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Embroidering and gardening


My friend Sakura was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer. 

She told me embroidering and gardening were her important occupations

and she told me the story of her experience with embroidering

and gardening after her radiation treatment for the cancer and

during her recovery time.

Today, I will share her story of her experiences of embroidering

and gardening.

I will further share with you a broader view of these occupations

and how they supported Sakura's survival from her days

with cancer in my next post. 

Embroidering and gardening

Sakura had a life full of busy days with her job and taking care of her family

until she was in her fifties.

When all of her four children went out on their own and her job settled down,

she felt relieved that she had time to do what she wanted to do.

But then, she was diagnosed with parotid gland cancer. 

Sakura had a cancer resection, transplant surgery, and radiation treatment.

She lost 10kg of bodyweight and felt exhausted.

The transplanted part under her jaw was always tense and gave

her a squeezing pain. 

After she underwent radiation treatment, she came home and

slept on and off.

The implanted part always hurt.

She was worried about her disease and her future.

She didn’t know what she could do and what she couldn't do anymore.   

She couldn't relax for two minutes without uncomfortable thoughts

coming to mind.

Although she felt unsteady while walking, she couldn’t lie in bed anymore.

Sakura needed to do something.

To avoid unpleasant thoughts and pain, she wanted to do something

with her hands.

Sakura started embroidering.

She embroidered petals printed in a pouch with her favorite color threads

as though drawing in a coloring book.

Choosing a few colors of threads among many and embroidering a flower

with them distracted her from her pain and her unpleasant thoughts.

She was likely to get tired easily and frequently.

If she was tired after a few embroidery stitches, she stopped embroidering

and took a break.

After repeated embroidery stitches and breaks, she had a pretty flower.

She was glad that she could do something.

That meant she wasn’t unable to do anything.

Sakura imagined herself embroidering tomorrow and

she felt happy that she could continue embroidering tomorrow.

She looked forward to living and embroidering tomorrow and slept well.

While she was involved in embroidering, she forgot about her pain. 

That was nice.

Being involved in embroidering distracted her from her worries

and unpleasant thoughts. 

She found it fun and looked forward to embroidering daily. 

She thought she could get through tomorrow embroidering flowers.

Repeated stitches and a break for a few weeks, she completed

a pretty pouch.  

Sakura didn’t talk to her family and friends about her tiredness and pain.

But she would like to give them the products of her embroidery work

to show them that she was OK now.

She was happy that they liked her pouches.

She felt good when some people appreciated them.


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