I’m sat here, eating a Twizzler that was given to me by my USA friends who I met in London yesterday. How lucky am I with all those values in that sentence? I can travel, I have friends, I have friends who think of me, I’m eating one of my favourite USA Candies!
I started this year, as like last year too, unsure if I would be around to finish it. But here I am, still surprised at the reluctance and strength of the human body and mind, and at modern medicine. Life naturally changes, it often discriminately changes too, but sometimes in the most beautiful ways.
Here’s some of my 2013 changes, lessons, and awesomeness:
This time last year I was perfecting my personal statement to apply to university to study Radiotherapy & Oncology. I started my new course this year, which 4 months into, I STILL ABSOLUTELY love. Being super healthy and indifferent before all this stuff happened to me, I had NO idea I was actually interested in medicine – as I had no contact with it, really. And Oncology mostly. We know from the kind of art I like to make, that in order to understand something I have to be part of it, or try to make the change I want to see from my personal experience (I.E. power struggles).
On my better days, I feel connected to something very big… I like to think my experience happened to me to point me in this direction, ignited a fire of curiosity within me. Hell ,I still have no idea how i even got accepted onto the program with my arts-no-science background – my ambition is to help innovate Radiation Oncology in the future. I’m here now because I needed to understand what’s happening, and also make sure the patient pathway is always full of the best care and compassion and empathy. Protein make-up of tumors and immunology have really caught my imagination this semester too. To be part of some great changing research in the future would be dope. All of this is extremely important to me. Because, the scary truth is that many of us in the cancer world — both doctors, HCP and patients — are kind of winging it here, just hoping that the cure & the disease doesn’t kill us along the way.
My course is a different kind of pace than studying art was, a different way of thinking (as you’d expect, but really!), and still being a freelance Artist makes juggling both jobs hard – but everything good takes time and it feels worth it. And i’m so damn lucky to be here, studying this, being part of it and still maintaining my art career!
Another thing is that for all the pain and uncertainty I’ve experienced, I’ve received 10 times that in the love and generosity and devotion from friends, family and even random strangers! I have been constantly over-whelmed by the goodness of people within my life. That’s why this year, I feel like I’ve waned towards childhood fantasies – christmas makes me more excited, i love dinosaurs more & onsies, even more than I did when I was a kid! It’s a great “grey-area “to be in because I’m discovering the wonder of mystery again, the possibility of things unseen — and mostly – the joy of savoring the moment before it’s gone.
When you think you’re dying (and surprisingly don’t ) eating Twizzler’s at 12:18am doesn’t faze you. This year I’ve ticked more stuff of the good ol’ bucketlist. But strangely most things that got ticked off – was only possible because others made it possible!
One of my favourite artists, role-models – and over-all-inspirational-good-guy William Powhida made me my own piece of art! (6 months on, I’m still awe-struck & completely made up with this) Bucketlist TICK! , My mom bought me a gorgeous cookbook this christmas so I can tick off [Learn to cook], A friend who is an amazing woodsmith showed me how to carve wood- basically, I’ve sort of worked for a start-up this year (but I could expand on this), soon I’ll be able to bike a part of the tour-De-France as they’re opening up a route via Sheffield! Friends and I megabus-ed to Paris to see it at Christmas, I swung on a trapeze, splashed in the ocean and lakes, saw breath-taking sunsets and sunrises around the world, rode horseback across a desert, did another USA roadtrip with my friends and all I seemed to eat was pretzel bites and jalapeño cheese & chips for lunch, because, what the hell. I went to the movies a billion-times. I threw coins into fountains and made wishes. Made lots of new friends, learnt a bit of Italian (That I’ve kind of forgotten), learnt that my French is absolutely terrible, and that I’m definitely an “arty type” rather than a “sciencey type”. And I opened my skeptical heart to love again.
I’ve learnt that I’m crappy at a lot of stuff (like saying medical words, gawd it’s hard, and getting up early), but my friends are phenomenal at being there for me and helping me go about the business of living. We all need miracles. There’s nothing like reality to make you trust in the impossible. These miracles are also your mom and your brother and your grandmother and all your funny, spirited, kind friends. These miracles are every tender moment of your life, which disappears with every tick of the clock, and, I have no doubt, every fantastic adventure you have yet to come. The miracles are part of all of us, at every age, still willing to give, still willing to hope…
And so here’s my hope. I wish and hope that all my friends and family are surrounded by the people and things that they love. That 2014 is full of beautiful, amazing, simple and complex adventures and ideas and happiness and health for you. I hope that these experiences keep helping me to be a better person, a better friend, a better health-care-professional, a better artist, just generally better.
Keep being awesome yo. Friends, thanks for the support. Here’s to more learning, more drawing, more motivation and healthy happy thoughts for 2014! 🙂