After a period of multiple months of new onset, unexplained hip and back pain, Teva Harrison discovered a painful lump in her breast. Within two weeks, at the age of thirty seven, she knew she had stage IV metastatic breast cancer. With the initiation of treatment, she saw a psychiatrist as part of the psycho-social oncology team to help her cope. Having been an artist her whole life, she took to drawing comics, allowing “verbalization” of emotions and thoughts. With encouragement from her doctor, she continued the comics that would become a graphic memoir, exploring elements of her life prior to diagnosis as well as during her ongoing treatment.
Teva’s crisp, minimalist style of drawing and short narratives provide an uncompromising expression of her thoughts, feelings, and life as she struggles with the disease and its management. Her memoir is presented in three sections. The first recounts her diagnosis, the treatment and the side effects she had, the second about the support she has had from marriage, family, and society, and the third about her hopes, fears, and dreams. In this simple construction we can understand, share, and experience Teva’s disbelief, anger, sadness, tears, changing life focus, and joy in finding appreciation of life. Fifteen and a half million Americans at this time have had cancer, and all have shared some element of Teva’s experience. In-Between Days is a beautiful memoir which can help those of us without cancer come to an understanding and appreciation of their journey as we support our loved ones.
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