GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being 

By Verna Reusens


Health and Well Being are maybe the most important things in a person’s life. Many of us take it for granted, but only when you are deprived of it, you realise how precious it is.

This exposition contains a series of self-portraits. In this series, I focus on my hard struggle with cancer. It is a struggle I cannot win. The question is rather: how long can I resist before I lose.

The demanding treatment of chemotherapy is double edged. On the one side, I feel poisoned by the toxicity of the chemicals. On the other side it is this poisonous cocktail what keeps me alive a little longer. 

I realise that my paintings are somewhat confronting, but this is the harshness of reality. You should not try to hide from it or try to flee, but you need to dare to face this cruel fact. Life is -  unfortunately -  not only joy and cheers.


My paintings show the confrontation with myself. How do I cope with this all. The fatigue is overwhelming. I’ve never felt so tired before. I feel the poison in my body. My use of color represents this feeling.

The treatment makes me feel sick and nauseous. I feel broken and tired. It makes me feel miserable. But it gives me some hope. Some hope on having some good days afterwards. That hope is the only thing that makes this treatment bearable: prolonging life, hopefully with some quality.

I want to make the best of it, I feel too young to go. I want to see my children grow, have grandchildren one day.

It hurts. I still have so many goals I want to achieve, personally and artistically. I need more time.

The paintings of the scans are a representation of the judgment I am faced with over and over. They are the sword of Damocles. Every scan is followed by a new verdict. This chops in me every time. The mental ups and downs follow the rhythm, the curve, of the scans.

I want to make clear that I don’t want to discourage people. There are lots of positive stories of people who did win the battle. There is hope for many of us. I was unfortunate because my disease was discovered too late. Therefore I think it is important that cancer research keeps getting enough resources. We all need to keep supporting this research.

That way, maybe one day we can vanquish this monster.