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40 Times Around the Sun



Mozart en ligne et couleur

8 years ago I wasn’t sure I would see 40, and now I’m standing face to face with it as it’s tomorrow. But is anyone truly ever certain about their future? Immediately after the breast cancer diagnosis and for a few years after treatment, I was afraid to make plans beyond 3 months in advance because I didn’t know. The future was uncertain, and technically still is uncertain.  Cancer had consumed my day to day thoughts for years.  As more years passed by, 3, then 5, both milestones for triple negative breast cancer, cancer took up less real estate in my day to day thoughts and I dared to plan farther in advance.  I dared to hope, dared to think about the possibility of attempting to have a second child. Uncertainty and I have become necessary friends. Cancer scares are inevitable for the rest of my life. This I accept, but I do not have to like it and continue into the vicious cycle of scanxiety (anxiety surrounding diagnostic and surveillance scans).  I suppose the scares can be viewed as yet another opportunity to refocus on my priorities,  and reinvigorate formal mindfulness practice, to remind me of the certainty of uncertainty. In the last 10 years, besides my cancer journey in 2011, the last two years have been the full of change. From taking on new roles, to conceiving and giving birth to my youngest to making the heart wrenching decision to move to a different position, to trying new hobbies, and truly integrating and being given the space to integrate holistic approaches into my practice of medicine, to dealing with post-partum mood disorders, to my husband’s unemployment and more recently new employment, it’s been one heck of a year. 


The word is amalgamation for this past year. Unexpected mixtures of new and old.  New and old friendships forged, stronger than ever before, including with myself. I’m ready. This uncertain amalgamation that is my life. 40, let’s dance. 


I made this as part of learning an art lesson for my eldest’s class.  Kathleen Murrell, a professional artist comes and teaches parents of the art class parent volunteers who then teach the classes.  More formally participating in the creation of art has been such a blessing for the last 4 years through this Fine Artists program.  We listened to Mozart for this piece.  I call it Mozart en ligne et couleur (Mozart in line and color). It was selected as part of an Art and Humanities in Medicine publication at UC San Diego School of Medicine.


It’s an amalgamation of different mediums, from acrylic to color pencil and water color.  Each medium has a role, and together they unify into a single unique creation. 

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© 2019 by NI-CHENG LIANG M.D., INC. 

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