Breast Cancer Awareness

Marilyn would play her harp while receiving chemo treatments.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, focusing on strength, fearlessness and coming together. In my book, “Living Namaste Photography and Spoken Word Poetry“, I wrote about Marilyn who embraced all of these characteristics and so much more because she touched my life in such a profound way. While receiving chemo, she played her harp for all and created such calmness for everyone. Here is the excerpt from the book and here’s to you Marilyn!

Harp and Soul

The monitor’s flashing lights



Stared at as if it was the judge and jury

On the verge of the verdict

A pronouncement of fate

All the while the machine scans take control

Beep after Beep

Drip after drip

Can chemo be convicted of a murder charge

Please God

Kill the cancer within

Each person around the room

So many stories to speak

Hearts yearning for those once

Incidental moments of

Ordinary life

Now Grown extraordinary in scope

Lifelines of hope

Intimacy and sterility

Each has been touched

Tested Scanned and cut

With scars left to heal

Similarities and differences

References and preferences

Fear and fight

Courage not cancer must survive

Must have might to see the light

A woman in the chemo room

Tubes and drips

Connected and grounded and yet


A gentle spirit

A musician of the heart

Soul soothing sounds unbound

The freed notes float with a whisper of hope

The mystical magic streaming from her harp

The tremor of a string to calm

The tremors caused by fear

Comforting held so dear

The musician

The patient

The healer as one

Thinking of others

The gifting to others

The lifting of others

I bow to you my teacher


Your divine life a work of art

Inspiring us all to do our part

Create a melody of sanctuary and shelter

A presence so soothing and soul centered

Harmony and healing.

Gentle Greatness

I believe there is a synchronicity to life. In an exquisitely unfolding universe, there is a plan and a purpose for all. Today was one of those days when a chance meeting turned into a truly inspirational day. I met Marilyn and her great friend Nancy, while just waiting for a salesperson. We got to talking and she related that she and Nancy play the harp for hospice patients and that she herself was going through her second bout with breast cancer. In order to make the best of this very challenging situation, Marilyn takes her harp for each session of chemo. Her great friends, Jerry and Nancy, accompany her to every Friday session. When Marilyn can’t play, Nancy takes over. I could not stop talking and thinking about this amazing woman and the strong bonds of friendship which surround her. I just knew I had to share her story, her courage and her uplifting spirit in the face of adversity. I am so very grateful to Marilyn for allowing me the priviledge to accompany and photograph/video her today while she received her chemo treatment. I have her music, video and photographs to gather together, but I just wanted to pass on the very beginnings of this day.

All rights reserved. No unauthorized use, distribution, sales, lending or duplication is permitted without written notice from Frances Schwabenland, copyright 2012.