The pain of it all, emotional cancer journey, artwork

  • Michele Angelo Petrone
  • Digital Images
  • Online

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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The pain of it all, emotional cancer journey, artwork. Michele Angelo Petrone. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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About this work


Painting titled "The pain of it all" by artist and cancer patient Michele Angelo Petrone (1963-2007). A figure stands trapped, caught between two prickly cacti or trees. "So I now have a diagnosis. Hodgkin's disease. Let's call it cancer. I've heard of that. I know what it is - Fiona, a woman I live with is having chemotherapy for breast cancer. This is different, I'm told. They don't tell you that an 80% chance of cure means a 20% chance of death. You're left to work that one out for yourself. Death. Life is bad enough, that's what I thought. But who do I tell? Mum, I want to die. Hey, lover of mine, I think forever might be closer than I thought. Hi good friend, want to talk about euthanasia and writing a will? "We're all in pain, why can't we share our pain?" Death and illness are almost taboo subjects even though we will all die eventually. Who isn't frightened and doesn't find it difficult to talk to someone they know might be dying? I wasn't prepared, neither were my family and friends. Who's going to help me, listen to me, understand me, be there for me - just for me. Not be frightened by my thoughts and feelings of having my life threatened, changed, and maybe dying at the end of it all anyway." This painting forms part of a series of work "The emotional cancer journey", which explores the emotions and feelings the artist experienced during his cancer journey. Michele was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1994. He founded the MAP foundation in 2002 to promote expression, communication and understanding of serious illness and dying.

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