
Over the past few weeks I've been under the weather due to another attempt at taking Tamoxifen, a tool I was told would be essential for my arsenal against breast cancer recurrence.  Unfortunately, the side effects were unbearable, leaving me without the ability to sleep or eat for days, among other things.

Tamoxifen is the only option for premenopausal women, so now I'm adjusting to the new *option*.  I am being forced (via injection Lupron, every four weeks) into menopause, and soon will be trying out another drug, called Arimidex.

mandala journal detail
ⓒ 2010
So what I'm working on now, aside from adjusting to waves of nausea and fatigue from lack of sleep, while moving through the house accompanied by a fan to combat the feeling of being over heated (no hot flashes, just sweating HOT!!), is my mind set that this forcing is okay.  That I'm helping, and not hurting my body.  I need to consistently work on my thinking, so that I don't refer to these medicines as toxic, or think of them as poison, as my body tries again and again to reject them.  Vomiting is the clearest sign of physical rejectionand the way a body protects itself, to me, and I've done quite a bit of that - so I'm back on anti nausea meds, and reframing my mind set on these medications.  Transforming the idea that they are forcing my body harmfully, and instead believing they are working on creating a most undesirable environment for cancer to set up shop in my body.  

I am being protected by powerful medicines.  The strongest of which I feel comes from each one of you.  You who connect with me here, who have been through what I am going through, who send me your messages and prayers, who make me laugh, and think, and care, and believe...  I thank you.
much love,

mandala journal
ⓒ 2010


  1. Hello there! I see you!

    My goodness Karin! I actually gasped when I saw the first image. I was so shocked. It is such a fitting representation of the awful side effects of your therapy. Yet you managed to mask it with beauty and desirability by creating that colorful crown, whatever it is, the love, best wishes, prayers, caring that each and everyone of your friends have for you, petition on your behalf, offer and bestow upon you. It's unfortunate that anti mitotic and other cancer fighting drugs not only destroy the cancer cells but also the healthy ones. I want you to know that it is not just during the month of October that I think of you. I truly wish you well and pray for your recovery, damn it! I truly do. Tsup!!!

    I owe you a letter but I don't want to send you my germs when I cough or sneeze on the screen. Oh never mind, your computer has anti-virus!

  2. Okay! I am worried about you. I know I am the ultimate inkaholic but I enlarged your mandala and you did not squiggle it. Every dot is a complete circle! OH MY GOODNESSS!!! YOUR WRISTS!!! TSUP! TSUP!

    This is amazing!!!

  3. Hi Karin. What can I say but to say what you are saying and that is that those medicines will help you. The doctor's know what they are doing and you have to be as strong as you can be. I'll continue to pray for you Karin and hold you in my thoughts and send you nothing but good and healing thoughts. Stay strong and try to keep doing your beautiful work. Totally awesome. So much intense detail. I love this work. Thanks for sharing and remember that good thoughts are being sent your way, travelling through the air waves. ::hugs::

  4. to read you make me think that you are so strong

  5. Thank you Ces!! dang, I'm sorry you're sick, but yes - thankfully I'm updated on my antivirus protection ;^)
    I thought of you repeatedly as I did this piece - the process is so you!! I did wear my brace, and I was good about taking breaks - you'd have been proud of me!! xoxox get better soon - i'm blowing well wishing kisses your way!

    oh, thank you Gloria - I feel your wishes and all the good energy you send my way - thank you so much! I'm glad you like this piece! xoxox

    Thanks you Valerie - sometimes it doesn't feel like it, when I want to say ENOUGH!! but in the nick of time something shifts and *enough* allows me to keep going, plus all you guys and your support is what keeps me strong. Thank you. xoxo

  6. All I can say right now ... is that I love you xoxoxoxo

    Be well ... be well ... be well ...

  7. Hi Karin, i can hear in your post the struggle to reframe the poisions into doing good for your body, staying positive sounds really hard at the moment.You give me so much through your art and this mandala,all i can offer in returns are my prayers and positive thoughts
    much love and light to you

  8. je pleure en te lisant car c'est ma vie aussi six mois après la fin du traitement, je ne dors plus avec le tamoxifen, cette nuit encore, j'avais envie de prendre un bain glacé. Comme toi je reçois l'injection d'énantone.C'est très difficile à supporter. Ton art est suis des ateliers d'art-thérapie aussi en France. Je t'embrasse très chaleureusement.

  9. My thoughts and heart are with you.
    That you can manage to do your art seems some sort of miracle.

  10. Every month, for the past 11 I have been given Tysabri also potentially, toxic and with the potential to kill me every time I receive it...but, BUT, it has slowed down the progression of new lesions forming in my CNS...during my last infusion at the medical center (last Friday actually) I received a message from Joanne "I keep in my heart the image of an elixir flowing into your body and all its tributaries, like a tree's roots drawing up water and nutrients from the soil to make it lush and full of life" I loved this, and hope her words and vision will resonate for you as well...these medication changes are about healing, wholeness, holiness for your sacred vessel, your body, container of your soul.

    And we do love you Karin...and we are all out here supporting you through each step, each time you kneel to the porcelain god...we are there rubbing your back gently, offering you cool wash cloths for your head and a sip of water when you are you see us? hear us? feel us? YOU are not alone sweetie. You are surrounded by love.

  11. your cheering section is here in N.J. too! It makes me so mad to think that instead of finding a cure for cancer and help for people like you ,we have to be spending billions killing people we dont even know! why , why! lotsa hugs!

  12. This piece of art is wonderfully appropriate for Halloween as well as beautifully illustrating your current struggle.

    Sometimes animals make themselves throw up on purpose, did you know that? There are also Ayurvedic practices that involve induced vomiting. It doesn't have to be just a sign of rejection - that kind of purge can be a helpful way to get rid of other stuff in our body, too.

    Anyway, keep up your most excellent work in dealing with your cancer, your beautiful and giving soul will lead the way. Surrendering to the process is sometimes the best thing - and you know all about surrender and process.

    You're so close to the end of this particular journey. Keep going! xo

  13. Karin, you are an inspiration! I hope this regime sets you on the road to recovery. Your calavera is magnificent - I am inspired to have a go. xxxx

  14. Keep the faith Karin. You've made it this far. I'll share with you one of my favorite prayers. It may be somewhat familiar to you. It works for me in good times and bad.

    God can work through you better
    When you are not hurrying.
    Go very slowly, very quietly
    From one duty to the next
    Taking time to rest and pray between.

    Do not be too busy.
    Take everything in order.
    Venture often into the rest of God
    And you will find peace.

    Partake regularly of rest and prayer.

    --- This prayer is calming for me and reminds me to take it one step at a time. --- Your mandala is such a descriptive visual of your experience. You are an amazing woman. Love and warm hugs.

  15. what ever way you choose to go is the right way for you love and no one else can make that decision for you. as always, I am praying for a full recovery and I visualize your wellness always. this is a powerful piece that really illustrates your feelings. sending much love, caro amici! xox

  16. sending you love and strength and prayers...sending you love and strength and prayers...sending you love and strength and prayers...sending you love....

  17. Love you too Jaliya. xoxox

    "All" you are offering, Sevapuri, is an abundance to me. I thank you, with gratitude and love.

    Mirontaine, I am so sorry that you, too, are suffering the trials of these medications and this battle. I wish I could offer more than the knowledge that you are not alone, and my thoughts are with you. Wishing you relief and peace within your body and spirit.

    Thank you Penny.

    and thank you Laura, yes - I remember Joanne's beautiful words in our exchange! and I feel the powerful presence of you and everyone's care and love - it truly inspires and lifts me through some of the darkest hours. love you, K

    Oh lyle, let's not go there, it's too frustrating to think about!! But cheers and hugs from NJ I'll hold onto!! xox

    hi Svasti, Well, I was referring to non-voluntary purging! running to the bathroom to beat the rejection from my body before it hit the floor. It would be nice to think I was "close to the end of this particular journey" - that's what I had naively thought myself. But I'm told these meds will be a daily thing for the next 10 years, so it's far from over. Surrendering to it can begin now though! and each day forward... yeah, I'm sure the season helped influence my imagery - I love halloween, dia de los meurtos, all souls day, etc!! For me they represent new life, rather than death, so I love a good skeleton!! xox

    Thank you Megan!! oh yes, go for it - they are fun to create! xox

    That is a beautiful prayer Claire, thank you for sharing it with me. I will copy it out and keep it near. much love.

    this is true cat, the final decision is mine. without information I'd probably choose differently! but having full knowledge of my specific numbers and tumor type a little force is needed in my choice. with time, I hope the peace I have in my choice will be felt physically, too! amore ed abbracci, xo

    mmmm, thank you Kim. taking in your love, and strength, and prayers... feeling them and sending you my love, and strength and prayers... xo

  18. Powerful image!!!

    Oh ouch throwing up is The bowels of hell. I hate it more than anything. I sometimes get migranes with it. So anti nausea meds sounds like a gift elixer.

    Hope u get a soft cool wind to sooth. Blessings to your energy body. Sorry you have to go through any of it. Image of you doing that dance just popped in my mind. This long journey u have endured. This too shall pass into joy.

  19. ~to the power of our mind...a hard struggle to retrain and rethink of how we view such...but it is the one gift we have a choice in making how we feel and what we are strong in your sense of taking all that you are going through...the evil...the pain...the toxins and the poisins and looking at them with trying eyes realizes this is what you need...what you need to accept to thrive and help you...i send a gentle breeze to blow about you keeping your body cool...l♥ve and strength to get through each day...inspiration to keep you fighting through your art...ever so healing it can be...i am sure you have been flooded with suggestions and therefor but i thought i would share just a piece...having gone through my husbands father fighting prostate cancer we started doing alot of reading...john hopkins had put out an article about dairy and how it makes the cancer thrive...creates excess muscus father in law suffered greatly from spells of nausea and vomitting and slowly started to try to eliminate dairy from his did help a bit...i know like i said...i am sure you have read and have heard a many of things...just thought i would pass it along...much l♥ve and light shining brightly upon you this day and always~

  20. i karin, i love how you are transforming your thoughts... such an amazing lesson for us all and a beautiful reminder of how our own thoughts affect our bodies... i will be thinking of you and augie as you both go on this journey of continual healing and strength and hope that your bodies will be beacons of light - cancer free - for those of us to admire, love and support... sending you hugs and know that i think of you often!!! xopeace, jennifer

  21. Hi Karin, It's good to hear from you.
    Wow, the things I take for granted, like sleeping & eating for starters.
    There's lots of good thoughts for you in this comment from me.
    And love,
    p.s. you've made a very scary mandala but the colors as usual are wonderful. I'm almost too scared to try something so dark, but inspired to try. Maybe it won't be as scary as happy dancing?!? xox, j

  22. "they are working on creating a most undesirable environment for cancer to set up shop in my body."

    see karin!!! that necessary early infant spunk knows what to do. i believe that.

    i am so fucking sick of cancer.

    there, i said it. since renee's not around, i find we don't swear so easily. i am saying 'fuck' on your blog in her honor :)

    i hate to hear how sick this is making you. i can't say i know, but i can easily imagine. you are brave, karin. really. i hope those cells march out in unison. i send you my thoughts and love, along with so many others. good thing we know the energy and love changes molecules.

    all those circles i think also say everything that circles are about.

    including ours...

    love you, karin
    email still coming
    i am bad


  23. You are such a strong and beautiful person..You have captured it by placing the crown.
    To be postive.
    You are in my prayers and thoughts
    my friend.

  24. Hold on to what is good
    even if its a handful of earth.
    Hold on to what you believe
    even if it is a tree that stands by itself.
    Hold on to what you must do
    even if its a long way from here.
    Hold on to life
    even when its easier to let go.
    Hold on to my hand
    even when I have gone away from you.
    - Pueblo verse

    Karin I know you do all of this and so much more but I hope these words soothe you as much as they soothe me.

  25. I like what Ces said, and everyone else actually. Karin, you are amazing and creating amazing art even through your pain. This piece is striking. I hope you feel better very soon and you can make huge art and sell them everywhere.

  26. Karin,

    I've often wondered about what you're speaking about here--how can one learn to see cancer meds as healing tonics rather than poisonous substances tearing about the body, wreaking havoc? The many children I've watched over the last 10 years 'rise and shine' after completing what seem to be the most excruciating chemo trials is proof positive to me that there is brilliant life following the "dark night of the body and soul" that comes with these medications.

    I wish you the gentlest of paths, days filled with drawing and days that bring relief from pain and nausea. May you feel the surrounding cloud of love with which all of us here in the blogosphere are surrounding you.

  27. I looked at this piece a few days ago, but had to take time to digest it. It's powerful work. I see it as a banishing spell; you are using your spiritual power to banish the cancer cells, and turn them into something beautiful. You're right to believe you're being protected by powerful medicines; we all join our power with yours to protect and heal you.
    I see fear and pain in this image, but I also detect a bit of humor, like that of the grinning skulls of the Mexican Day of the Dead Celebrations. I was told once that if you can laugh at the evil spirits, they cannot harm you. Rest well, and know we are all here with you.

  28. *gasps*

    Ces calls me an inkaholic, and it's true. I'm damn proud to be one, too. My gosh, Karin, when I saw this, I got goosebumps. I enlarged it and marveled over each tiny circle, each tiny oval, each little line. It must have taken so long, with so much concentration. Ces says her squiggles represent prayers, like prayer beads in ink. I see that here. And the image itself is so telling. The weight of something large and heavy on the mind.

    I admire your thinking about the drugs. I believe firmly in the effect of mind on the body, and I believe you are a fighter. I hope with ever fiber of my being that this new approach is effective for you.


  29. First of all, still sending you healing thoughts. Second, this is a powerful and stunning image! Wow!

  30. Tamoxifen - yes, my friend takes this.

    Another artist friend writes about managing seveely limited energies ( which you may find helpful.

    If you like creating hand-made notebooks, as I do, this may appeal to you too:

    Best wishes,


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