Pet Project: Trained Therapy Animals Boost the Moods of Hospitalized Patients With Cancer
August 22, 2016 – Theresa Sullivan Barger
Chaos Theory: Understanding the Genetic Chaos of Soft Tissue Sarcoma
August 22, 2016 – Arlene Weintraub
Battling for Benefits: Military Veterans With Cancer Fight for Government-Funded Health Care
August 23, 2016 – Mark Cantrell
A Strong Stomach: Eliminating Nausea and Vomiting for Patients With Cancer
August 23, 2016 – Dara Chadwick
The Picture of Health: Art Exhibits in Cancer Centers Help Patients and Families Heal
August 24, 2016 – Marilyn Fenichel
Training Could Make the Caregiving Experience More Manageable
August 25, 2016 – Katie Kosko and Ellie Leick
Facing Skin Cancer Risk
August 25, 2016 – Christopher Pirschel
Cancer Moonshot Should Make Clinical Trials a Priority
August 26, 2016 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Currently Viewing
A Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times During Cancer
August 26, 2016 – Katie Kosko
Oncology Groups Praise FDA Decision to Regulate E-Cigarettes
August 29, 2016 – Katie Kosko
"Let's Win" Aims to Reduce Research Burden for Those with Pancreatic Cancer
August 29, 2016 – Beth Fand Incollingo
Rescuing the Rescuers: The Effort to Cover and Monitor 9/11 Responders for Lung Disease and Cancer
August 29, 2016 – Mark Cantrell
End Stage: Talking About End-of-Life With Those With Cancer
August 30, 2016 – Mirchelle Louis
Should Immunocompromised Patients With Cancer Worry About Drinking Water?
August 30, 2016 – Roberta Codemo and Katie Kosko
Comments From Readers on CURE's Summer 2016 Issue
Medical Illustration: Marine-Derived Cancer Treatments
August 31, 2016 – Erin Moore
Building Consistency into Health Care for Patients with Cancer
August 24, 2016 – MIKE HENNESSY, SR.
With Genomic Insights, Soft Tissue Sarcoma Therapies are Evolving
August 23, 2016 – Debu Tripathy, MD

A Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times During Cancer

Deborah S. Derman created an adult coloring book to help patients cope with difficult times.
BY Katie Kosko
PUBLISHED August 26, 2016
The ability to grieve and heal comes at an individual’s own pace. If anyone knows that well, it is Deborah Derman, a professional grief counselor with more than 20 years of experience, whose own healing came by taking it one step at a time. 

Before the age of 40, she suffered three major tragedies: the suicide of a close friend; the death of her parents in the crash of a small plane, which she witnessed while waiting for them at the airport; and her husband’s sudden, deadly heart attack that left her widowed with two young sons and a third child, a little girl, on the way. Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Derman, an 11-year breast cancer survivor, now spends her time helping others, and she hopes that her new book, “Colors of Loss and Healing: An Adult Coloring Book for Getting Through Tough Times,” will bring people a sense of calmness and reflection — something she wishes she’d had as she was trying to heal. 

“I think when someone is undergoing a loss or they’re in the middle of a very stressful time, it’s important to carve out a space of peace and quiet, because from that place of peace and quiet you can gather your thoughts and you can figure out what your next step needs to be,” Derman says. 

She used her personal tragedies, along with insights from her professional life, to come up with 35 hopeful words meant to promote healing and forward movement through difficult times. To accompany each word, she carefully thought out an illustration that can be colored; these were then drawn by illustrator Lisa Powell Braun. The book also acts as a journal, with blank pages that can be filled with personal thoughts and feelings. 

Derman says her “lightbulb moment” came after a friend gave her a coloring book for her birthday on Christmas day last year. Opening it up, she saw a ton of blank spaces that needed to be filled. As she sat looking at the pages, she realized that the book mirrored the way she had managed to get through each of the tragedies that had come her way: one small space at a time. 

“All you have to do is pick up a pencil and start somewhere,” Derman says. “And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the lines, out of the lines; it doesn’t matter what color you choose. Just start.” 
Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.

Related Articles


Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In