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You might remember me...

From: Mimi-Washington State


Hi, Nick. You might remember me from a while ago. We had talked about how souls in this world are all dollops of whipped cream.....Does that strike your memory? You may also remember that I had many of my own questions of life because I was diagnosed with cancer. Well, in the summer of 2001 I became a patient at UW Medical Center where I underwent open heart surgery to replace my two right valves. Being that I was 23 at the time and seemed to be pretty healthy otherwise, doctors figured I'd be out of the hospital in 10 days tops. There were many complications and I was put on life support and placed in a drug-induced coma. I didn't go home until my stay had reached six weeks. I almost died on more than one occasion. This brings me to what I'd like to talk with you about. Because of the amazing amount of drugs and machines that helped keep me alive I was tortured by frightening delusions and experiences that I could not convey to my family at the time - I had lost the ability to speak due to the vent I was on and later a tracheotomy. This year has been spent trying to recover from that unspeakable fear of not being understood. I was lucky to be put in a rehab program at the local Gold's Gym when the new year began and I did very well. Last spring I took an art process class that was taught by an art therapist and I also took a painting class at the local community college. Although I do fairly well with words, words didn't seem to have the full capacity to express all that I needed to have people understand about me. Artwork has been an incredible tool for me. The therapeutic process and product are things that I could never put a price on. Now there are people that have a better idea of the hell that I have lived in and survived. Have you ever thought of using your amazing diversity of talent to help others that cannot speak of the horrors that they have lived through? I now see an art therapist and she is able to understand more about what I'm thinking and feeling by my sketches than by anything that could be put into words. Have you found that your own issues are more easily dealt with through your art? Could this have something to do with the many different styles that you use? What would you suggest that someone using art as therapy focus on? Would it be more toward a type of medium or a type of artistic style? I find that your work, being so diverse, has an amazing ability to acknowledge different parts of one personality. Have you ever even thought about this before? If not I hope that you will consider my notes. Thank you so much for your time. It's an honor to receive a note back from you! Thanks. Mimi Applebaum artist and survivor

Last changed: December 11, 2005