This entry was written by Jeanne Egan:
It seems like I have always been writing. I started a journal when I was about eight and I have been writing in one ever since. Good times and bad times, I documented them all. Then, one day in a fit of insecurity, I threw every word I had written away. “These are worthless,” I thought.
Three years ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the first thing I did was buy a journal. I started writing immediately. At first, my writing style was jagged and lacked good grammar; I hadn’t written much since I had my children. Even so, I continued to write because I needed a place to put my memories, fears, and anger. My life was spinning out of control.
Each night, when I began treatment, I would wake up at two o’clock in the morning unable to sleep and anxious. “The nights are going to be long,” I thought to myself after the first round of chemo. “I need to find something to do between two and five, when I will finally feel drowsy enough to go back to sleep.”
I pulled out my computer and began to tell my story, starting with my grandmother’s death from breast cancer and the subsequent shadow of fear that engulfed our family because of this disease. Each night as I wrote, I would try to link the past, present and future together and make some sense of what had happened and what was happening to me.
What I ended up with was a fifty five thousand word manuscript that is still a work in progress. There are stories about my childhood and stories about my grandmother. There is the story of my daughter finding my wigs and dancing around the house like Hannah Montana. And there are stories about the women who embraced me in my hour of need. In the end, I realized that all of these events have been interconnected. They make the circle of my life.
Telling my story was therapeutic. I had many self revelations and it has helped me heal. In addition, it has also given me a new purpose. I had always wanted to write but it took cancer to help me realize this is what I want to do with my life. Now, I blogonce a week and continue to refine my memoir. When people comment on my writing and say that it is inspirational, I feel content. I might make a difference.
Writing has provided solace for me in this life of uncertainty after cancer. It is helping me to live beyond my diagnosis and treatment and to become the person I would like to be. I would recommend journaling or blogging as an outlet for all of the unanswered questions a newly diagnosed patient may have. By reaching out and opening up, you may find a new part of yourself that has yet to be discovered.
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