Hi Kathy & Barb: I really enjoy reading your blog, and sincerely believe that crafting, or simply exercising your creative side is incredibly beneficial to one's health. This is my story:
I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer over 3 years ago when I was 39. I had yet to go for my first mammogram, but after finding a lump in my breast I was sent for a mammogram and biopsy right away. Like anyone who has had something like this happen, you never prepare yourself for the bad news. In my mind, I couldn't possibly have cancer. I prided myself on taking good care of myself and eating healthier than most people I knew. Nevertheless, I got breast cancer and had a lumpectomy followed by 6 weeks of radiation and hormonal treatment (prescribed for 5 years). I went through this stage in my life in a daze. I knew I could get through it but I don't believe I really internalized what was happening. While I was being treated, I took medical leave from my demanding corporate position. I was a head of a department with an international law firm, and had worked for this firm for over 13 years.
Once back at work, I resumed my fast paced stressful existence and put my breast cancer diagnosis behind me. Early this year, I was told (over the phone) that I was being laid off. Similar to receiving the call from my doctor to inform me that I had breast cancer, I was in shock and disbelief. In both circumstances, nothing prepares you for this life changing news. When I finally came to terms with the layoff and the concept of no longer being responsible for my job, an overwhelming urge came over me to make something with my hands. It's hard to describe this feeling other than I believe I had surpressed my creative side for so many years that something inside me finally made it's way to my attention. This urge led me to purchase books on making jewelry and it started my path into creative thinking. When I learned from a friend that I could sell my handcrafted jewelry on Etsy.com, I got excited. I soon had set up a shop, entitled "californiablue" where I could post my casual, fresh designs (http://californiablue.etsy.com). I also started a blog, also called "californiablue" which chronicles my journey into creativity and day to day inspirations I have.
All in all, I truly believe that crafting, or allowing yourself to be creative in a variety of ways is nourishing for the soul and healing for the body. My life post cancer and post corporate is not only happier, but healthier due making jewelry. I don't think anyone needs to get a life threatening diagnosis or be laid off from their job to realize how important feeding your creative spirit really is. I'm grateful for my life journey thus far, and look forward to the future.
- Melissa N. Lisbon