New Abilities & Awareness Initiative

San Mateo Medical Center in Collaboration with Our Heart Speaks: Healing Through New Awareness, Ability & Creative Expression

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Our lead collaborator is Frances Ancheta-Becker, MS, RN, CTRS, supervising creative art therapist at San Mateo Medical Center.

Patient Art Installment #1

Ravi R.

Primary diagnosis: Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, s/p below the knee amputation


Ravi was a former landscaper and gardener who ended up getting a below the knee amputation due to uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes. Ravi had no previous interest in the arts, and led an active daily life doing intense physical work in gardens and garden stores.

Ravi was depressed and ...

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A Broken Brain Leads to New Connections and Transformation

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In 1988, Jon Sarkin suddenly developed tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and hyperacusis (over-sensitivity to certain frequencies).

This led to surgery and as a consequence a brain hemorrhage and subsequent stroke.

He awoke deaf in one ear, his vision splintered, and his balance permanently skewed. Parts of his brain had been sliced and removed.

His brain was broke, however the neurons that were left made new connections.

As a result, he developed a drive to compulsively create art which helped his recovery.

To this very ...

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New Found Ability: From Trauma and Pain blooms a painter

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I am first generation born in raised in Wallingford CT. I attended Saint Michael’s College and earned a liberal arts degree in political science.

My current medical condition has been an on-going challenge.

A boat accident in 2015 resulted in a broken back, 2 injured wrists and shoulders.

To date, I have had 2 major back surgeries, 1 shoulder surgery, 2 left wrist surgeries and more surgeries scheduled.

I have had over 50 MRI’s and x-rays, more than 100 doctors visits,1,680 days of chronic ...

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