The New Normal – How Three Organic Pears Beat Chemo, My Way!


Janice Tanton, red pear, painting, chemotherapy
My challenging little red pear models, all set up and ready to shine.

I’ve been struggling with chemo for the past month and a half. It hasn’t been a picnic. I fight, it fights back. I zig….it zags. Like some crazy knuckleball pitcher, neither he, the catcher or the batter know where that ball is going to end up.

underpainting by Janice Tanton
The painful underpainting. Trust me…it was painful in so many ways just to get this down.

I think I’ve been pretty patient, trying to get my body to heal and “take it”. Everyone keeps saying, “Stay positive…stay positive.” Hell, staying positive is for crazy people. As a human being, it would be wrong to stay positive ALL the time. That’s just not balanced, is it? Having a good cry sort of cleans it all out. (There’s been a lot of ‘cleaning’ around this house, that’s for sure.)

All of this shit (literally) has kept me from painting, and that’s frustrating. Either I’m throwing up (from one end or the other), sleeping, at tests and doc appointments or trying to heal through some excellent massage therapists and collaborative medicine gurus (love them).


Janice Tanton's small painting setup beside the fire.
My little setup by the fire.

Today, I just wanted one normal day…to cook my family some dinner and actually be able to stay up and watch them eat it…and paint. Something…..freakin’ ANYTHING for that matter.

Most of the day, I spent making a delicious roasted organic, free-range (read ‘break-the-bank-expensive’) chicken with all the fixin’s. And all that time in the kitchen, I was totally distracted by the sunlight in my front window backlighting some organic red pears. Their shape….the colour…the light….all just finally BROKE me. So I ditched the nap this afternoon and painted! YAH HOOEY!

Now wait a minute. It wasn’t that easy. It was emotional, and painful. Three little pears beating me down, the light  – challenging me to a dual and the paint, driving me crazy with it’s juicy colour. My arm just isn’t what it was, and tons of physio and exercise are helping, but it can’t get there fast enough for me. What I learned is that sometimes, you just push through the pain and the goop, and enjoy it. This wasn’t a “let’s paint a fantastic painting that will live for all time” event. This was….”let’s see if I CAN paint, and just get something done.”

scumble - midpoint painting
Scumble…midpoint through the painful experience. This is sort of where it all falls apart, or you push on through. I pushed…and I also fell apart.


Well, I’d say it was a success. There’s a painting, anyhow. And a hearty chicken dinner will hit the table in a few minutes after I hit the Tramadol. (Oh…and a blogpost!)

Screw you, chemo. Three organic pears beat your poisonous butt.

Red Pear Study, Janice Tanton, chemotherapy, painting
“Red Pear Study” ©2013 Janice Tanton.Oil on linen board. 6″x8″….After all, not a bad little painting with a little light and a decent composition.





This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Tina Derry

    Love the painting Jan as well as your honest explanation of your struggle! Strength will come and go but God willing you WILL get through this! Keeping you in my prayers!

    1. Janice Tanton

      There’s lots of crying and pain, that’s for sure. I seek the balance constantly, but it’s like fighting a run-away roller coaster. 😉

  2. Deborah Robinson

    Janice, so happy you are painting. Sending loads of healing love and light your way.

    1. Janice Tanton

      Thank you Deb. It’s just a little bit of painting, but it sure makes my heart soar.

  3. Tahirih Goffic

    You’re such an inspiration, Janice, and so courageous! Thanks for your honest words. Makes me look at my silly struggles with motivation through a new light.


    1. Janice Tanton

      Hi Tahirih, Thanks for your comment. I wouldn’t say that I’m very courageous. Most of the time, I worry, cry and occasionally find something to celebrate….I’m working on that. 😉

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