Every patient with cancer has a uniquely personal, complex, and emotional story to tell. Sharing your story can be therapeutic and help you express any suppressed stress, anger, and negative energy. It can motivate you when you’re faced with obstacles, empower you to take control of certain situations, and remind you of how strong and courageous you are.
Sharing your cancer story can give you a better understanding of what’s truly important in life, so you can take full advantage of what is possible. Improving your well-being is just the beginning.
Other people who might have just been diagnosed with cancer or are going through cancer treatment are also likely to find comfort in your story. They may be inspired by your perseverance. They can probably relate to some of your challenges, frustrations, or even humorous observations. They may also learn helpful tips that they can apply to their own journey.
Here are a few suggestions for getting started with sharing your story.
Express Yourself on Your Terms
Some people carry a journal and write down their thoughts, raw emotions, and details of their cancer experience. Some will maintain a private or public blog and add updates a few times a week.
You may prefer to use video or a voice recorder app to capture the nuances of what you feel, and how you show these feelings. When the words are difficult to come by, try to use art to express yourself.
Use the method that works best for you. Write, say, or create what comes naturally. This will help you progress through your storytelling with consistency and authenticity.
Share with Close Confidantes First
As you document and organize your story, consider sharing portions of it, when it feels right, with people who are closest to you. Take note of their reactions and feedback, and apply those to your writing. If you have a relationship with another patient with cancer, remember that nobody can understand and relate to your situation as does someone who has been through a similar experience.
This can help you overcome apprehension about sharing your personal story with people beyond your inner circle. Confiding in those closest to you will also provide you with the support you need to navigate such an intimate and emotional process.
From diagnosis to treatment to cancer recurrence, parts of your cancer story were likely traumatic and can be painful to revisit. Although it’s important to tell the real story and keep it authentic, try to incorporate something positive into your storytelling on a regular basis.
It could be something as significant as finding that you’re cancer-free, or something as small as a word of encouragement from a complete stranger whom you encountered at the hospital. Think of the experiences and observations that brought you joy and relief, or made you smile when you needed it, and weave this positive feeling into your story.
Use Our Resources
CONQUER: the patient voice has created several platforms for patients with cancer and cancer survivors who want to tell their story. The magazine publishes articles from patients with cancer and from other people who are involved in someone’s cancer journey. CONQUER Cam is a video component of CONQUER magazine that provides a video storytelling platform for the oncology community.
If you express yourself through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, or other art forms, we invite you to share your artwork, along with a brief description of how the art relates to your cancer experience.
Several local, regional, and national organizations would also love to hear your story in various formats and media. We encourage patients with cancer to share their story—when the time feels right, with people you love, using a method that is comfortable to you.
You’re likely to reconnect with the strength and hope that helped you deal with the biggest challenge of your life, and you may just inspire others to do the same.