Somehow I knew that documenting my cancer journey was important, so I started writing about the events and my thoughts and feelings soon after the diagnosis. I thought it might become an important piece in a book I was already writing, but initially it was to come to terms with the horror I was going through.
To know that something is eating away inside of you that you feel helpless to battle or overcome is its own brand of terror. Putting it down on paper took it out of my mind and eventually helped me understand why I went through what I did. But that revelation was to come later – much later. Nor did I realize at the time that the suffering I experienced would become the roots of my new purpose and destiny.
This is the type of journey that, in part, has to be lived backwards. By that I mean that you get the test first and the lessons after. Despite being surrounded by staunch supporters, much of this experience I lived alone. I felt very protective of my loved ones who were there for me, so I shielded most of them from as much of the rawness as I could. My journal became my audience when I was in pain or felt hopeless and helpless.
I didn’t know when I wrote and published “Magnificent Misery” how it would impact my readers. I hoped it might do some good, but I had no idea how. By the time I edited the twelfth draft, I was so sick of my own words, I was convinced it was all drivel. But I was too far into the process to quit, so I finished the job and hoped for the best. Never did I imagine the positive impact of me telling my story. Heartfelt comments from people who resonated with my words were both humbling and gratifying.
Of course not everyone wants to write a book. Believe me, I’ve dragged myself kicking and screaming to each book with the all important question: “Why do I have to write this?” Regardless, telling your story is important. Some may record it so others can hear. Some may capture it on video. Others will find someone else to write it for them. If you have artistic talent, you might draw it. Regardless of your method, your experience has meaning for you, even if you don’t know it now, and that experience will have meaning for others that you can’t possibly imagine.