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We don’t pause disease for a public holiday or forget about treatment ’cause there’s turkey to be eaten. The schedule continues and for Mayu that means daily radiation therapy. For me that means that in between traveling the east coast to visit family, I visit Sydney to spend the day with Mayu documenting her radiation therapy. Recording its sounds, and experiencing the process with her.  Even joining her as she has a consultation with a specialist.

Beforehand, when I asked Mayu what her radiation therapy was like, she told me it was like a disco with lasers, coloured lights and rotating “mirror balls”.  She didn’t talk about pain or fear, she talked about a disco and asked me to come in and film it.

Arriving between Christmas Day and New Years Eve, I sense something that I might even call “hopeful” in the hospital corridors.  It is Mayu’s second last day of radiation therapy, It’s not the end of treatment though.  Hormone therapy is next and then we will see.

But there is something hopeful which I can’t quite put my finger on.

The next day, after Mayu’s final radiation therapy, I receive a text from her telling me that her final treatment is done and what a milestone it feels like.  She signs off by thanking me for being there during this process.

To me, this project isn’t about Art Therapy, just like other projects where I have worked in hospitals and/or with people undergoing various traumas.  It is about human connection, about a shared experience giving strength to someone.  About not being alone when facing fear and about maintaining the essence of who you are, even through major illness.

In 2017, Mayu’s next stage of treatment will begin and we will continue to make work together that explores her journey, navigating the unknown and hopefully the sharing of this journey along the way gives strength, occasionally.

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