Today Diana Raab, author of Healing With Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey is going to share with us how keeping a journal helped her deal when she was diagnosed with cancer.
Journaling Has Saved My Life
for Stories of Inspiration on the Breast Cancer Site
Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN
At age forty-seven, I received a diagnosis of early breast cancer and five years later another, yet incurable form of bone marrow cancer—multiple myeloma. Instead of letting cancer become my life, I have allowed both my cancer diagnoses to rivet my life and make me appreciate the health I do have.
Earlier this year, my new self-help memoir, Healing With Words: A Writer’ s Cancer
Journey, was released where I share my story about refusing to allow cancer to conquer my spirit. I try to inspire others with a cancer diagnosis to embrace their experience by writing about it and allowing it empower them so they can forge ahead with their lives.
My lifeline during turbulent times has been journaling. I call myself a “ journaling advocate” and teacher in UCLA Extension Writers' Program and use my own journal to as a confident and a place to validate my feelings. I view the journal as a daily vitamin— in that it heals, detoxifies, and is essential for optimal heath. My book, Healing With Words is a mélange of memoir, journal entries, poetry, and writing exercises for readers to chronicle their own experiences.
What I have learned through journaling and in writing this book is :
The importance of early cancer detection
How journaling and early care helps you to take control your own health
How the process of journaling can facilitate healing
How a cancer diagnosis can renew and uniquely change a person
I am so indebted to the care I received, that I am donating author proceeds for each copy purchased will be donated to the Mayo Clinic.
For those interested in writing for healing, I offer the following tips:
Ten Tips on Writing For Healing by Diana Raab, MFA, RN
Find a quiet uninterrupted time and place to write
Choose an inspiring notebook and pen
Create a centering ritual (light a candle, meditate, play music, stretch)
Put aside your inner critic
Date your entry
Begin by writing your feelings and sensations
Write nonstop for 15-20 minutes
Save what you have written
Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN, has been a medical and self-help writer for the past thirty-
five years. In 2003, she earned her MFA in Writing from Spalding University. Diana
is the author of eight books, including her first memoir, “ Regina’ s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’ s Secret Journal” the recipient of the 2009 Mom’ s Choice Award for Adult Non-Fiction and the 2009 National Indie Award for Excellence in Memoir. Her poetry collection, “ Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems For You” won the 2009 Next Generation Indie Award for Poetry. Diana teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. She frequently moderates panels at conferences across the country, with a focus on writing for healing.
You can get more information about Diana Raab on her website or her blog.
Thank you Diana for sharing with us. I haven't used a journal in many years but it is something that I used to do on a regular basis. I know that it was a useful tool for me to work things out and helped me keep my emotions (which at times get very overwhelming) in check. I was a much more relaxed person when I was keeping a journal. I can only imagine how beneficial keeping a journal would be when dealing with the aftermath that comes with a cancer diagnosis. I haven't had the chance to read this book yet but I have perused through the copy Diana sent to me it looks to be a great tool that would help someone dealing with cancer. Again thank you for sharing your story with us. I'm sure that your advice in Healing With Words has and will help many people.