The Emotional Cancer Journey

Recently searching for images of healing for an upcoming presentation, I came across the amazing work of Michele Angelo Petrone.


The healing touch

I need to know that this body is my body. And I need to know everything that is happening to my body. But most of all I need to know that you know that within my body there is me.

Healing is brought about not just by medicine. It’s not just treatment which cures you, but all that encompasses the human touch. A smile means more than an antibiotic injection, a hug means more than a platelet transfusion. The face – of my friends, my family, my nurses and – yes – even my doctors, shows sympathy, compassion and understanding. This human face contributes so much to healing of the tortured soul.


“The healing touch” is one of twenty-two images accompanied by poems in Michele’s Emotional Cancer Journey exhibition. Originally exhibited in 1996 in London, this series of paintings evolved from the artist’s struggle with Hodgkin’s Disease and its treatment. He expresses themes of loss and hope, pain and love, connecting the healer and those in need of healing. Too often in our “too careful” culture, we shy away from touch – perhaps the most powerful healing tool our bodies possess. Cancer and chemotherapy can make patients feel lost or isolated; touch is intimate, and the absence of touch is further isolating. Doctors too frequently “drift away” from their patients with life-threatening illnesses. Connection is so crucial at this vulnerable time, and the relationship between provider and patient should be a tool for healing.

The Emotional Cancer Journey is one of several exhibits of Michele’s work, supported by his MAP Foundation. Michele co-founded the MAP Foundation to “promote expression, communication and understanding of the complex issues of serious illness and dying.” I encourage you to visit his site and spend time reflecting on the messages of his work.

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