Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Review--HEALING WITH WORDS by Diana Raab

Author Diana Raab
HEALING WITH WORDS: A WRITER’S CANCER JOURNEY is a compassionate and wry self-help memoir written by award-winning prolific author, nurse, teacher, and poet Diana Raab. At the age of forty-seven, she found her life shattered by a diagnosis of early breast cancer. Five years later she faced the same diagnosis by another, seemingly unrelated and incurable cancer—multiple myeloma. The book includes the author’s experiences, reflections, poetry and journal entries, in addition to writing prompts for readers to express their own personal story.

Raab’s journals have provided a safe haven and platform to validate and express her feelings. Raab views journaling to be like a daily vitamin—in that it heals, detoxifies, and is essential for optimal health.

Cancer is always a serious subject. One in eight women will be hit by breast cancer. Three of the four people in my immediate family have been diagnosed with some type of cancer. It’s a stunning diagnosis, especially when it happens to someone you love. My husband had a rapidly spreading squamous cell cancer in the tissue between his lips and nose, for which he had invasive Mohr surgery. I was diagnosed last year with thyroid cancer and believe I’m a survivor, too, although I'm still in treatment. Our diagnoses didn’t concern us nearly as much as that of our eldest daughter just over five years ago when we learned she had Paget’s, a particularly rapid and invasive type of breast cancer. Fortunately, after learning of a friend's battle with Paget's, our daughter vetoed her primary physician’s suggestion she wait for six months to have another mammogram before doing anything and sought immediate help with her friend's surgeon. The surgeon performed a needle biopsy, which was positive. and surgery followed shortly afterwards. The oncology radiologist told our daughter that in six months her cancer would have been through her chest wall. She is now a five-year survivor, though still vigilant. Our three shared diagnoses are why our younger daughter already has cancer insurance. With her immediate family plus aunts, great aunts, grandfather, and others having had cancer, she feels she can't afford not to be prepared.

Which brings me to one of Diana Raab’s points. Ms Rabb shows readers how to take control of their health. We must know the signs and be responsible for our treatment. This book will also benefit anyone who has felt victimized by cancer. She is a nurse, writer, teacher, and married mother of three who shares her ups and downs, her challenges, and her success.

Can writing help heal? According to Ms Raab, it can and did help her. In concise, compassionate terms, she insists that writing has the power to release bottled-up emotions. Most of us strive to appear strong in the face of adversity, but those pent-up or pushed down feelings must be released in order to heal. Journaling fascilitates that healing process. Faced with a double whammy from cancer within five years, Diana Raab shows readers how to use their painful diagnosis to renew and change them in unique ways.

Another plus for Ms Raab is that she donates her proceeds from her book to Mayo Clinic. What a nice thing to do!
Return on Monday, September 27, for Diana Raab’s visit to this blog. Comment today or on the 27th to be entered in a drawing for a print copy of HEALING WITH WORDS. Please leave your email with your comment so I can contact you if you win.

And remember—get those mammies grammed!


L. Dove said...

I too am a cancer survivor having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. I would love a copy of the book.

Diana M. Raab said...

Thank you for the stellar review. I hope my book will help many women.

Here's to your health,
Diana Raab