Leukemia

Benjamin Seguin
First Year Student, Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

Medium

Drawing

Abstract 

Representation of the cancerous cells that took over my bone marrow and infiltrated my body. When I was diagnosed with leukemia on September 23, 2021, merely weeks into my freshman year at Stamps, I struggled with looking at myself knowing these cells were invading my body and taking over. This picture represents what I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror after my first chemotherapy was administered and after I had received blood transfusions. The healthy blood and the medication was fighting, pushing back the cancerous cells that had previously brought me to the brink of death. I am able to regain my body, but only by introducing the chemicals of chemotherapy into my body. The addition of these chemicals save me, but still keep me from being fully whole as myself and myself alone. And so the battle to overcome the effects of these medications wages on as I seek to return my body to myself so that I can once again recognize myself as who I am and who I was intended to be.

Representation of the cancerous cells that took over the bone marrow and infiltrated my body. When I was diagnosed with leukemia on September 23, 2021, merely weeks into my freshman year at Stamps, I struggled with looking at myself knowing these cells were invading my body and taking over. This picture represents what I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror after my first chemotherapy was administered and after I had received blood transfusions. The healthy blood and the medication was fighting, pushing back the cancerous cells that had previously consumed 87% of my bone marrow and brought me to the brink of death.

ALL leukemia is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. My bone marrow cells have errors in the DNA that caused damage to my white blood cells. Specifically, my B-Cell’s were impacted making it very difficult for me to fight infection. This leukemia is classified as acute, meaning it progresses very quickly. I was several months into the disease when diagnosed, and likely close to death. I represented this battle between the cancer and my own body through having half my face “clean” and half showing the cancer I was fighting to rid myself of. Throughout my battle with Leukemia I have felt as if another being, the cancer, in my body and I am only a piece of myself. I am able to regain my body, but only by introducing the chemicals of chemotherapy into my body. The addition of these chemicals save me, but still keep me from being fully whole as myself and myself alone. And so the battle to overcome the effects of these medications wages on as I seek to return my body to myself so that I can once again recognize myself as who I am and who I was intended to be.

What is acute lymphocytic leukemia (all)?: Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved February 4, 2022, from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/acute-lymphocytic-leukemia/about/what-is-all.html