Health & Wellness

Writing: A Form of Therapy for Cancer Patients

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Feb. 01, 2012
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Written By: Rachel Gilner,
February 1, 2012

Rare cancers such as mesothelioma can be difficult to treat and even more difficult to cope with. There are many forms of alternative therapies patients use to feel better with mesothelioma and other diseases, one that has not been mentioned was writing. Research shows that expressive writing or journal therapy is a great alternative to other treatments to improve health.

I came across Joyce Rothman’s blog, Making Sense of It All and was immediately drawn in by her unique writing style and message she was sending. She has been journaling for 28 years and is currently battling stage 3a lung cancer. Joyce currently writes about her experiences, feelings, and family. It was on honor to get her insider perspective on writing.

Why did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was pretty young to help me deal with early childhood trauma. I was fourteen at the time and writing became a way for me to sort out my feelings because I had the hardest time verbalizing them. Talking didn’t give me the insight or direction that I needed and writing helped me to get clearer. I’ve been writing off and on through the years but consistently since August 2008.

I was telling a wonderfully wise, intuitive energy healer how much writing helped me and that I had learned to tap into an inner source of wisdom that gave me answers, guidance, comfort and love that my conscious mind didn’t seem to have. She suggested that if I could find help by writing and going within, maybe I should write to help other people too. I committed to writing every day for 40 days and haven’t stopped since.

What do you write about?

I write about whatever is going on in my life but since I was diagnosed with both pancreatic and lung cancer in July 2010, I’ve been writing mainly about that. My gut feelings told me that if I was open and honest about what was happening to me and not afraid to reveal the nitty gritty stuff, that other people might relate and find something that will help them cope too. I realized as I kept going, that writing gave me courage, kept me hoping and helped lessen fear.

How often do you write?

I write my blog and newspaper column weekly but I also write during the week for myself. I hope to publish a book sometime in the near future.

When did you realize that writing would help you deal with your new emotions?

I learned that when I first started but I also found that as time went on, I trusted that the words that were coming out were healing me in a way that I couldn’t heal myself. I really believe that it’s a way to connect with God, divine guidance, Higher Power, the Universe, Spirit, Angels or whatever you want to call this energy of love. It’s making the whole experience of dealing with cancer as good as it can be. I’m learning so much about the good side of life and actually think that I’m in a better place emotionally than I’ve ever been.

How do you feel your blog as helped your community?

People tell me that I put into words, thoughts that they hadn’t been able to express, but that they share with me. And in reading about what’s happening to me and how I’m getting through it, they are able to help themselves also. This is the most incredible part of sharing my writing. I’ve always had a dream that I’d find something in life that would have such a profound effect on me, in a positive way that I could share it and it would help other people too. And… this is really my dream come true. Who would have thought that having cancer would make it happen? Certainly not me, but I’m very grateful anyhow.

Joyce Rothman lung cancer survivor

We would like to thank Joyce for sharing this valuable information with our community. For more information about her you can visit her blog Making Sense of It All. Joyce is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist through Gatehouse News Service. Her weekly column, “Lessons from Cancer” is found online and in print through their publications. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, so we are always looking for new ways patients can feel better and improve their health. For more information on alternative therapies visit

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