“Something really good can come from something really bad”
By Ana Veciana-Suarez
Photography by Jeffery Salter
Art therapist Lindsey Weaver and Randy Shattenkirk have twice-weekly Zoom classes
ix intense chemotherapy infusions for stage IV diffused large B-cell lymphoma left Randy Shattenkirk feeling like a stranger in her own skin. Losing her hair, she said, was “traumatic,” and the occasional nausea proved debilitating. Accustomed to being the family caregiver, she was forced to switch roles with her husband and two sons.
“It was emotionally devastating at times,” she said, “but I have a strong will, and I knew I would survive.”
Shattenkirk, a graphic designer, began taking virtual art classes after finishing treatment in May 2021. It was a chance to do a type of art she had always wanted to explore.
“It has helped me so much,” she said of the twice-weekly Zoom classes. “You focus on your art and are therefore able to release negative thoughts. It’s like being in a meditative state.”
The classes are offered through Sylvester’s Cancer Support Services. “We use art to explore feelings,” explained art therapist Lindsey Weaver. “It’s a creative way of expressing their experience.”
Art therapists help patients decide which medium they would like to work with. Shattenkirk chose mixed media. One of her pieces, “Heart Leaves of Hope,” featuring heart-shaped leaves collected during her treatment, is displayed in the Sylvester lobby. She has also created a line of greeting cards with a portion of each card able to be punched out in the shape of wearable earrings. She named her idea Earresistible Greetings and is now taking an online course to help grow her new business.
“If it hadn’t been for cancer, I wouldn’t have discovered my passion,” Shattenkirk said. “Sometimes something really good can come from something really bad.”