Michelle Lachajewski & John Rusanchin
The Story
Michelle Lachajewski
Michelle Lachajewski
Warren, Michigan
11 Year Survivor, Breast Cancer
Twist on Cancer: Early detection saved my life. I noticed a lump in my breast shortly after my 40th birthday while doing a monthly self breast exam.
June 21, 2009. I received a phone call from my surgeon that my biopsy was malignant. I was numb from head to toe, my head was spinning and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had cancer. The thought of leaving my 2 young sons without a mother was unbearable. I had to fight for my family. I needed 12 chemotherapy treatments followed by 6 weeks of radiation therapy.
The following 8 months were difficult, but I was blessed to have a wonderful support system of my husband Dave, family and friends. I found courage and inner strength in me because I asked God to bless me and He did. I received a card from a family member that I still have in my possession. When I was having a bad day or felt alone, I read it to myself. This is what it said:
“Trust in the Lord in your time of need. Allow him to hear your prayers. Share your hopes, your dreams, your fears. He will bless you with the strength, peace and joy His love can bring.
My journey has made me realize that it’s important to slow down and enjoy the big and small moments in life. Stop and smell the flowers and take time to help others.
I encourage everyone to perform their monthly self breast exams.
John Rusanchin
John Rusanchin
“Oh No”
Acrylic on Masonite
24x36 unframed
Artist Statement: My inspiration told me she was performing a routine self-examination when she made the frightening discovery: a lump.
She said there were three parts of her experience that were the most traumatizing: finding out the lump was cancer, the torture of chemo, and losing her hair. Like many of us, my inspiration’s hair was a big part of her identity.
She said that her family and her faith helped her through the ordeal.
This painting shows the moment of discovery, with her fingers wrapped in her thick head of hair. There’s a sense of vulnerability with the darkness of uncertainty symbolized on the left, but there is also sunlight shining through the window, symbolizing hope.
Behind the Scenes

My Studio

Subtitle Here

It was challenging setting up a convenient workspace, but my space overlooks the lake, and has a lot of good light – natural and otherwise. 

Once I start creating, I fall into my own special groove and get lost in another world.

John studio