Writing about the cancer journey and sharing your story is vulnerable and challenging, but the experience is often cathartic and necessary.
I was recently asked by a classmate why I choose to share my story, and it made me think back to how this chapter in my life all began. When I was first approached about sharing my story, I literally laughed out loud. Fast forward four-and-a-half years, and dozens of articles for CURE® and several speaking engagements later, I can’t imagine not sharing my story.
Initially, I did not think that my story was worth sharing. I felt that I was the caregiver and so when I thought about a “cancer story”, I had always assumed that it would be a cancer patient who was doing the sharing. It was not until I talked to some close friends that I was encouraged to at least submit one article.
When I sat down to write out my thoughts, they flowed and flowed. I had journaled throughout my sister’s battle with cancer, but I had never shared those thoughts with others. This writing felt different since others would actually read what I was writing. I analyzed my word choices, and even when done with my first article, I did not think that it would ever be published. That day, I ended up having more to say than I thought because I wrote twelve pieces that would become my first twelve articles published.
At times, writing is hard. Reliving some of the harder parts of cancer is not always easy. And even though I am protected as I type behind the keys of my computer screen, it can still feel like an incredibly vulnerable process to go through. I am sharing my weaknesses, my strengths and sharing a part of myself through my articles with others. Sharing my experience with cancer is not always easy, but I cannot imagine a day when I stop doing so.
For me, it was so much less about a writing style, but rather it is about that I was wanting to share. I wanted others to know all that I wish I had known when cancer entered our lives. I want them to know that others had been where they are- no matter where in the cancer journey they were at. I want them to know that no matter how isolating cancer can feel that they were not alone.
I am incredibly lucky that I was published, and I continue to be grateful for the opportunities that sharing my story had presented. Above everything, I am most grateful to have met those who have read my story and related to me. To hear that reading my story helped others in any way means that my initial goal was and is being met through my writings and that motivates me to keep sharing— to keep writing.