As a fourth-generation Southern artist and gardener living on a small island off of the Georgia coast, clay and garden dirt are as imbedded in my soul as in my fingernails. I had to leave my studio and gardens behind during treatment, so writing and illustrating Mammary Lane became a way to tend to my soul garden.
During my treatments, I was given sage counsel by many women who had walked down Mammary Lane before me. I learned tricks to keep my body and spirit humming as modern science did battle with cells gone bad.
After almost eighteen months of treatment, I was able to return to my ceramic studio and get back in the clay — but I continued to add sketches to the collection of what would eventually become Mammary Lane. As of the publishing of the book, I have been cancer-free for more than seven years. At last there are hours, often stretching into days, that go by without me thinking of breast cancer. I don’t look the part of a cancer patient anymore, at least with my clothes on.
This journal is inspired by my loving husband, David Ray Dockery, who is featured often in the drawings. As my primary caregiver during the cancer saga, David Ray was vital to my sanity and healing. He continued to find me sexy and was eager to show it, even as he consoled, nurtured, bandaged, fed and sang to me. He told me how beautiful I was despite the drain tubes coming out of my chest and my baldness from top to bottom.