Two years ago today, cancer swung into my life like a wrecking ball.
Getting that call, from a nurse telling me the biopsies I’d had the day before were positive for breast cancer, was scary and surreal. Suddenly I had a team of doctors, a schedule hijacked by tests and treatments, and an uncertain future. Everything changed and crystallized so quickly — what I cared about, what I needed, what I wanted.
Since that day, I’ve let so much else fall away — including the work I thought I’d do for decades.
Before my diagnosis I’d built a thriving business, tapping into my intuitive abilities to provide guidance and classes for clients around the world. It felt like such a gift to be able to provide precise instructions and insights for all the dear hearts who trusted the messages coming through for them. I was always just as surprised as them when details about their lives and their loved ones came through that I couldn’t have known personally.
On the side, just for fun, I’d make art in my spare time. Sometimes I even sold my creations, from greeting cards to necklaces, on Etsy or at local art fairs. So when the angels woke me up one morning in 2017 and insisted that I paint with them, it was an unexpected request — but not as weird as, say, asking me to do something like build a computer or fly a plane!
Even so, painting wasn’t really my thing — especially with watercolors, as they requested — but I followed the angels’ lead and was surprised by what we were able to create together. Hours would fly by as I painted; it was energizing, intoxicating and the resulting pieces felt otherworldly. I kept doing readings for clients, yet felt pulled all the time to paint and transcribe the angelic messages that came with each work of art. I remember telling a couple of confidants that the process was so joyful, I would love to paint with the angels full-time if I could. But it didn’t seem reasonable to totally switch gears; I’d spent so much time building my business, our family counted on my income, and I felt like I had so many clients counting on me to keep sharing the guidance they needed from Beyond.
So, I tried to keep juggling the two. I knew I wasn’t meant to just keep the paintings to myself; the angels wanted their energy and messages to reach others. So I hosted a couple of pop-up sales of prints and cards. But soon, the dudio was overrun with painted canvases — so I held my first art show in August 2018. And guess what? People showed up. They bought the originals! They asked about custom work. For the first time, I considered that maybe I could actually make money making art and wondered if my professional path would change over time.
Instead, it practically changed overnight.
Several weeks later, when I got the call that I had breast cancer, I hoped I could keep working through treatment. But I could barely get out of bed; I didn’t have the focus and stamina to communicate with the Other Side and support my clients every day. Within a couple of months, I’d had to cancel all my readings and stopped taking on new ones. I kept thinking I’d be able to return to that work, and even rescheduled some sessions months later — but each time I did, I’d wind up sick or in pain or needing new tests and would have to cancel again. This was a heavy burden on me; not only did I feel terrible about keeping clients in limbo, but my income disappeared as medical bills started rolling in. I had to consciously choose each day to trust that everything would work out, somehow.
Throughout chemo, surgery and radiation, I was still able to paint with the angels occasionally and it energized me on even the worst days. Sometimes it was in the middle of the night, after steroid injections that messed with my sleep. Sometimes it was on days I nearly slept through, for 15 minutes in between marathon naps. Each painting took many weeks to complete, but each time I stepped into the dudio (our dining-room-turned-studio), it was a relief to still be working with the angels in some way. I realized that had they not approached me about painting the year before, I wouldn’t have developed that creative, healing discipline to give me purpose and stay connected to them throughout this journey. I think they knew exactly what they were doing all along.
Some people go through cancer treatment, tame the beast and move on with their lives relatively unscathed. Some are even able to keep working, depending on the scope of their treatments. I can’t help but wonder if the angels knew I’d have more twists and turns from the start, but didn’t dare crush my spirits with that news. They still won’t let on about how much they knew or know; they just urge me to focus on the right now. I want so much to be one of the warriors who surpasses the goal of living five years after treatment for triple-negative breast cancer (for me, the clock started ticking after my double mastectomy in March 2019), but I know they’re right; fretting about the future won’t get me there any faster or easier. And neither will trying to return to the old me, to old priorities, to work of the past.
Earlier this year, I finally gave up on the hope I’d get back to conducting client readings anytime soon. Though my cancer is in remission, 2020 has unexpectedly been full of surgeries, scares, scans and complications. I’m an eternal optimist and believe in holistic healing, but also understand the physical realities of my situation. I never know how I’ll feel from day to day, or what new intervention or news my team will have. I would never want to compromise a client session by showing up less than 100% focused and engaged; that would be unfair to them and draining for me. But the art has continued to be so therapeutic, so life-affirming, so perfect for my fluctuating schedule and health.
As we entered 2020, my ability to create art with the angels but not conduct readings with full confidence stopped feeling like an accident or temporary detour. It felt like an intentional shift that I was the last to recognize. So, I finally informed clients who’d been patiently waiting for so long to reconnect, removed bookings from my web site, and embraced the very thing I’d once told my friends felt like a pie-in-the-sky wish: turning my art with the angels into my full-time work. I realize now that this still allows me to channel their guidance at my own pace, and let each message reach those who need it. In the same way I used to be amazed by the way their messages resonated with an individual, I’m now thrilled whenever I hear from someone who says a card or painting found its way to them right on time, with the perfect message.
It feels like my work has changed completely — and somehow hasn’t changed at all.
This weekend, I painted for the first time after weeks of being in a giant arm wrap for vascular issues. We worked on the new print above — called The Way Forward — and the words they delivered with it felt like they were as much for me as anyone else: “Dare to ask each morning what it would take for your heart to feel full and let the answer be your compass.” YES.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
I don’t know what the future holds, and that’s okay. My five year plan is to spend each day focusing on the right now, treasuring the people I love, taking good care of me and doing what fills my heart & spreads a little light. And if (when!) it winds up restoring my income, that’ll be wonderful, too. The clearer I get about what fills my heart, the more I see what I no longer need, and that includes a dudio that’s filled to the brim. So this Thursday (9/10), I will host a big online sale on art inventory that I’ve held onto for too long: single prints of paintings, cards I no longer sell, even some originals. My hope is that you may have just the right space for it. First dibs will go to my newsletter subscribers, so make sure you’re signed up to be notified as soon as the sale goes live.
Two years ago today, cancer came in like a wrecking ball. It has forced me to reassess, to rebuild, and renew my commitment to living with a full heart. I hope that sharing the ways I do that motivates you to do the same for yourself.