Making Chemo Work for Me

Gouache abstract painting by Janet Hovde

Copyright 2013, Janet Hovde

First, a thank you to those of you who are sharing these posts with others who may be in recovery from breast cancer or with those who are interested in expressive arts (fiber art, painting, poetry, etc .) and healing.


After a bilateral mastectomy, my treatment included 5 months of chemotherapy. The side effects of the first one (2 months) were brutal. In addition to recovery from surgery, I needed to adjust to hair loss and frequent vomiting.  The side effects of the second one (3 months) were less intense but uncomfortable and disconcerting. The nausea was almost daily for the whole 5 months. The fatigue was disheartening. And yet, now, 3 months after the completion of chemotherapy, it seems like a distant memory. I have a hairstyle (any hairstyle is better than none?). My eyelashes are long enough and thick enough to hold mascara, yay!  Instead of discoloration, softening, and loosening, with the risk of loss, my fingernails are intact and functional. Who knew what marvelous tools I had at the ends of my fingertips? I am back to opening small packages without pain and without thinking about it. My heart rate has returned to normal. I needed help in many ways, large and small, during chemotherapy. My haiku today relate to those times.


Ask for help and then

Prepare for the onslaught of

Love. And receive it.


Space for my healing.

Joy rushes in through the holes

Poked, poked by chemo.


If you are new to my blog, see Healer Becomes Heal-ee for the first of my weekly posts sharing haiku related to breast cancer recovery. If you like, leave a comment or a haiku (on any topic).  And use the buttons below to share this post.


  1. Wow, Janet. Glad you are back! Must feel good to be on the mend.
    Amy Putkonen recently posted..OLW 2014: Feb/Mar UpdateMy Profile

  2. I’m so loving how you’ve used haiku throughout your journey Janet and I have to tell you the last one is my all time favorite. And here’s to every day being an even better day. I so celebrate you!

  3. Hello Janet:
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with cancer and chemo. Without going through it, there is no way to truly understand it. You are very courageous. You looked chemo straight in the eye and didn’t blink first!
    Amy Kathleen Kelsch recently posted..It’s A Mindful Life: 8 Awesome DIY Easter Decor IdeasMy Profile

  4. An honest and beautiful portrayal of healing at the end of chemo. Your Haiku is wonderful. Thanks for sharing
    Karen Main recently posted..From Ice Blonde to Deep Brunette, Finding the Courage.My Profile

  5. Wow, what strength you really have…… BE WELL, accept well being and much love to you.

  6. Oh, and still trying to master Haiku. Not coming easy…LOL

  7. Melody Shores says:

    She who did heal us
    Takes time now to heal herself
    Color, form and words

  8. Yes! Love your second haiku especially. Brilliant.
    Kelly McKenzie recently posted..Still Blossoming at 91My Profile

  9. So happy to hear that you are healing. And that your poetry has been a release in this process for you. Just beautiful. Thanks for sharing your journey.
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