Using Writing as Therapy: Coping With Cancer


You have been told you have cancer and it’s curable.   Your doctor informs you he has deep experience battling this form of cancer   His army of medical experts are ready to go . . .  they fight this monster all the time . . . however, they need you to get ready to fight this battle both psychologically and physically.            You need to digest what you have been told, do research, map out the enemies position, locate others who have gone before you, find the courage to fight and be willing to change strategy at a moment’s notice.

Going into battle is scary.  You have no experience with the tactics and methods your medical team will use.   This battle is going to challenge your ability to cope and change.  So don’t turn away from your challenge.  Face it.  Feel it fully.  Know what it is capable of.  Feel it – but don’t think about it.  You’re going to be Ok. It will work out.  Many others have done battle with the cancer monster and have done just fine.  Give it your full attention.  Be willing to make changes.

What you will get out of this is the understanding, a belief that you can do something you never thought you’d be able to do.  The worst thing you can do is go into battle alone, scared and ignorant.  Your opponent will sense this and use it to his advantage.

What you are seeking is the strength to endure, the wisdom to respond and the ability to communicate.  Writing can help you get through this process.   Take notes, get your thoughts on paper, understand you are unique and might respond differently, so be ready to reveal what’s going on inside you at a moment’s notice.

I recently had a bad reaction to my last BCG treatment following bladder cancer surgery and went hunting for information.  Fortunately, my physical therapist had given me the name of a bladder cancer survivor and he introduced me to the Bladder Cancer Web Café out of Holland.  Their web site is full of survival stories but the presentation that stood out was Cynthia’s Corner, written by Cynthia Kinsella, President American Bladder Cancer Society and how she uses writing as a type of therapy.  Here’s part of her story.  If you are dealing with bladder cancer, I strongly recommend you follow the ABLCS blog.

Learning to fly upside down while enjoying the view by Cynthia Kinsella

While going through cancer treatment I have came to use writing as a type of therapy. It grants me the chance to put what happens to me into an order that somehow gives it meaning to me. It gives me license to be a drama queen to be totally irreverent if I please and to say things I could never say to the people I love because I would worry about upsetting them.  Looking back on the last two years as crazy as it may sound I have came to recognize the fact that the cancer has been one of the most incredible chances I have ever had for personal growth. It has taught me how precious every day is, that passing up the chance to experience joy is a grave sin and that most of us never notice how blessed we really are because we are blinded by the petty occurrences of everyday life. Who would ever think that good could come from something so terrible? But then life does have a way of surprising us when we least expect it, doesn’t it?