'You could feel it in your veins, like how cold it was': Using paint and selfies to cope with chemo
Originally published February 4, 2018
After being diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer when she was just 24, Lauren Sylliboy said the enormity of her illness didn't hit her right away.
"I was scared of what was going to happen with chemo ... and if I'll need to get radiation. It just hit me like a tonne of bricks."
Struggling with depression through her treatments, the Eskasoni artist turned to face painting and photography to help her through chemotherapy.
Excited to stay busy and positive, in her first piece, Sylliboy said she wanted to express how she was feeling when she got the diagnosis. She chose pink — the colour used to represent breast cancer, and purple — a colour that represents all cancers. Then she painted her face with colourful tears and posted the image on social media.
For her second image, Sylliboy said the colour palette changed dramatically.
After posting the second image, Sylliboy said a lot of breast cancer patients reached out to her and said her image captured how they felt when they went through chemotherapy.
Now, two years after being diagnosed, Sylliboy is out of treatment, but still being closely monitored. She said many breast cancer survivors worry about the cancer coming back, but she's trying to stay positive.
In her most recent image, which was created for a book about called Faces Facing Cancer, Sylliboy said the photo captures where she's at now. Half of it represents when she was first diagnosed, and the other half reflects how she feels as a survivor.