Healing Through Art, One Step at A Time

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Juan Juarez, Patient and Artist interviewed by Frances Ancheta-Becker, Supervising Creative Arts Therapist at San Mateo Medical Center

Juan Juarez Tank paintingJuan is a patient in the long-term care/skilled nursing unit at San Mateo Medical Center, in San Mateo, California, a local county government hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area. Juan was originally from Mexico and ...

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Elizabeth Jameson Interview- Embracing life to its fullest

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A truly remarkable spirit. Rather than running away from her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, Elizabeth Jameson used her newly acquired medical condition as an opportunity for transformation. Not only did she change her profession from attorney to artist, but she allowed her new perspective to pervade her artwork and view of the world.

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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

Story:

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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Susan Trachman Interview

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Artist living with Multiple Sclerosis creates art out of her old medical supplies. Her creations present an opportunity to regain control from the chaos and unpredictability of MS.


Susan Trachman was born in 1961 in the Rancho Park section of Los Angeles. She loved art from an early age and remembers fondly her favorite family outings going to the art museum on Sundays. Susan always loved doing art and thanks to her mother she still has the self portrait she ...

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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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Joe Barrett Interview- An Honest and Engaging Dialogue on Disability

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Joe Barrett worked in the film industry in Los Angeles in several positions, including Production Design, Camera Operator, and Director. Active and involved in multiple artistic projects, In 2013 he was diagnosed with a debilitating neurologic condition and now is living with MS. In spite of the challenges, Joe worked on his recovery and turned to photography and video.

With a lot of hard work and perseverance he began shooting videos for local musicians and bands. Through his work, he ...

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