Our featured artist for October, Julie Burdis, has expressed her breast cancer journey through both painting and poetry.
‘Drowning in a sea of cliches’
Radio National knew. They told me.
If the lump is hard, does not move or disappear between menses,
5 years riding a roller coaster ensued.
4 G.P.’s, 2 surgeons , 6 mammograms, one ultrasound conspired to dismiss my concerns. Then I must be insane. They couldn’t all be wrong. Could they?
My brain fumbled in a fog of diminishing vocabulary, as the now concerned doctor, pronounced his verdict using a language,
Not of my knowing.
My blood went cold.
Invasive ductal carcinoma, mastectomy, lumpectomy,
Oncologist, pet scan, cat scan. I could nor form a 4 letter word.
And yet the clichés kept coming.
My legs turned to jelly.
Tossed off the ship of life, left in it’s wake, dark clouds on the horizon,
Storm clouds ahead. The earth moved – and so did my bowels.
Had I so early, entered –
The sunset of my life?
Dreams manifested water, troubled and still, I was up the creek without a paddle
And drowning in self pity.
A sinking feeling engulfed me.
Dejected, rejected, found wanting – of no further use. A specimen, in a glass jar.
through which I could neither touch, nor be touched.
An unwelcome stranger loomed.
Let down, yet perceiving judgements and blame for having clasped in my bosom,
this foul, sneaky, skulking disease. My head spun, my world crumbled,
though night kept following day.
I was stopped in my tracks.
From the depths of these negative ablutions, laden with guilt and self flagellation,
My subconscious funnelled through to the light at the end.
You are pissed of, - it screamed.
And, I saw the light.
Use the energy of your anger as a fuel to nurture your mortality,
urged this voice of dissent. Always look the Tiger in the eye, buy some chooks and never say die.
And I did, I do, I did, I don’t and so, I am.
N.B. - and totally cliché free.
An Occasional Blog published during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2017
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Benalla Street Art Map
Benalla Youth Action Committee
Juddy Roller Wall to Wall
Benalla Art Gallery
Shepparton Art Museum
GANEAA (Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance)
Wangaratta Art Gallery
Table Top Games at NEA