Twitter: @lonestar_lawyer; Instagram: @austinatty Linkedin: Elizabeth Rogers
Survivor and fighter of ALK+ cancer
Twist on Cancer: To me, being the oldest among my siblings and cousins meant needing to be the toughest, wisest, and the example-setter. It also meant hiding fear, sadness and uncertainty. Then, two days before Mother’s Day in 2019, I got diagnosed with ALK+ cancer, a rare form causing genetic mutation of cells. It was then I realized my “twist” on cancer, and a twist on a lifetime pattern of behavior– I started allowing myself to be vulnerable by allowing others -- who I’d loved, “mothered” and mentored -- to help me through my weaknesses, anxieties and sadness. Because they held me up with their love, prayers and positive energy, it freed me to focus on strengthening my body and spirit for the journey. Through this personal transformation, all of us experienced a spectacular transformation of our relationships with each other. We have spent more time together, than ever before, enjoying life’s simple pleasures and checking off bucket list wishes.
It’s likely no coincidence that Brushes with Cancer and I met. Part of my lifetime behavior pattern has involved communicating through art (short stories, dance, paintings and sharing lyrics of music). The new “vulnerable” me is slowly transforming this pattern because, with the armor down, I now more deliberately voice my emotions. But, I’ll always be an arts enthusiast because there always will be a place in this world for expressing ideas, emotions and views -- through movements, sounds and pictures – in a way that just can’t be said in words. With that in mind, I invite you to enjoy Annie McAuley’s beautiful interpretation of my cancer journey. Overall, her painting perfectly delivers an abstract expression of my infinite gratitude everyone who has gotten me this far.