by Marie-Claude Belzile (Montréal, Canada)
“My name is Marie-Claude Belzile, I’m 31 and I have breast cancer since 2016, but I relapsed on February 2018. I was first a stage 3 triple negative breast cancer and 4 months after the end of my treatments we found metastasises into my lungs, so now I’m stage 4.
I’m living in Montréal, in the province of Québec in Canada. I’m not working and I’m staying home with my dog and my 3 cats, taking care of them, the apartment and my lovely wife. She is working so hard to make sure we get everything we need as she’s the only one who is getting a salary while I’m on the disable pension program. The only way for me to live longer is by being on continuous chemo treatments. For now I am stable, but the last scan dates from 1rst December 2018. We’ll know at the end of February if it’s still the same.
I’ve always loved to draw and my main way to do it is by using black ink with micron pens.”
1) La Crabe
As I’m a French speaker, La Crabe is how I called my cancer. La is a feminine pronoun, even if usually Crabe is a masculine one. I made the switch because I’m female. Crabe is a way to call cancer, both words are deriving from the same etymological root.
2) Dog love
While going through my first round of chemo in 2016, my dog has been with me as the best companion while my wife were working. He follows me everywhere and knows when I’m not feeling ok. The dog in the heart shape is a dog of my friend that my wife and I babysat a lot. She died in 2016 sixteen of cancer.
3) What if
This drawing is talking about me going through my second round of chemo, Taxol. Taxol is a medication that derives from the yew tree, which is called “if” in French. Unfortunately, my tumor grew back while having taxol, so we had to stop sooner than planned and we did the double mastectomy in a rush.
4) Under pressure
That drawing represent how I felt lost when it was confirmed that I had metastasises into my lungs. I felt under pressure, because everything was changing in a short period of time : stopping working, filling a lot of forms to get financial aid, learning my new medication, telling the bad news to family and friends, etc. The feeling of loneliness was huge and it was like I was falling down a cliff.