Friday, March 16, 2012

The Healing Power Of The Pen

After my bladder cancer surgery in 2004, I learned everything anyone would ever want to learn about bladder cancer.  Being in the nursing profession, I wondered if perhaps I was being called to share my experiences with others.  I did a literature search at UAB and discovered there were no recent articles about bladder cancer.  I subsequently sent an e-mail to Nursing magazine to see if they would be interested in such an article.  They responded favorably.  So, within a couple of months, I wrote a manuscript entitled, "Bladder Cancer: Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment" and submitted it to Nursing.  Several months later I received word that my article was accepted for publication, albeit the name of the article was being changed to "Bladder Cancer: Revealing News About A Hidden Threat".  I was ecstatic.  It took about another year for the article to be in print, but how happy I was to see my manuscript published in the April edition of Nursing2006.

Years later, after my second bout with cancer and chemotherapy, I felt led to write again.  Whereas the Nursing2006 article was very clinical, i.e. how do you get bladder cancer, how is it diagnosed, how is it treated, etc., I began writing a book which delved not only into the physical aspects of going through bladder cancer, but the emotional and spiritual aspects as well.  As a result, "A Place I Didn't Want To Go: My Victory Over Cancer", was born.  You could say, "A Place I Didn't Want To Go..." was as Paul Harvey would say, the "rest of the story."  It was penned after I suffered the rigors of harsh chemotherapy and multiple hospitalizations.  Hence, I had a huge arsenal of material from which to draw.  

Although my primary purpose in writing the book was to encourage others, I discovered a hidden benefit to myself after the book came out: emotional healing.  For years, I had tried to put the best spin on my cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Yet, in writing, I revisited the horror and shock of my cancer on paper.  Of course, once published, having a book has led to some opportunities to share my cancer story.  However, in speaking about my experience, the tears which I failed to shed over the years due to my cancer predicament have started coming to the surface.  These tears remind me of how much damage has been inflicted to me by cancer and its treatment.  It is imperative that I keep writing until the tears dissipate and I can glory in my current state.

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