In this emotional memoir, author Diana M. Raab shares the story of how her life was shattered by her first cancer diagnosis. Raab would face her mortality again, five years later, when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma; a battle she continues to wage and is determined to win.
I had selfish reasons for requesting this book. For those of you who might not know, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45. Cancer returned a year later, and she died a week before Christmas at the age of 47. I found the first lump in my breast when I was 25.
Writing helped me cope with the grief of losing my mother when I was a young teen. I still keep a journal, though since I began blogging, it hasn't seen as much time as it used to.
Healing with Words made me cry, it made me sympathize with what the author had to--and still has to--endure. The majority of patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma will die from it. Perhaps this is why Raab can share her story with such grace and compassion. Whatever the reason, I admire her for it.
When she spoke of the anxiety over waiting for test results, I understood her. The three weeks I waited for the results of my genetic testing to see if I had a mutated gene that would highly increase my risk for breast cancer, were the most difficult weeks of my life. Not knowing how my life would change if the test came back positive seemed unbearable at times. And then when Raab discussed the sense of loss before and after her mastectomy, I thought of my mother, and also what might have been in my future--could still be.
What ties all this together nicely, is that in Healing with Words, the author shows how journaling can impact your overall health. Included are some poems Raab wrote since her original diagnosis and on through her continuing journey. In addition, each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions and plenty of blank space for the reader to write. On Page 7 it says, "Write about the day you first thought you had cancer." While I have been fortunate never to actually have been diagnosed, let me tell you, that first lump scared me as if it was already a forgone conclusion that I was going to lose a breast.
Healing with Words is a phenomenal book. Not only will you read one woman's story, you will be changed by it.
Title: Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey Author: Diana M. Raab Publisher: Loving Healing Press (May 12, 2010) Language: English ISBN-10: 1615990100 ISBN-13: 978-1615990108 SRP: $19.95