Buddy Check 7: Merrill woman finds peace during cancer by painting

Published: Jun. 7, 2016 at 4:40 PM CDT
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Life is filled with unexpected twists and turns. A reality that's easy to understand for Merrill mother, Amy Anderson.

While breastfeeding her second child, Anderson noticed what she thought was a lump on her breast, beginning one of the most unpredictable journeys she could have ever imagined.

Looking back at one of her happiest memories, Anderson enjoys reminiscing about a part of her life she'd always looked forward to.

But, it's what she hadn't planned that will forever remain one of the most significant.

"It didn't sit right with me at all. So, I just decided to go ahead and really pursue having it looked at more in depth and if I hadn't done that I don't know what would have happened, because as it turns out, it ended up being stage four right from the get go," Anderson, said.

In 2007, when Anderson was feeding her then infant son, she thought she felt a lump. Initially doctors thought it may be changing tissue, based on the breastfeeding process, but her intuition told her otherwise.

"You just really have to follow your instincts," she said.

For months, the cancer treatment process took its toll on Amy, forcing her to take a back seat at her family counseling business.

"A lot of moms will say that when they were pregnant they had a hard time multi-tasking, and it's like that but like 10 fold. It’s like that or you feel scatter brained all the time."

Adverse reactions to treatment, and serious side effects from medications forced Amy to make some tough decisions about how to continue working, and caring for her family.

"We're not the ones who always know what our destiny is supposed to be."

As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.

For Amy, that open door came in the form of painting.

"Art has been one of the things that has helped me, through the past several years."

A sort of therapy she used as a release.

"I spent over two years working on a mural at one of the bedrooms in the house, and to me that was so healing and so relaxing."

She thought that if the process worked for her, it could certainly help others. So, she started a business, painting parties.

"I love paint, I love art, I feel that feeling people talk about where you know that you're doing the right thing when I'm doing art. I know how healing it was for me, and I just think that it can really benefit people."

She's just getting started with her new adventure, but says she's already pleased with where the new road is leading her.

"It's never what I thought I'd end up doing but I'm really glad that it is," Anderson, said.