Art Therapy

Nature Photography Is Healing My Spirit

After being diagnosed with a genetic mutation associated with immune disorders, including myelodysplastic syndromes and leukemia, Marit Chrislock had to give up her long-distance running in the Colorado mountains, using photography to express her love of nature.
February 2020 Vol 6 No 1
Marit Chrislock
Arden, North Carolina
Marit Chrislock

The path may be long, but my journey continues. I took these photographs while backpacking the 500-mile Colorado Trail in 2019, doing all I could to make myself as strong as possible—physically, mentally, and emotionally—for my bone marrow transplant scheduled for January 2020 then delayed for donor availability. I look at the ridge lines, peaks, and valleys on these images and see where I’ve been, which gives me courage in times of fear, and resolve to fight for my life.

My journey continues forward, one step at a time. In May 2018, I was diagnosed with GATA2 immunodeficiency, resulting from a GATA2 gene mutation, which is associated with several immune disorders, including myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia. I have no monocytes, my white blood cells are very low, and my red blood cells are shaped oddly.

I used to run and be a competitive athlete, despite my endless illnesses throughout my life, but my body can’t take that anymore. So I started backpacking and turning toward nature, which I have found so healing. Art, especially photography, helps me to express myself.

Mountain Layers by Marit Chrislock

Mountain Layers by Marit Chrislock

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Last modified: March 3, 2020

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