• KarenG_WN's Avatar

    Have you done any type of music therapy or art therapy to help you at any point along your cancer journey?

    Asked by KarenG_WN on Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Have you done any type of music therapy or art therapy to help you at any point along your cancer journey?

    I bet we have some creative folks out there. I would love to hear your experiences, how they helped you and how music therapy or art therapy might help others. Thanks!

    25 Answers from the Community

    25 answers
    • Paul-a-Sir-5-4's Avatar
      Paul-a-Sir-5-4

      Yes, using Splfeggio music and separately positive songs I sing while listening.

      about 5 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar
      MarnieC

      My mother had breast cancer in her late 60's and she took up art therapy. I still have one of her paintings. I think it's a nice thing to do. My best friend turned me on to beading and whenever I'd have a "green moment" (on chemo) I'd sit down with my beads and create some wild pair of dangly earrings and before I knew it I was feeling good again. And the crazy thing is the chemo seemed to rev up my brain cells - I could hardly sleep for thinking about new jewelry designs. Interestingly, the designs I created while on chemo were a lot more creative than the ones I did post-chemo! Anyway - jewelry making (and my friends) got me through breast cancer and I still love beading to this day.

      about 5 years ago
    • Camarillolaw's Avatar
      Camarillolaw

      The Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, Texas has a program that allows children with cancer to write and record their own song at the hospital. The kids get to take a cd of their song with them and it usually becomes a favorite memory of their jurney. At the Children's Cancer Hospital at MD Anderson Cancer Center they have an extensive art therapy program. The kids have even painted a horse as part of the therapy. Both forms work wonders for the children and are a great distraction from the treatments.

      about 5 years ago
    • GRACENOW's Avatar
      GRACENOW

      Put on your favorite songs and sing along! That is a simple way to go and it works for me. I would think art or music therapy would be wonderful but there is a lot you can do on your own if you are inclined. Making a collage from magazine photos, etc. about your journey. If you are able to move to music...still one of my challenges...with balance, etc....this has also helped me.

      about 5 years ago
    • DonnaP's Avatar
      DonnaP

      Hmmmnnn...Nothing formal but I am a member of a group of women who sing and through the last year plus [as I was becoming more and more symptomatic] we recorded our most recent CD. Now we are in rehearsals for a concert. It takes some energy to do this along with chemo but it feeds me more than almost anything.

      about 5 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie

      Wow Karen, I never thought of what I did as therapy until I read the answers to your post. I think I did 'poetry' therapy. I've written poems all my life for those momments when Hallmark doesn't say enough.... Ooop sorry Hallmark. Anyway. I wrote more when recovering from surgery and receiving chemo. My chemo brain, now that you mention it.... helped my inspiration,. I wrote this poem when I was trying to post to my friends on FDMB, a website for those of us who love and treat our diabetic cats. I was trying to tell them that the news had not been good.

      I know!!
      ©2006 by Carol Notermann

      I know that I’m not in control… But Thank God that He is!
      I know that I’ve no need to plan, for the best plan is His.

      I know that I am not alone. Friends walk the path with me.
      I know that yes, I must be strong, find out what waits for me.

      I know that as in "Footprints" there's only one set in the sand.
      and I know that I am clinging, very tightly to His hand.

      Today, I'll see what doctors -- can do to help me stay
      here with all my loved ones, cherishing each day.

      about 5 years ago
    • Thebrewers' Avatar
      Thebrewers

      My dad would not go for any of that. He loves music and I love the idea of playing it more around the house!!!

      about 5 years ago
    • Ivy's Avatar
      Ivy

      I imagine that any of the arts could be a positive for people on the cancer journey, but as a former music educator, I'll speak mostly about music. If you ever played an instrument but not recently, don't be afraid to take it up again. It will exercise your brain and provide a positive aesthetic experience--all good for you. Perhaps you've always wanted to play an instrument but think it's too late or too expensive. If you need some lessons to get started, you can go the private lessons route (more expensive) or you might contact music stores in the area. Often they have group lessons that are much less expensive, and you might make some new friends that way, too.

      If you rent or purchase a musical instrument, often the store will throw in a package of lessons for "free." So look at the ads for the "music schools" that also handle musical instruments for the best deal.

      Don't forget the community and/or church choir. Often the main skill is to be able to carry a tune. If you can read music notation, that's a big bonus to the choir director. You don't have to have a voice that's "solo quality." Also, being a choir member usually has no cost except committing to participating regularly at the designated time and location.

      When I was a young teacher, I had friends who were a young couple with elementary school kids. We worked out a deal where I went to their home 1 evening a week to give both mom and 1 child 30 minute piano lessons. They cooked a lovely meal for me, and no cash was exchanged. So don't let the standard parameters of arts instruction keep you away from it. As someone below mentioned, perhaps a friend is good at one art like beading and you have strength in another, You could consider trading lessons to share the ability that each of you has. Don't be afraid to be creative in your offer to whomever might be in the position to help you out.

      It's always excellent to work with a trained music or art therapist, but generally they work in institutional settings. So it may be hard to get into that network. It would be worth it if you can find it in your area.

      Hope this helps those who would like to try more putting more arts in their lives.

      about 5 years ago
    • happydad's Avatar
      happydad

      I enjoy woodworking and restoring antique hand tools. We recently moved to a ranch style home and am still unpacking my tools. Building useful items for my family and friends has been a big source of comfort and therapy and I still have all of my fingers!

      about 5 years ago
    • attypatty's Avatar
      attypatty

      Dear Karen:
      How about writing as therapy? I began a journal the day I was diagnosed and wrote something in it every day of my journey. It was therapeutic as I did it - to get all the feelings (good, bad, indifferent and ugly) out. And it's even more therapeutic to go back and read it from time to time. There are so many details, thoughts, experiences and feelings that I would have otherwise forgotten if I hadn't written it all down. Looking back helps prove to me how far I've come, how much I have to be thankful for, and how much better I am now than I ever was BC (before cancer).
      The best thing about journaling is that the paper (really, the computer screen) doesn't judge, doesn't answer back, doesn't question the validity of your thoughts and feelings. It is just a blank page/screen waiting for whatever you have to give it. The stuff inside comes out as words rather than images. It helped me a lot.
      Fight On,
      Attypatty

      about 5 years ago
    • markmather's Avatar
      markmather

      I used art therapy during my recovery process. I make copper garden chimes. It was really good for me to relieve my mind of stress and strengthen my hands. It is always good to do things that take your mind somewhere else and leave the messiness of the cancer experience behind. It is also alot of fun to put the chimes together. I use marbles, crystals, hearts, old keys and bells to create something that seems to be a reflection of who I have become during my cancer journey.

      about 5 years ago
    • Terri's Avatar
      Terri

      No, but it sounds nice. I like to listen to relaxing music.

      about 5 years ago
    • Blue's Avatar
      Blue

      I am fortunate to have a neighbor who is also a sound therapist. He and his wife come over once a week with their medley of musical instruments and we jam together. No melody to speak of, just spontaneous drums, rattles, flute. and other primal sounding instruments. At the conclusion of these sessions, I feel a wash of calm and connection throughout my body. I do believe that sound has healing properties.

      about 5 years ago
    • Marmalady's Avatar
      Marmalady

      Art therapy--printing leaf patterns on fabric fascinated me several years ago--and I've started again with more sophisticated, near professional results. I'm also redoing a dollhouse for my granddaughters--found it curbside and have delighted in repainting, wallpapering, adding window arches--all from found objects like wood scraps & upholsterers obsolete fabric samples. It is joyous.

      about 5 years ago
    • GLORIAMAE's Avatar
      GLORIAMAE

      PLEASE EXCUSE THE CAPS AS I AM HAVING TROUBLE WITH MY VISION. THE DOCTOR ASSURES ME IT WILL RETURN ( SIDE AFFECT OF BRAIN RADIATION).
      MY HUSBAND AND I BOTH LOVE THE OLDIES MUSIC AND THE MUSIC FROM THE 50S TO THE 80S, WE HAVE ALOT .MY HUSBAND PALYS GUITAR AND TEACHES OUR GRANDSON. I AM NOT MUSIC LY GIFTED AT ALL, I AM MORE OF A CRAFTS PERSON, I HAVE BEEN MAKING ALOT OF BABY BLANKETS AS THERE ARE 3 FAMILY MEMBERS GIVING BIRTH TO GIRLS BETWEEN SEPT AND JANUARY.
      WE ARE TRULY BLESSED, WE HAVE 6 GIRLS , 2 SONS, 8 GRANSONS, AND 8 GRAND DAUGHTERS. THE 2 YOUNGEST DAUGHTERS ARE ONLY 22 AND 18. IM SURE WE WILL HAVE ALOT MORE GRANDS.LOL.
      THE SAD PART ABOUT ALL OF THIS CANCER STUFF IS MY HUSBAND IS NOT COPING WELL AT ALL WITH WATCHING ME GET SICKER FRON THE RADIATION. I HAVE 8 MORE DAYS OF IT AND THE DOCTOR TOLD US THIS WOULD BE THE HARDEST PART. MY DOCTOR WANTS MY HUSBAND TO GET A SCRIPT FROM HIS DOCTOR TO HELP HIM RELAX AND GO TO COUSELING , OF COURSE CHUCK REFUSES TO EITHER. CHUCK CRIES ALOT , GETS SNAPPY WITH EVERYONE , THEN APPOLIGISES TO EVERYONE.
      I AM COPING WITH THIS, AND I AM STRONG, BUT I CAN NOT SAY I WOULDN;T BE JUST LIKE CHUCK IF HE WERE THE SICK ONE .
      WELL. ANY ADVISE WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. I AM GOING TO ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL DAY HERE IN CARROLLTON VA. GOD BLESS ALL.

      about 5 years ago
    • hgbkokopelli's Avatar
      hgbkokopelli

      I do music therapy alot here at home. I used to be massage therapist and so I listen to all my music I used then. I intend to have music therapy when I go to CTCA also with my therapy. I also have done a church healing and so when the scans are done it will be interesting to se if God healed me already or if I need treatment still!!:)

      about 5 years ago
    • Jeana1975's Avatar
      Jeana1975

      Hi Karen :) Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question. In fact I am an artist at heart, and credit my Mother for my imaginative and creative self. I've taught myself jewelry design and construction, fashion design and garment construction, painting (preferred media is acrylic), I write poetry like a fiend, and I enjoy vegetable gardening as well. Art is sooo very important to me, as is music. I really love Opera and Gregorian Chanting. Anything that is soothing, or sometimes not so soothing can get me inspired. You have an extremely good point in what you've asked, art and self-expression are healing. Of all the things we cannot control in our lives, we can control how we express ourselves, and that alone is empowering.

      about 5 years ago
    • Lauracg's Avatar
      Lauracg

      The long nights, during chemo and radiation were filled with music, chanting, nature sounds CDs played on auto repeat. I often could not read or watch television. It is amazing how much time you can spend in between awake and asleep.

      about 5 years ago
    • NanciHersh's Avatar
      NanciHersh

      As an artist creating work that reflects my experience, thoughts and feelings about cancer is part of what I do- how I make sense of the world. Art/ music is healing and empowering. I also illustrated a children's book, Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings: When someone you love has cancer... a hopeful, helpful book for kids. This became part of my moving forward and helping others on their journey. I also do workshops with other cancer patients and their families.
      I also listen to Vibrational Sound Healing.... ommm!

      about 5 years ago
    • mysonslife's Avatar
      mysonslife

      My husband downloaded music on my ipad and during our sons 12 hour brain surgery in between the crying and terror and crying the music got me through many hours of waiting.

      about 5 years ago
    • mysonslife's Avatar
      mysonslife

      My son brings music with him for his MRI's needed every 2 months. It helps him get through the whole procedure.

      I've often thought of painting something that would explain how I felt about this whole situation. I believe people going through it would "get" the art image I have in mind.

      I am his mother so it would be my perspective but being a mother of a child with brain cancer I feel I am going through it.

      about 5 years ago
    • Perstephanie's Avatar
      Perstephanie

      At various points I've done art therapy and poetry therapy, both through Life With Cancer in Virginia and The Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC.

      about 5 years ago
    • BMTSurvivor05's Avatar
      BMTSurvivor05

      My husband and I attended a cancer writing workshop. Wow! You don't realize how raw those emotions are when things are triggered in the writing experience. I've recommended it to others since then.

      about 5 years ago
    • ScrapbookerKay's Avatar
      ScrapbookerKay

      I guess I would call it art, I scrapbooked the whole journey. The best photo is the last with my dr. when he tells me the chemo worked and I'm in remission.

      about 5 years ago
    • akiko's Avatar
      akiko

      I resumed my vocal activities and joined the choir,
      Also I started my own blog. These are helping me A LOT.
      Unfortunately my blog is in Japanese but in case if you understand Japanese.
      http://www.strawberryplanet.net/blog/

      about 5 years ago

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