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Let's Discuss...creativity

Creating art can be healing. It can be a way for people to express their unspoken or unconscious concerns about their illness and their lives, deal with emotional conflicts, increase self-awareness, cope with cancer, and reduce stress.

Discussion Questions:

-Do you have a creative outlet? How has it helped?

Feel free to share your creations below 😊

(Painting, Writing, Knitting, Crocheting, Photography- all welcome)

38 Replies
1 Posts

Art is a way to heal and to process my emotions. I've been writing poetry to better understand my journey through this, and I plan on painting and writing more after my semester is over. I would like to share a poem I wrote recently. It's just 2 weeks since I have received my diagnosis, so I'm going through fertility treatments before starting chemo.

Fear seems to linger
Don't lift a finger
You are so fragile and pale
Breath in and exhale

Twisted nights and fertility
No longer having the ability
To be a woman like I had envisioned
Now health becomes the only mission

How did I get to be in this place?
So far away from beauty and grace
Becoming a skeleton, just skin and bones
My body is now a war zone

To find the strength in a place so dim
Trying to move away from the grim
Yet there is no rhyme or reason
I will change with the seasons

The journey has yet to begin
Wanting to hold those skin to skin
At night is when my mind wonders
To hope that I won't be torn asunder

20 Posts

I do paint by numbers, they are very therapeutic for me. The paint by numbers you can get these are fabulous, it takes patience but well worth it.

I set myself up ànd put on my Britbox on my tablet and paint away.


Cynthia Mac
3929 Posts

For me, it’s textiles and needle arts. Knitting and cross stitch are very portable, so I was able to help tame some of my anxiety when I was with Dad on the chemo floor.

I have a full sewing room set up and two spinning wheels for times when I want to work on something less portable, and some of my embroidery pieces are in frames that are too big to be considered portable.

Knitting has become more of a job, in that I’ve been a knitwear designer for the last couple decades, and, more recently, I’ve done several embroidery designs.

I usually knit while I’m watching TV in the evenings, but my stitching time is usually accompanied by music or an audio book.

716 Posts

Creative outlets are very necessary for humans and most mammals! Had my parents not insisted I take clarinet lessons and practice daily---I would have not had the wonderful creative outlet of music and group enjoyment with like-minded people.

After my cancer recovery from oral agony, I was able to toot again with my 2 music groups which are still my lifesavers and genuine friends.

Creative life is so important and ought never to be under-funded!


21 Posts

I've been helping with a project that someone else in Cambridge has organized. The group makes gifts for chemo patients to make chemo more comfortable. I am making bags out of donated fabric and they will be filled with hats, mitts and slippers to keep chemo patients warm during their treatments. The bags have room for that stuff plus a book or small blanket etc. I am going to try and add a picture of a couple of the bags I've made.

3 Posts

I have crocheted for a long time but have recently taken up Diamond Painting. I have survived breast cancer for 25 years but am now dealing with Pagets disease of the vulva but so far so good. I find the Diamond painting soooo relaxing. Right now I am working on a Pink Ribbon Butterfly and plan to do the same for other cancer ribbon colors. This is what I have so far about half done.

Pink Ribbon Butterfly
20 Posts

Art is a great way to reduce stress, sometimes I’m not in the mood and other times its just what I need .I followed a tutorial by (Louise De Masi YouTube.)

9 Posts

I do dotting on items but my favorite outlet is home renovation. And baking for friends and family It's difficult right now to do either as my arm isn't healed from WME but walking is a good outlet too.

21 Posts

@Nanahale You have extra mammary pagets disease! Me too. We are rare.

1035 Posts


These are great! I too luv the Britbox!

I was a caregiver for a dear friend with cancer. After his diagnosis he recorded 2 last cds.

185 Posts

I feel we each have to honour our need for creativity in our own unique ways. I try to live a creative life. I do many fibre/textile arts, mostly these days is spinning, wetfelting, needlefelting and ‘slow stitch’…my ‘thing’ is creative expression as opposed to technical quality 😁

I have a busy life with 2 little boys, but I always protect some time to do my ‘thing’ and always have many projects on the go. Creating is necessary for my mental health and for life in general, I think.

By the way, for those interested, there is a group on this site called ‘Creation Nation’.

17 Posts

Gardening is my creative outlet both flowers and veggies. It gives my a chance to play with colour and texture and with the vegetable also edible!

When I got my diagnosis a few weeks ago, I put away my leatherwork tools and my writing notebook, thinking “What's the point”. But already I'm missing those creative outlets.

Creativity has always been a big part of my life: embroidery, leather work, woodworking, building things, photography, typography, writing, and thrifted fashion. Going forward, I need to keep that creative spark. It's self-care, it's relaxation, and it's part of what makes me the unique person that I am. It's also a gift I've been able to give my son, who loves art too.

1629 Posts

When I retired in October 2018, one of my retirement goals was to get back to sewing and learn to machine quilt. Well cancer put a little placeholder in that plan, but for the last year and a half, I have been able to escape to my sewing room and create. It is a good outlet for me as it allows me to focus on something other than cancer and also create something that I hopefully can be proud of. Sometimes it serves as a lesson in patience. My husband is very talented with woodworking and home renovations and we have a great time collaborating and working together on these types of projects.

@JustJan isn't it great to have a partner you can collaborate with on projects? That was one of my relationship goals when I was looking for a new partner.

Love seeing all the creative projects and talented people we have.

Thank you all for sharing your work and your ideas.


Cynthia Mac
3929 Posts

@law1 , I agree wholeheartedly with your philosophy. I believe that every person has a creative aspect to their persona, whether it is gardening, music, or just figuring out how to offer their kids a variety of wholesome lunches for school every day.

There’s also the belief that when we perform the more mundane tasks of our creative outlets - taping down the watercolour paper, cleaning our musical instrument, turning over a compost pile, cleaning paintbrushes, or weaving in ends on a knitting project - we allow other parts of our brain to problem solve “in the background.”

It’s wonderful to see the variety of ways people express their creativity in this discussion!

4 Posts

I knit and crochet. I have always loved making things and usually find it very relaxing. I am currently emptying my craft room to make a space for my mom to come and live with us. I am trying to find a little space to keep a few things I can still work on. The last couple of months though, I have noticed I can’t seem to make myself pick up my yarn and try to relax. Not exactly sure why, when I know it will do me good to sit and work on something for a few minutes.

28 Posts
Creativity has always been a part of my life. I had to stop during my treatments due to hand/foot syndrome & neuropathy. Once that cleared I was happy to fill my recovery time with creative work. I called it my craft therapy. I've also made enough Christmas cards for the next two years & I send out A LOT😀

185 Posts

@Rochelle …so unique and beautiful! Thanks for sharing.


17 Posts

Creativity has been so important to me. I have one non-fiction book about anger which I self-published. I have written several short stories. I am presently writing a novel. Having cancer gave me permission to do what I wanted instead of what others felt I was good at. Hard to know if cancer helped with the creativity or the creativity helped me to survive the cancer. Now I am also taking up dot painting. I like to crochet and need to get around to a baby blanket kit I bought. My husband and I do photography and display our work on Unsplash.

Cynthia Mac
3929 Posts
KimberleyL‍ , I’ve had times when my “creative mojo” has abandoned me, too - usually after a major change in life. After my marriage ended many years ago, I only had the “oomph” to knit dishcloths for about 6 months, and after my Dad died, it was hats. I’ve regarded these “creative lapses” as just a point in my life when I need to do something else.

It sounds as though you’ve got a big transition coming, with your mom coming to live with you. You might want to try and do some introspection - maybe even journal - about it, or you might just want to organically let yourself create as best you can. Whatever you do will be ok.
716 Posts

@Cynthia Mac ….your gift of writing well, is a creative experience for me each time I read one of your posts!


122 Posts

I play my piano. I have always on and off through life with interruptions for career and bringing up kids. It's been about 10 yrs since we ‘retired’ and I went back to seriously improving my playing. At 71 it takes longer to learn stuff but I love the challenge of a new piece. Since my cancer experience I find it really takes me away from the worrying about everything, and the miserable mood I get into sometimes when perhaps I cant do as much as I used to. Or when I just realize I do happen to be getting older anyway.

I also used to write a lot but the muse evades me more often than not these days.I have a backlog of things I've done but can't seem to pick up any new lines of thought. I know how much work it means and how long it might take to accomplish something worth while and just haven't felt up to it. Even as simple a thing as a new children's story for my grandson is way overdue ….

but I might pick up Nature writing again this spring.

Sketching, just pencil and paper was another outlet I enjoyed when we travelled and occasionally I'd get out the watercolours and do something. Right now it feels like too messy a project, but I could just sketch again. Perhaps as the garden starts to wake up I'll stop and do something.

In a bit of a ‘fug’ right now but do appreciate that a creative outlet does help dissipate those clouds. Off to play with those black and white keys for a bit.

21 Posts

Thanks for this discussion on creativity. I always turn to writing in good and bad times and my cancer diagnosis is no different. I've reached out to the online school I teach short story writing through and pitched a Writing Through Darkness - Memoir as Your Hero's Journey. So come the end of March through May I'll be leading students in writing non-fiction using fiction tools of memoir. I've also enjoyed Wellspring's Digital Storytelling class that has taught me how to use script, voiceover, photos, and music to tell a story. Really enjoying learning WeVideo editing and connecting with other creative cancer patients.

100 Posts

I used to have so many creative outlets. I can relate to the “fug“ feeling for sure. Now, I mostly check out architecture/home design online when I’m not watching nature/cat videos. I am so appreciating the creations in the above posts and celebrating the gifts you all have! Way to go for finding that light!

8 Posts
Thank goodness I'm still able and have the desire to make these wood discs for my kindergarten class.
43 Posts

Doing something creative helps to get me out of me head and to stop hyperanalyzing everything. I had never painted before but I had always doodled in class, so I decided to give it a try this a large canvas and the freedom of movement of the lines was very therapeutic

35 Posts

I enjoy photography, especially nature photography, birds etc.

I think the way it helps is it gets me out, then I'm thinking of something other than cancer by enjoying the beauty of nature. Here is a photo of a Wood Duck that I took recently at a local Nature refuge.

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