It’s been a while since my last entry here. The last few weeks of my chemotherapy were quite difficult and exhausting. Heading into the week of what was supposedly my last session, I had the poor fortune of contracting a sore throat which progressed into a heavy cough paired with a cold. Thankfully, my COVID-19 RT-PCR test came back negative and my white blood cell count remained within acceptable limits despite the immunosuppressive effects of my ongoing chemo. Nevertheless, I couldn’t get clearance for my next and final chemo session as my doctor insisted I make a full recovery from my cough first before proceeding. Bummer. So, as much as I would have liked to have finished earlier in December and gotten to work on some stuff I had planned, I had to wait another week to get my final treatment.

Worse than this delay, however, was the fact that I lost two of my beloved senior cats Toby and KitKat in the same month – a sad tale for another day, perhaps, as I don’t feel much like talking about that yet. Suffice it to say that too many things were going on for me at the same time that possibly I did not, could not attend to them as much as I should have.

All these happened in the first two months of December. Finally, week before Christmas, my chemo was at last done. I sent the nurses and staff at the chemo unit several pizzas in gratitude for their care during my therapy and for an early Christmas mini-feast. By Christmas Day and New Year’s I was recovered enough physically and emotionally from all that happened in early December that I could enjoy the holiday celebrations and be truly grateful that I had endured the past year as well as I did.

In all that time, I did not find much time nor energy to make art, although I did somehow manage to engage in one craft project which for some reason sparked my interest: paper making.

Perhaps recycling something out of trash was somehow symbolic of turning out something beautiful from the crap year that was. Or perhaps I just needed to fill my time with something productive, something creative that did not require fine detail work which I could not manage in my current weakened, hands-unsteady state. Paper making was simple enough. No fine motor skills required. The materials were at hand except for the mould and deckle which were cheaply purchased. And it allowed for enough creativity to satisfy my need for self-expression.

It was indeed a satisfying process, only now I have more recycled paper than I know what to do with!

Journals perhaps, or little pocket notebooks for note-taking – my next craft projects after all this recycling. We’ll see.

It’s January now. The year is ahead. I’m once again finding myself overwhelmed with inquiries from my other job, which I’m grateful for but also, could we take it slow and please allow me to ease back into this? As usual, and as I feared, my artwork tends to take a backseat to my other work. I’m trying for it not to be so, but it seems January, at least, will have to be dedicated to the dogs. After the admin work is done, and everything is pretty much automated and running on auto pilot, I will have time for creative endeavors again. Fingers crossed.

But first, this week I’m getting my post-chemo tests and scans. Hoping for the best.