The Red Waters of Sunrise

By: 
Kirby Lewis
About My Memoir: 

I painted “The Red Waters of Sunrise,” an acrylic on canvas, a couple years ago. As I paint, I routinely move back for an overview: to see colors, details, shadows, etc. Nearing what I thought was completion, I moved back to gaze on the painting. It lacked something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I approached the painting, and as I took my seat near my easel, I detected a change. I immediately got up and stepped back; again, the piece had visibly changed. I came closer, and it was at that moment I realized I was detecting a reddish-orange cast. At first, I was dumbfounded, but then as I looked down, my mistakes became real, as I saw my orange sweatshirt and knew the changes were the reflection of my shirt. I moved back and forth several times before I finally decided I needed to include the orange tones in the painting. But, first, I had to take off my shirt!

My cancer adventure often reminds me of the way this painting developed. Just when you think you understand something, or feel somewhat relieved, and yet...something changes. For good or bad, I’ve learned that adapting to my illness is a way I choose to proceed. It’s not my first choice – just like I didn’t plan on a painting with red waters – but I’ve learned to adapt, to move forward, and to make the most of what life has planned for me. It’s unknown, just as life has always been. I made plans, but they changed, with or without this disease, they changed... and somehow, I’m going to make the most of it. 

Advice for Others with Metastatic Breast Cancer: 

Love living life, and live life lovingly.

Why I’m a Hear My Voice Volunteer: 

Hear My Voice has provided me with a great network of newfound friends and more information to become a stronger advocate. Through this first step in my advocacy adventure, I have moved forward and continue to strive to be a better advocate.

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