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KV

Karlene Voepel
Kites and Cancer

It's been awhile...sorry folks, I been painting, living, enjoying spring.  This is one of my new paintings, dealing with cancer.  In the foreground is the joyful, exuberant child with the bright, colorful kite.  In the background, the cancer patient, plugged into the IV, floats away into the sky, herself like a translucent kite.  Life goes on... at the same moment some are experiencing great happiness and joy, others are enveloped in the battle for healing. 

A few months ago I lost another friend to cancer.  Now she is in a beautiful place, with no pain anymore.&n


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KV

If We Could Read the Future...

It's been almost a year since my cancer ordeal began.  In two weeks I have a follow-up mammogram and blood test.  My hair is coming in really curly and kind of cute; I feel good.  I'm back to living my life.  And, I'm really grateful!  But, this brings me to something important which I haven't even mentioned yet.  We cancer patients have this nagging question in the back of our minds.  What if it comes back? 

When I went for my first chemo treatment I was very surprised to meet so many people whose cancer had returned.  I had no idea!  The


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KV

Something Wonderful!

I was so tired; I wasn't even going to enter this competition.  But then, I felt better and did.  Time passed.  The internet service wasn't working on our computer, so I had to check my email at my daughter's house.  And, there it was...."Congratulations, your painting, 'Two Flutes', is a winner in our 'Over 60' competition and will be published in the March, 2013 issue of The Artist's Magazine."  It was hard to contain myself!  To actually be published in a national magazine!  One of my goals and dreams...

Alexis, my grand-daughter, is the subject.  Alex


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KV

Coming Out of the Closet

On Sunday I decided to do it, go to church without a wig.  My hair is still really short, shorter than most men's, but it does cover the moles on my head.  I wore really big earrings, a beautiful new scarf, lots of make-up and recently had my eyebrows done and my toenails painted hot, sparkly pink.  Everything girly-girly, except my hair.  This took a lot of fortitude!

When I got to church I saw my reflection in the car window and almost turned around and went home.  Everyone's eyes went to my head.  The women had very kind compliments: "How cute!"  "You look


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KV

The Politics of Cancer

At a party this spring, a man who had recently had surgery to remove his prostrate cancer, asked me from across the room, "Where would we be today, Karlene, without Medicare?"  A soft voice, real or maybe unreal, whispered..."dead".

I've seen some of the bills...uncomprehensible!  What if this had happened when I was 40? or 20?  I have a friend with hepatitis who lost her house and business in California due to medical bills.  And then there are those who don't even get treated... I feel so bad for them.

In the 70's I did this little painting of a politician, big po




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KV

Hair Update

No, this is not my hair.  It didn't come back in long, black and curly.  (I wish!)  This is an oil pastel, "Brava", which I did several weeks ago, post-cancer.  It just won Honorable Mention in the national Mungyo Pastel Contest. http://www.jerrysartarama.com/galleries/2012/gallery-pastel-contest.htm

Actually, my new hair is wavy, thick and silky, some white, some kind of black.  Actually, it's like a poodle or a yappy white lap dog.  Today I was able to pull it straight up in the middle so I looked like a Kewpie doll.  If I stuck a safety pin through my


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KV

Stickers...

This is the second, and only other painting I did while taking toxic chemicals.  (Someone told me it was rat poison, really?  Really!)  Also, I was on steroids, an artist on steroids?  That's me!  Is that legal?  Yep.

The subject?  A century plant in our yard, although it looks like a painting you might see in a Southwest motel room, only more neurotic.  I spent several early mornings in the hot sun, wearing the broad brimmed hat my beautiful friend gave me, even so, sweat pouring down my forehead.  Painstakingly, I


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KV

Under the influence...

In April, Tish asked, "Can you paint what you are feeling now?"  Yes, I did.  This psychotic pastel painting was done under the influence of chemo drugs and steroids.  The art therapists would have a blast with this one.

My husband was fishing at Oak Creek and I, not having a fishing license, decided to paint.  There was no decent subject matter there, since I like to draw people.  (You've probably noticed that.)  So, I sketched the vegetation at the water gate.  When just about finished, I felt it needed a monster hiding in the brush.  So, I added him, w


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KV

Pants on Fire!

I don't think I've mentioned "Chemo Brain", maybe I forgot....  Anyway it's a known fact that taking chemo turns you into an idiot.  I don't know if this is permanent brain damage or just till your hair grows back.

Of course, there's the usual forgetting: people's names, what did I do yesterday, what did I do 5 minutes ago, why am I in this room? 

After my first chemo treatment the dumbest thing I did was, turn on the stove, set an empty pan on the stove, and walk out of the kitchen.  I did this sort of thing not once, but four times!  Fortunately, my husband was w




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KV

Everybody jump in the van...

"Everybody jump in the van!", that was a line from an old Harry Belafonte song.  The Sedona Cancer Center Radiation Department generously provides free transportion to radiation appointments, which is awesome with the price of gas and considering one has to go there 5 days a week.  I only jumped in the van 3 days a week, the other 2 days my husband drove me, because I was babysitting little Cairo, and cancer patients don't have much tolerance for 3-year-olds breeding germs.

The van driver was super courteous, buckling me in, jumping out to open the door, carefully placing a stool at t


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KV

The Blue Jelly Bean

As if four scars weren't enough, now I have a large blue jelly bean, drawn with a Sharpie Permanent Marker, on my chest.  No, it's not just some cute decoration, or a bad joke by the radiation therapists.  Actually, they plan to start a "Boost" on Friday.  The Boost will focus the radiation on a smaller area, the area where "Sponge Bob" used to reside, the area of the jelly bean.  They tell me that's where any new tumor would most likely show up.  So, going into my last week of radiation therapy, I will get a boost.  Yes, I could use a boost!

If you're wondering ab


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