The journey of cancer and Lyme expressed in 53 poems and 51 illustrations

The story behind ‘Rocky Roads’

Rocky roads is the name of the book that my sister, Juliët and I made. The book is an art book, which contains 53 poems, written by Juliët, and 51 illustrations, written by me. In the book, we also describe what it was like to receive the diagnoses that started the rollercoaster ride which resulted in Rocky roads the book.

At the age of 17, I heard that I had cancer; a tumor the size of a mango between my lungs and my heart. For 1,5 years, I focussed on healing; not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. I had not been happy with my life before the diagnose, and the diagnose put me in a position to really observe my life at the moment. Pretty quickly, I realised that I did not feel content and that maybe cancer was an opportunity to change that.

Through meditation and a lot of self-reflection I rediscovered myself as an artist, and started to share my art more. In the meantime, I was also physically healing, and 1,5 years after the diagnose, I heard that I was healed. On that same day, Juliët heard that she had Lyme and started her own journey in a similar process.

Juliët saw through a different diagnose a similar internal process; repressing yourself as an artist and the invitation to share yourself with the world. During the year she had Lyme, she decided to write down her challenges and transformed difficult, beautiful and meaningful moments into poetry. The poems she wrote described a lot of insights that I had during my own process of healing and the idea of making a book came naturally to us. Juliët showed me the poems and I made the illustrations. Both from our own experiences of illness.

Around November 2019, the first poem of the book was picked and in September 2021, the book presentations of Rocky roads were held. The whole process of publishing and selling the book is done, almost completely by ourselves. Now we visit markets throughout the Netherlands to present Rocky Roads.

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