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Art “therapy” for local Mum

When Helen Saigal is immersed in her art, the pain caused by autoimmune disease lupus, just fades away.

“I get a lot of joint pain, cardiac pain and fevers but I find art helps me with my health,” explains the Frankston resident.

“When I’m doing art I’m not thinking about anything else, I’m thinking about what I’m creating.”

“I can be in so much pain – I can revert to pain killers – but quite often I stand at my easel first and most of the time it works.”

Helen comes to Peninsula Health’s Infusion Centre every two weeks to have a saline infusion, which helps counter her low blood pressure adrenal insufficiency, a side-effect of the steroids she takes to keep her lupus under control.

“The saline really helps, it just gets me through the two weeks, then I have it and feel good again,” says Helen.

Before the Infusion Centre at Frankston Hospital opened, the mother-of-two used to have to travel to a city hospital to have the regular infusions.

“The drive was just getting too much, I’d be so tired on the way home,” says Helen.

“It’s great being able to come to Frankston – all the nurses are wonderful and supportive which is great when you’re not feeling well.”

After starting off with abstract paintings 10 years ago, Helen has branched out to include drawings and photography as well as painting.

Some of her work adorns the entrance and waiting room in the Infusion Centre, bringing a little bit of the wilderness of Africa into the hospital through her sketch of a family of elephants.

“The art is on loan, I try to swap them around and bring new ones in.”

“People all love it, they say you’re really talented!” she exclaims.

You can find out more about Helen’s art on Facebook @helen.saigal11art and Instagram @helen.saigal_artist.