An Artist's Moment: The Migraine Sisters

Mark Winkler - Artist Moments

The Migraine Sisters

This is the one and only piece of visual art I have ever created. When I was at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center battling cancer, I took an art class ("Using the Right Side of Your Brain to Paint") and this was the result (done in colored charcoal). Since I was suffering from migraines at the time I entitled this "The Migraine Sisters." *

Being diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma was probably the most frightening moment of my life. I had just lost Charlie (my life-long companion of 28 years) to cancer, and this disease had claimed my mother and brother. Now I was facing that same hard path.

Here’s how it went by the numbers:

  • 2 major surgeries
  • 166 days in the hospital
  • 7 trips to the emergency room
  • 7 spinal taps
  • 8 weeks of chemo
  • 4 weeks of radiation.

There’s painful truth in the cancer cliché that the cure can be worse than the disease. My side effects included:

  • blood clots in the stomach
  • subdural hematoma (bleeding in the brain)
  • multiple infections
  • fevers spiking up to 104 degrees
  • colitis
  • kidney failure
  • neuropathy
  • pneumonia
  • 13 hernias
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • avascular necrosis
  • left hip replacement.

I fought hard and with the tremendous support of my close friends, I am alive today. I broke the statistics of what was to be expected....dying of cancer at an early age.

*On an aside note, in the year 2016, a friend of mine submitted my painting for consideration to a New York literary magazine. They chose it for the front cover. See below: