Artist/Cancer Comic Book Writer, Mary E. Walter, Has Created The Perfect Comfort Thing For Cancer Patients
Humor Is The Best Medicine
Humor and Realism Can Sometimes Be The Best Medicine
On November 28 I had to go to Kaiser-Permanente West L.A. Medical Center for an endoscopy and colonoscopy because one of my tests came back with suspicious irregularites that had to be examined. I was nervous because now that I'd been diagnosed with breast cancer it seems like every exam, procedure and test I have is to make sure the cancer hadn't spread. I haven't reached the five year cancer free mark yet so I'm still susceptible to recurrence.
The day before my procedures I had to drink a large bottle of Gavilyte-CSol, take four Dulculax tablets and basically fast.
"How am I going to ever survive this this time?," I asked myself.
Mary E. Walter Doesn't Let Anything Get Her Down:
I desperately needed comforting but I didn't know what was going to be able to do it for me now.I looked at my usual comfort things-my inflatable Hello Kitty doll, my teddy bear "Honey Bunny," and my tap shoes- and wondered if they could help. Maybe...but not until later after I'd recuperated. Frustrated, I meditated over my options, until I finally remembered a series of comic books given to me by a woman in my "Cancer and Creativity" group at the "Onocology Foundation." Her name is Mary E. Walter and she wrote and illustrated them while dealing with her own melanoma diagnosis and subsequent life changes. Although I'd already read "Part 4: From Track Pants To Yoga Pants," when she first gave it to me, something made me go back and read it again along with "Part 3: Double Major," and "Part 2: Cancer-y Enough."
She named the series "My Year In Track Pants," and at first I didn't understand why, until I realized it described her sturggle to find comfortable clothes following her melanoma surgery. It was like she was one of my kindred spirits, because I had the same problem following my mastectomy last August, except instead of track pants I had to get used to wearing button-down shirts. As I read them I realized this series was the comfort thing I was looking for to help me through my procedures.
The thing I really love about them is that they're easy to read and beautifully illustrated. Charming, and almost childlike, they remind me of the "Ghost World" graphic novel and the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series. Walter definitely made them to be read over and over again and to be user-friendly. After reading them I logged onto her website, www.herderofducks.com, and was pleasantly blown away by its retro style whimsy. I won't spoil it for you by overly describing it, because I think you should visit it yourself, but I will say it's the perfect accompaniment to her comic books.
I would be lying if I said my procedure wasn't as scary and uncomfortable as it sounds, because it was, but at least I had Walter's comic books to help me through it. That, in itself, is a comforting thought.
Humor Is A Wonderful Way to Relieve Stress and Relax
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Creativity Is A Good Way To Deal With the Cancer Experience
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