Jane is a ten-year survivor of a very rare form of cancer Myelodysplastic Syndrome. She has enjoyed several exciting careers including a librarian, counselor, teacher, and writer. She loves to write about surviving cancer, overcoming hearing loss, and her hearing ear service dog, Sita.
We all need to know how to take care of ourselves, succeed in balancing our lives, have quality of life and not feel guilty!
I love to write — for me it is therapeutic and sort of like breathing. Therefore, I have written a lot of articles for CURE because for me, it is, well — fun!
CURE has a wonderful Facebook page. I follow it closely because I learn so much about different types of cancer, including mine. I can also make encouraging comments to other writers and there are wonderful contributors to this unique magazine!
Another reason I check Facebook is to see how many “hits” I get on my articles. I don’t do this for ego purposes (well, maybe a little). However, I want to follow which type of articles the audience likes so I can oblige readers with information that helps them. I have found some stunning results!
I work diligently to write accurate and helpful articles on topics I know are pertinent to cancer, such as anemia, peripheral neuropathy, side effects of chemo and cancer-related insomnia. These articles, which I will call “research,” aren’t easy to write. They are not research studies with participants, but a compilation of articles from reputable agencies which do conduct studies, such as Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Cancer Treatment Center of America, CURE and many others. I have to carefully check and recheck my facts, list my sources, include links and make sure I am conveying the correct information from the right source. The editors at CURE double check and contact me if there are any questions or inconsistencies. I appreciate this, because we all feel it is important to share accurate information.
I find it easier to write “hopeful” articles, where I share what has helped me on my cancer journey. I want these to help others. These include topics such as dealing with grief, how hope is around the corner for new treatments and questioning if I will reach my goal.
One agency, Aplastic Anemia & MDS International (AAMDS), has been pulling out an article once a month written by me for their newsletter. The senior editor told me the readers they have want the research type of articles more than the psychological. The reason for this may be after a person is diagnosed with a specific and rare type of cancer such as MDS, people are constantly searching for new treatments, cures and doctors to help. Occasionally I receive welcome messages through my website from individuals wanting more information.
However, I also feel we survivors need reassurance. Honestly, I still feel guilty for not doing what I did before my diagnosis. The articles that I read and that “speak” to me are ones where writers talk about finding balance and trying to parcel time to get the most important things done. We all struggle with this, but when our health is at stake it is even harder.
I truly realized this when I browsed through and saw the article I wrote titled “The Art of Napping” had 135 Facebook "likes"! I compared this to “Anemia and Cancer,” which received 43. When trying to analyze why, it began to make sense for me. These two conditions are intertwined. Because my blood counts are constantly low and with the chemo in my body, I feel exhausted and need naps! But some magazines and writers leave out the psychological component and only talk about the causes of a condition such as anemia. What we really need is reassurance that it is OK to take naps! And I truly have learned this from my “furry friends”: my cat and dog, who drop down and nap every afternoon whether I do or not. Sometimes animals are smarter than people.
More and more oncologists and researchers are realizing that we all want to live longer, but we want to live better. My oncologist I met a couple of months ago at the Cleveland Clinic impressed me when he said, “I want you to live a quality of life, not just length!”
So, we writers should continue to tell our readers it is OK to nap and not to beat yourself up. Napping enhances the quality of life!
I will continue to write both types of articles. I will do some research, but also talk about balance and making life better. The wonderful thing is CURE Today publishes both types of information and knows how important the psychological is too. We all need to know how to take care of ourselves, succeed in balancing our lives, have quality of life and not feel guilty! It is a huge undertaking and one we all work every single day to achieve. We also know that some days are better than others!