Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How did my studio find me? (sorry this is long) let's call it part 1

My studio is tied in to my cancer. Good things and not so good things seem to go together.

In 2003 I was finally diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I say finally because I was sick for 10 months, constant choking and coughing all night long before I found my cancer.
~ okay, side-bar for a quick cancer story....  I was sick, and first we thought it was a virus, then maybe bronchitis, then maybe an allergy, I coughed and coughed, I couldn't sleep, I was exhausted.
I had just starting seeing a therapist, my mother had died and I was struggling with my grief and my family's grief.  It was Dr. M. who first noticed how long I had been coughing. "You have had a cough since you first started coming here." oh, I thought, true it has been long.
"I have been feeling exhausted like I am trying to run through water, so tired."
"Have you thought of listening to your body?"
No. I had not. I had not thought of listening to my body, I was too busy pushing myself.
Two days later, I woke up and felt a tiny pressure in my neck. I was listening.
I opened my medical book (that I first had for taking care of the kids) and found an article about thyroids.
Take a drink of water.
lean your head back and swallow it while looking in the mirror. Is your neck symmetrical?
No, it was not. I had nodules on my thyroid.
Most nodules are NOT cancer.
But, I was sick. I fractured 2 ribs coughing! I was sick. I knew.

Okay, that is it. I found the nodules, called my doctor, had an ultrasound, had a biopsy, had surgery.

Now, back to the studio.

I was recovering from surgery. I was tired and they had to find my balance of synthroid (thyroid hormone replacement) and that took some time to get right (actually I am still tired!).
So I had a lot of time to think.
What do I want to do? Really do with this life, with this one life that I have been given?
Of course my first priority was my family and our sons. I hoped to be able to raise them.
But what about me? What do I want?

My studio was in our spare bedroom. It had actually moved around the house. First in a larger room off the playroom, then we moved the older boys into that room, so I moved into the kitchen, then the smaller bedroom.
So what do I want?  Asking myself this over and over.

I had an idea.
What if I called my son's preschool teacher and asked if I could rent the preschool space for the summer when they are closed. Then I could work more in the summer--away from the boys and their friends and I could leave projects set up instead of cleaning it up every day.

I called her and asked if I could rent her space. She owned the little building and said she would talk to her husband and call me back.  When she did, "Here is an address, you can meet our property manager and he will show you a space."
I did not know this, but they owned a series of buildings on a warehouse street.
I did not have a lot of money, since I had barely worked in months. But I asked, so I decided to meet him and just turn down the space.

maybe this is too long.... I will post the rest tomorrow!


  1. what a cliff hanger ... can't wait to read the rest!

  2. How clever to approach someone with an unused space. I'm thinking of approaching some empty spaces in town to see if we can do a month-long gallery show. The big part is getting up the nerve to ask!

  3. Suzanne! I hope you get the courage soon!! I have thought of using my studio space as a gallery space for a week or so--just have not gotten up the courage!
    (and the time for all that framing!)