Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey

Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey

by Diana M. Raab

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615990108
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
Publication date: 03/28/2010
Pages: 206
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.44(d)

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CHAPTER 1

Mammograms and More Mammograms

"Those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart don't know how to laugh either."

— Golda Meir

There is no breast cancer in my family. No cancer of any kind. Except for mine, that is.

Two days after my annual mammogram (I was a month late scheduling the appointment), the nurse phoned to say that the radiologist wanted to take additional views of my right breast. "He just wants to make sure that everything is okay."

This was not the first time I had been called back to the mammography department of my local hospital. A year earlier, I had had a surgical biopsy on the same breast, after a clinician detected a small lump during the manual examination before my mammogram. She had me sit on the edge of the examination table in my hospital gown during that fateful appointment, facing the mirror hanging on the wall. She asked me to raise my arms to see if she could detect any abnormal dimpling on my breasts. Then she asked me to lie down as she did the familiar circular examination that I did faithfully every month, on the first day of my menstrual cycle. I had cystic breasts, but the little cysts moved when I touched them. As a nurse, I knew that if a lump was fixed and did not move, then it was probably malignant and should be looked at right away. I never had any lumps like that.

"I feel a little lump here," she said gently, her hands still on my right breast. "Here, you feel it."

She took my index and middle fingers into her hands. "It's small and moveable, which usually means it's not cancer, but I'm sure they'll want to biopsy it."

Two weeks later I was admitted into the hospital for a biopsy. Thankfully it was benign.

So, when I received this second call from the nurse, part of me was pissed off at having to return for another false alarm. Although the biopsy was negative, the entire surgical ordeal was not something I wanted to endure again.

To be on the safe side, I booked the follow-up mammogram. The weeklong wait for round two was long enough for my imagination to go absolutely haywire. Studies were popping up in newspapers and magazines hypothesizing on what might predispose women to breast cancer. I tried to fit myself into a category, any category, that would indicate that I was at risk, but I could not. I had breast-fed all three of my kids, I exercised four times a week, ate lots of fruits and vegetables, avoided red meat, was not overweight, and drank lots of water. I visited a nutritionist regularly. I ingested a kaleidoscope of herbs and minerals three times daily. I was doing everything right. How could I have breast cancer?

On the morning of my appointment, the alarm rang at six a.m. I slammed the button, showered, and got dressed. My husband volunteered to accompany me to the hospital, but I said I would be okay going by myself. I kissed him goodbye and told him not to worry because it would probably be just another false alarm. What I did not say was that lurking inside of me was a growing sense that things would not be okay this time around.

I drove our twelve-year-old son, Josh, to school, then, hopped on the congested highway, heading to the women's health center. After parking in the hospital's early morning half-empty lot, I went directly to the radiology department, signed the receptionist's clipboard, took a number from the box, and sat in a waiting room crammed with women and old magazines splattered on laminated coffee tables.

Two out of the four magazines displayed headlines pertaining to breast cancer. My friend, Ellen, a radiologist, had (prior to my most recent mammography,) told me that the incidence of breast cancer had risen to epidemic proportions: one woman in eight would be diagnosed with it at some point in their life. This meant that whether at a dinner party or in a shopping center, chances are you would meet someone who already had breast cancer or would succumb to it later in her life. To me, this news was astounding. Another shock: 75 percent of new cases were not genetically related. It was this discussion that my mind kept casting back on. As I flipped through the magazines, pretending to read, my mind churned into a fast-paced movie laden with unanswered questions. Do I have cancer? How will this affect our family?

"Diana Raab," I heard the receptionist call my name.

A Woman's Life

Kicking Wiggling Sucking Pushing Nursing Sleeping Eating Growing Crawling Sitting Walking Counting Reading Writing Biking Dancing Flirting Necking Loving Cramping Rebelling Driving Exercising Studying Working Marrying Nurturing Obsessing Separating Crying Dieting Menopausing Wrinkling Grouching Forgetting Slouching Dying.

Describe your family and note if there is any history of breast cancer in your family tree.

Write about the day you first thought that you had cancer.

CHAPTER 2

The Diagnosis

"Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival."

— Hannah Arendt

"Just move a tad bit to the left," the soft-spoken technician requested. .

Here I was again, wearing another paper gown (opened to the front) and back in the mammogram room having my boob squashed between two horizontal pieces of glass. I used my arm to hold onto the cold bar beside the machine, arching my back so the technician could get a good view of my (droopy) womanhood.

"Okay, hold your breath one more time," she said.

Then she dashed off to her protective cubicle. Where is my protection? I wondered. Are they really certain all these mammograms aren't destroying my good cells?

"Okay. Have a seat while I check to see if the films are good," she said, darting off to the darkroom.

I sat. I was hoping we were done, that my breasts would not have to endure any more torture. On the small coffee table beside my chair were pamphlets with graphic photos explaining how to give self-breast exams. How many of those had I jammed in my purse during the past twenty years? I wondered how many women actually took them out to read once they arrived home. Studies show that most breast cancers are detected by women themselves. Whatever was going on with me this time was definitely not palpable because my earlier scare made me diligent about performing the exams on the first day of each menstrual cycle.

After about fifteen minutes, the technician returned.

"Everything is fine," she said.

"You mean I am okay?" I said, with a certain degree of elation.

"No Ma'am, I cannot read your mammograms, I'm just saying the pictures came out." She hesitated. "The radiologist would like to talk to you."

"Is everything all right?" I asked.

"That's what he wants to speak with you about. Why don't you go get dressed and I'll meet you outside the changing room and bring you to him."

"Thank you." I quickly ripped off my hospital gown and slipped back into my black Capri pants and pink tank top. I embraced both my breasts and turned sideways in the mirror.

The technician was waiting outside the door.

I nervously followed her into a room lined with mammograms displayed on boards around a wall lit from behind. As I approached, the radiologist swiveled his chair around to glance up at me.

"Are you Diana?"

"Yes," I said with trepidation, walking toward him.

"Let's have a look at this together." He motioned me closer, and I felt my body get cold and my legs go numb. I tried stepping outside myself to become the clinical nurse I had been years earlier. If I didn't succeed, I would surely faint on the tile floor. I stood behind him as he pointed at the pictures of my right breast.

"I can't say for sure, but it seems to me you have something called DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ."

He could have said anything and I still would have cried. My emotions were piqued. Before my biopsy the previous year, I was called back for repeat mammograms, but the radiologist never requested to meet with me privately. His decisions had been framed alone, behind closed hospital doors.

"This means," continued the radiologist, "there are some cancer cells in your ducts. My best suggestion is that you have a needle biopsy so that we can see the extent of the cancer."

My head felt light. The room began spinning about me. I asked for a chair and was given one by the nurse. The radiologist continued, "The only thing I really want you to know is if there's anything there at all, it's extremely early. You should have a degree of comfort in knowing that. The reason we wanted you to return for more films — and not wear deodorant — is that the first mammogram looked as if there was talcum powder sprinkled on your breast. We wanted to make sure that the spots were not from your deodorant."

I could not remember whether they had reminded me not to wear deodorant the last time.

"Now that you're not wearing any deodorant, we know that what we see are calcifications."

I thanked him. He handed me the mammogram envelope and suggested an appointment with a surgeon as soon as possible. I badly wanted to ask him to look at the films one more time so that he could rescind his diagnosis. Instead, the nurse returned to the room and asked if I was okay.

"Nope, would you be?" I blurted.

Perhaps she was sorry she asked. "Can I get you anything before you leave?" she replied.

"Thank you. I'll be okay." I answered.

I knew that I would not be okay.

I staggered out of the radiology department to the exit leading to my car. I sensed people's eyes upon me, curious about my demeanor. Once outside, I forgot where my car was parked. After walking a few circles, I found it. I opened the door and climbed into the driver's seat. I do not remember removing the keys from the lock or closing the car door. The sun shining in the front window provided no relief for my deep sense of bleakness. I plopped my head on the steering wheel and sobbed relentlessly. My eyes stung from the smudged mascara I had applied that morning. For whom? The doctor? After rubbing my eyes so hard that I could barely see out of them, I rummaged around in the back seat for used water bottles. I poured what little water I found onto a tissue to clean myself up, and phoned my husband at work. I sobbed copiously and my words slurred in his ears.

"I can't understand what you are saying —"

"I'm at the hospital. My mammogram wasn't good."

"What did it show?"

"Something called DCIS. It's an early cancer. Basically, it's a lot of calcifications on the breast. I want to see you," I said between sobs.

"Do you want me to come there?"

"No. I'll drive to your office."

"Are you okay to drive?"

"I'll be fine. See you in ten minutes."

I finished cleaning my make-up in the mirror, and then hit the road.

Simon closed his office door and led me by the hand to the leather sofa I had bought him years earlier for Valentine's Day. He took me into his arms and told me that he would do everything in his power to get me healthy. He squeezed me as tight as he did the day my father died twelve years earlier.

I never wanted to leave his arms.

My mother bestowed me with very few tidbits of useful information, but one was, "You should always have at least one doctor friend." So the following evening, I phoned Ellen, my friend the radiologist, who was also the director of mammography at our local hospital. Ellen and I had an extraordinary friendship that had taken seed several years earlier, during a fifth grade trip to Williamsburg with our daughters. We were blessed that our husbands also got along, so we often went out as a foursome.

"Diana, I'm so sorry you're going through all this. Do you have your films?" she asked with an equal amount of professionalism and empathy.

"I do."

"Then come on over right away," she said.

Ellen arrived at her front door, still in her business suit. She gave me a hug and invited me in. She took the mammogram envelope from my hand and with urgency in her stride walked to the dining room. One by one, she held each film up to a window lit by an outside garden light. I sensed she had performed this gesture many times before. She motioned for me to move closer.

"Let me show you something, Diana. This is your right breast. These lines are the mammary ducts. I think they're concerned about these white specks. They're calcifications."

I nodded.

"For the most part we all have some, and often that's okay. But, the problem is when they become more abundant. Do you have last year's films for me to compare?"

"I do," I said, removing them from the paper sheath.

"Okay, here we go," she said, holding the old films in her left hand and the new ones in her right as I held my breath, hoping she would say everything looked fine.

"Last year you had a few specks, but it looks as if there are more this year. That's why they're suggesting a needle biopsy."

She put the films down and wrapped her arm around my shoulders. "I want to send you to my friend, Phil, in Dallas; he'll take excellent care of you and will have your results right away." She glanced down at her watch, "It's too late now, but I'll phone him first thing in the morning. Promise. And then I'll call you. When's a good time for you to go to Texas?"

"A.S.A.P."

I was happy to have Ellen as a friend and felt fortunate to be able to take this trip. My husband's parents agreed to stay with our kids.

Who is the first person you told about your breast cancer? How did they react?

How are you feeling right now?

CHAPTER 3

The Needle Biopsy

"You can't keep misery from coming, but you don't have to give it a chair to sit on."

— Proverb

The following week Simon and I flew to Dallas. . We checked into the Dallas hospital's hotel room and the following day, my alarm clock shook us from bed at nine o'clock. It was the morning of my biopsy.

The waiting room for the women's health center was decorated with needlepoint chairs and rugs, nestled in a wood-paneled room. The receptionist sitting in this cherry-wood encased receiving area welcomed me, and handed me a clipboard with a stack of blank forms. I sat down beside half a dozen other anxious-looking women and their partners. My eyes shifted side-to-side, wondering what all those women were doing there. Are they in a worse predicament than myself?

Within moments a nurse called out my name. After flipping through my papers and making small talk about the weather, she directed me to the changing room — four barren cubicles containing clothes hooks and a small mirror. Outside these rooms was a cozy sitting area with magazines; the women waiting here were old enough to be my mother. What am I doing here? Aren't I too young to have breast cancer? I felt incredibly out of place.

When I left my cubicle, a middle-aged nurse came to direct me to the biopsy room. I desperately looked for a window into her thoughts. Does she know what is going on inside me? What about my prognosis? Her face offered no answers. Something about her smile did echo concern, but I did not know if her sentiments were directed toward me or toward all the women who stepped through the clinic's doors. Maybe her face mirrors my fear? As we entered the biopsy room palpitations chilled my chest. Tears fell upon my powdered cheek.

"Are you okay?" she inquired, closing the door and putting her arm on my shoulder.

"I'll be okay. I'm just nervous."

"That's normal. You're in good hands. Dr. Phil is the absolute best."

"Yes, I know. I came all the way from Orlando."

She nodded. "I need to take some chest measurements before we begin," she said, glancing at my breasts.

After untying the strings of the hospital gown, I looked down at my breasts too. The stretch marks were impossible to hide, a gentle reminder of having nursed three babies (coupled with sixty pounds of weight gain each time.) My areolas were fairly large and stretched out of shape. In one of the books piled on my bedside table, I had read (ironically, as it turns out) that breast-feeding is the best insurance against breast cancer.

My breasts had served me well. They were a sharp contrast to my 17-yearold daughter's perky ones, but they had nursed three beautiful children and brought me endless erotic pleasure. For me they were the perfect size for my five-foot-four small frame — tottering between and A and B cup-size. It never appealed to me to have them enlarged and I never made a fuss about them. They were there and once a month became a little more tender, but I never worried about that; it was expected, short-term, and part of being a woman. I sometimes wore camisoles instead of bras. Maybe the lack of support contributed to their droopiness ...

"Okay, look straight ahead," the nurse said, while marking up my right breast with a pen.

There was a knock on the door and then it opened slightly. As Dr. Phil squeezed through the crack, I quickly closed my gown. He extended his arm, and a warm smile formed on his lips. He cupped both my hands into his. "What a pleasure it is to meet you," he said. "So you're good friends with Ellen?"

"Yes, and she recommended you very highly."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Healing With Words"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Diana M. Raab.
Excerpted by permission of Loving Healing Press, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

List of Poems,
Disclaimer,
Acknowledgements,
Foreword,
Introduction,
Chapter 1 – Mammograms and More Mammograms,
Chapter 2 – The Diagnosis,
Chapter 3 – The Needle Biopsy,
Chapter 4 – The Surgical Biopsy,
Chapter 5 – The Results,
Chapter 6 – The Surgical Decision,
Chapter 7 – The Surgery,
Chapter 8 – Post-Surgical Notes,
Chapter 9 – Recovery and 9/11,
Chapter 10 – Follow-up,
Chapter 11 – More Surgery,
Chapter 12 – Emotional Reflections,
Epilogue – A Tale of Two Cancers,
Appendix A – Writing For Wellness,
Appendix B – Healing Pages,
Appendix C – Glossary,
Appendix D – Cancer Support Organizations,
About the Author,
Bibliography,

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Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
From My Blog...Memoir, educational material, and a journal rolled into one, Healing With Words by Diana M. Raab is a deeply moving book to help others go through the process of living with cancer. Raab writes from personal experience as a cancer surviour and sadly again as a cancer patient. Raab¿s book is filled with her personal accounts as well as advice about early detection, taking control of one¿s health care, and writing prompts to get people writing about their feelings rather than keeping them bottled up. Healing With Words offers up not only a first hand account of battling cancer, it also offers relaxation advice, medical terminology, where to seek further advice and assistance, along with writing prompts to help the patient on the journey. Healing With Words is a work of love and pain, beautifully written through some of Raab¿s darkest hours she wants to share the power of writing with others and in so doing help them to heal, if not physically, then emotionally. Healing With Words is an extremely emotional and moving book and one I would recommend to anyone who has cancer or knows someone diagnosed as well as those close to a cancer patient.
Justjenniferreading on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I think everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. I've lost a few family members to cancer and there are also a few survivors in my family. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. While I've never had cancer I know what the fighter is going through in their battle. Most people have their own way of dealing with cancer, but for those who don't I think this book could be very helpful. The book is both a biographical story and a journal. I liked the format that it was written in. Raab talks about different points in her cancer journey and then gives prompts for the reader to write about their journey. She gives small prompts like "Describe your admission to the hospital". I think these are the kinds of things that are difficult for people to talk about, but I also think that keeping all these feelings bottled up inside is not the way to deal with them. I also liked the poetry that Raab wrote through her journey. She talks in the book about the different emotions she was feeling and these emotions come through in the poetry she has dispersed throughout. For someone who is dealing with cancer I think this book could be a beneficial tool to help the cope with what they are going through. While I've never written anything significant I used to keep a journal and also wrote poems and short stories. I've always found writing to be therapeutic. And while cancer is a disease of the physical body the medicines and treatments do little to heal the mind and soul. If you, or someone you know, are struggling with cancer I would recommend this book. It was sometimes difficult to read and it was very emotional. But at the same there were moments of hope and I think that those are the things that we all need to hold on to, regardless of what kind of struggle we are going through. A review copy of this title was provided by the author.
Carolee888 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I looked forward to reading Healing with Words A Writer¿s Cancer Journey. The author, Diana M. Raab has experienced both Breast Cancer and Smoldering Myeloma (that could possibly turn into Multiple Myeloma). Did you know that a woman in United States is diagnosed with Breast Cancer every three minutes as per the American Cancer Society? You may well have friends and relatives with it. The small book is filled with steps of the author¿s very personal experiences with cancer, poems that she wrote during her experiences and pages for the reader to write in their own experience during their own journey with cancer. . ¿Most of the time, I wanted to know everything, yet there were times that I wanted to know absolutely nothing. ¿ She wrote the same thing that I was felt when being tested for Multiple Myeloma (I do not have it but have a condition called MGUS that could turn into later in life). She had a whirlwind of emotions and used journaling as a way to heal herself. Her emotions ring true throughout the book. This is the book that I would have liked to have when I was first undergoing testing. This is the book to either give to yourself or your friend or family member at the beginning of testing for cancer, especially breast cancer. This book is like a friend walking the way with me. I would have liked to have read this book when I was undergoing the tests to find out what I had. I would have liked to have this book with me. It would have been like a friend walking the way with me.There is an appendix Labeled Healing Pages which has short description of ways to relax and meditation, a glossary and a very thorough listing of Cancer Support Organizations. The proceeds of the book will be donated to Mayo Clinic. I recommend this book for any one starting their journey through breast cancer or multiple myeloma.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephanie_Ward More than 1 year ago
"Healing with Words" is a memoir of a woman¿s battle with cancer and her struggle to understand and heal her life afterwards. Diana Raab is diagnosed with breast cancer at the early age of 47 and manages to beat it, only to be diagnosed with an unrelated and incurable cancer 5 years later. Raab comes to use her journaling as a way of healing and validation. The book includes several personal journal entries as well as poems that have been written by the author and she has included writing prompts for readers to journal about their own cancer stories. Raab¿s memoir is very accessible to the reader. It flows in a natural, easy, and conversational way. Her poetry is intimate and allows the reader to see into her thoughts and emotions as she is dealing with her diagnosis and treatment. Raab never sugar coats the things she felt or experienced. Instead, she gives her honest feelings and opinions on everything from the doctors to the depression that came after surgery. The journaling prompts that are included are creative and urge the reader to recount parts of their own journey with cancer. Many readers who have suffered from cancer will find the exercises to be cathartic and perhaps even healing. This memoir is a fresh and honest piece that shows how cancer can touch everyone and the obstacles that one must overcome in order to survive it.
MomsChoiceAwards More than 1 year ago
Healing With Words is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom's Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS's Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, and New York Times best-selling Author; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom's Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jennmarie68 More than 1 year ago
I think everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. I've lost a few family members to cancer and there are also a few survivors in my family. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. While I've never had cancer I know what the fighter is going through in their battle. Most people have their own way of dealing with cancer, but for those who don't I think this book could be very helpful. The book is both a biographical story and a journal. I liked the format that it was written in. Raab talks about different points in her cancer journey and then gives prompts for the reader to write about their journey. She gives small prompts like "Describe your admission to the hospital". I think these are the kinds of things that are difficult for people to talk about, but I also think that keeping all these feelings bottled up inside is not the way to deal with them. I also liked the poetry that Raab wrote through her journey. She talks in the book about the different emotions she was feeling and these emotions come through in the poetry she has dispersed throughout. For someone who is dealing with cancer I think this book could be a beneficial tool to help the cope with what they are going through. While I've never written anything significant I used to keep a journal and also wrote poems and short stories. I've always found writing to be therapeutic. And while cancer is a disease of the physical body the medicines and treatments do little to heal the mind and soul. If you, or someone you know, are struggling with cancer I would recommend this book. It was sometimes difficult to read and it was very emotional. But at the same there were moments of hope and I think that those are the things that we all need to hold on to, regardless of what kind of struggle we are going through. A review copy of this title was provided by the author.
Catherine_Rain More than 1 year ago
No matter your life season, whether you are in the moment of joy or disillusion, clarity or confusion, sickness or health-you must read Diana Raab's (www.dianaraab.com) latest book Healing With Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey! Raab is a registered nurse, author, mother of three, and also the inspirational heroine of this deeply touching memoir, which chronicles her midlife victory over a rare form of breast cancer: DCIS or ductal carcinoma in situ-cancer of the mammary glands, only detectable through a mammogram. Diagnosed at the age of 47, Raab is painfully honest about her struggle to confront diagnosis, treatment, and ultimate recovery. She takes the reader from the calm before the storm, and into its eye, spinning along in a tempest of wonder and fury, truth and promise, and above all love, hope and courage! Raab's book is many things: educational, thought provoking, empowering, inspirational, and empathetic. Her words resonated with me on many different levels. As a woman, I felt and understood that low-in-the belly fear she-any woman-would feel in such circumstances. The frightful worry of losing sexuality and good looks; of dying before children reach adulthood. Of ending life before it is actually finished. The author's perspective touched me as a life coach, forced me-even as I coach others-to coach myself through life's trauma, to hold on, to believe in my own strength, resiliency, and tenacity! As a writer, I turned pages in awe, amazed at the raw honesty Raab displayed, a gift we all hope to achieve with every word we write. This book is a gift for all of the seasons of a woman's life. While Raab writes about breast cancer, her honesty and message translate well to other of life's disappointments, to those times when we question, do we leap off the dangerous precipice--or reach deep into our souls to find a new road, a new way, a new solution? Raab's message is clear, remarkable, and inspiring: keep reaching, keep stretching, and never, ever give up! Journey with Diana! Take this trip with her; use the writing prompts and journaling exercises that conclude each chapter. Taste the poems she intersperses throughout; savor them as you would a hunger-satisfying delicacy! Know that no matter where you are in life, you are a not alone and Diana proves that with her moving words, every step of the way! -- Catherine Rain, CPC and Freelance Writer www.midlifeventures.com
growingupugly-com More than 1 year ago
Diana Raab begins her book with a memoir about her diagnosis of breast cancer and her own cancer journey. The well-written narrative is honest, insightful, inspirational and scary! Ms. Raab makes the point of how common breast cancer is among women. She knows that though she was not alone, she must fight this battle her own way. She shares that intimate knowledge in this easy to read book and leaves pages for the reader to fill in the blanks and share their own story. On a personal note, as I read the book, I thought of my own friend who is fighting a battle with breast cancer. I will pass this book onto her. I also felt compelled to make an appointment for my long overdo mammogram. All of that being said this book is not just about fighting cancer. It is about fighting the disbelief, depression, bitterness and fear. It is about the physical battle she had to fight as well; losing a breast, treatment and the ultimate blow of being diagnosed with cancer a second time. The author says, "There are a number of messages I have taken from the cancer journey, but for me, the most important one is that the diagnosis of cancer should be considered a turning point that sets you free to fulfill or examine dreams that can no longer wait.In spite of everything, I try to wake up every morning happy to be alive and with joy in my heart." These two points were the culminating point of the book for me. Shouldn't we all live our daily lives like this? Journaling brought Ms. Raab the peace and comfort that she so desperately needed. She offers guidance and hope through her courageous story and encourages the reader to write their story, as well, while giving advice for the writing process. Finally, although this book is written for the cancer patient, I believe anyone with any ailment could use her steps and advice to promote healing physically and emotionally. I highly recommend this book to anyone needing help with healing and a positive way to get their life back on track. Reviewed by: Donetta Garman, Allbooks Review.
RebeccasReads.com More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Charline Ratcliff for RebeccasReads (06/10) I was recently asked if I would be interested in reviewing "Healing with Words." Initially I was hesitant to accept this request having lost my best friend Julie to cancer in April of 2006. In the end I accepted; I am thankful that I did and I feel truly honored to provide my thoughts about this wonderful book. "Healing with Words" is a real look at cancer through the eyes of someone who has experienced and overcome the physical aspects of this life-shattering disease. "Healing with Words" is a well-written, eye-opening and painfully honest book. It is a realistic look at cancer from someone who has experienced it and lived through it first-hand. The author, Diana M. Raab, has taken the time to share with her readers a very intimate accounting of an extremely hard time in her life. There is no history of any type of cancer in her family and yet she was unlucky enough to be diagnosed with this disease. Twice. Raab walks us through her life starting with when she was first diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) which is an early form of breast cancer. She shares her pain, devastation and disbelief that this was actually happening to her in a manner which anyone who has had or currently has cancer will be able to relate to. She also provides her reflections, poetry and even some of her private journal entries. Throughout "Healing with Words" Raab gives insightful information and helpful advice that only someone who has personally traveled this horrific road would be able to offer. The fact that she has experienced cancer first-hand and refused to let it beat her should provide comfort to anyone reading this book looking for guidance or a kindred spirit. "Healing with Words" is a powerful book and I feel the message contained within its pages will help many in the generations to come. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with a cancer diagnosis as well as to that person's family members and friends. As a final note, the author proceeds from this book will be donated to the Mayo Clinic and I applaud Raab for her generosity.
Reader_Views More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (06/10) We don't want to ever hear the words "You have cancer." It stuns us, puts us in depression and makes us look at our life day to day." Ms. Raab tells us, in the beginning, as a child, she was not allowed to express her opinions to her family, so she wrote a journal instead. Hidden in her closet when she was a child, she wrote about her experiences as being a child who "was never heard." After she left the home and got married, she continued to write in journals. When life has finally given you hope and courage, it is most devastating to know that you might have or do have cancer. This diagnosis tore the author up and left her feeling that she didn't want this life. Through her honest and candid remarks about how she felt, the author relates with many who have had the same thing happen to them. She doesn't condemn the medical profession or how she and her family handled the situation. She, in a quiet, easy tone explains what she went through but at the same time, throughout the book, gives those who have been given the same diagnosis cause to ponder their thoughts on when they went through the same thing. These are her own words on how she felt, what she did and the many frustrations she went through. Regardless of how many opinions you get or comments from family members- each individual has to make decisions. It is not easy. None of us as cancer survivors want to be a burden on others, and yes there are times as the author says "They would be better without me." But it is important that readers, either those diagnosed or their family members, read "Healing with Words." It is true feelings and thoughts- as readers we need to know the early warning signs, get support from our family, not pity and get second opinions. It is a journey none want to take, but journaling is a great way to express thoughts- as did the author. I hope many people read this and take to journaling and talking very directly to their families about choices.