Healing With Words –The healing Story of Loss and Triumph
Book Reviewer: Rick Ritter
Diana Raab’s new book Healing With Words provides an interactive way for readers to explore their own cancer journeys as well as to better understand the daily struggles their loved ones may be experiencing.
First and foremost, it is Diana’s personal story of loss and triumph through two different types of cancer. She gives a raw and unvarnished account of living with a devastating disease, one day at a time, as well as sharing the love and support that her family provides her with. Along the way, she includes not just diary entries but poems and writing prompts to challenge the reader. Appendices include specific steps for handling the careful approach to the emotionally charged areas that will provide the healing work. Finally, it concludes with an appendix listing the support groups for many types of cancer patients and their families. Words gave Diana the strength she needed to go on with her recovery and she believes her approach will be broadly helpful to others as well.
I selected this book to review since I am in remission currently from prostate and skin cancer so even though the cancers are different, it seemed important to read and perhaps even challenge myself to see if this book/story would resonate; it did. Secondly, I selected this book since, as a therapist, I have promoted writing for over 30 years to my clients, who have mostly been trauma-stricken clients, and I know firsthand the powerful healing aspects of writing for clients and myself. Diana Raab is a courageous person of extraordinary measure. Her writings touched a deep place within me even though I have been in remission now for almost 5 years.
Just as her being a nurse was a plus and a minus, I also tracked with being a therapist and the advantages and disadvantages that brought to the table where cancer was served. I found myself experiencing a range of feelings as I read through the chapters and considered the questions asked; some subtle and some not so subtle, but all beneficial. Even though I experienced many orthopedic surgeries, it isn’t a substitute preparation for dealing with cancer. I also realized that going through the process alone—literally by myself—left scars as well that Ms Raab brought clarity to as I read her book. I also resonated with “the new me” concept that she explored. Her book may have prompted me to write a piece about “What men don’t get as they traverse cancer’s slippery path” which will be featured in Recovering The Self, July 2011 issue — Focus on Disease.
It is obvious, based on the reading of Healing with Words, that writing is a powerful tool of healing especially as exercised by Diana Raab.
About Rick Ritter
Rick Ritter, MSW, a disabled veteran and social worker, has worked with more than a hundred clients who have experienced physical loss and disability. His workbook Coping With Physical Loss and Disability is a distillation of the very best questions and exercises to draws clients towards re-taking control of their lives. Ritter has competed in international events for disabled athletes.