Cancer — and Writing

Writing helps overcome cancer, at least the mental attitude toward cancer, which in turn helps overcome the sickness.

On May 10, 1996 my family doctor sat down opposite me. I seldom saw him sit down, so I knew this was something important. “Ed,” he said, “you have cancer.” He said a lot more things about prostate cancer, but I didn’t hear very much of it. My life was over. I had cancer.

For a month I fell into the medical sink and went round and round. I was no longer Ed, I was a Gleason score of 9 and a PSA of 19. I had cancer.

Then a wise nurse introduced me to Bernie Siegel. I read his hopeful books about cancer and I began to write again. I wrote about cancer, everything about it.

After the operation to remove the prostate, my doctor said, “I’m sorry, Ed. We didn’t get it all.” I wrote about that. I wrote and wrote and rewrote. I held nothing back, talking about my decreased sexual life, everything. Slowly I created a new person on paper. This person was a guy who could handle cancer. And to be sure I had to live up to it, I gave the writing to the local paper so everyone could read it.

That was 15 good years ago. Over the years the cancer increased but so did the writing. If you are sick, write. If you are well thank God and write.

PS. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to send you the chapter about cancer from my new book, ONCE A PRIEST


4 responses to “Cancer — and Writing

  1. Thanks for your honesty and vulnerabiltity in your post Ed. I agree that writing is extremely cathartic and I am so glad you have been able to use it in your healing process.

  2. Hi Ed, I came across your web page while searching out some information on starting up a book club for my incarcerated 26 yr old son….he loves to read as do most of the inmates he’s sharing time with. I’ve cut and pasted some information you’ve written about how possitive a book club can be…..for him off your site.
    Thanks for writing
    Merry Christmas, Odette

    • Thanks, Odette. Only two Federal prisons I know about have book clubs, Pacific and Mission, in the Western area. The guys have to endure a few comments about nerds etc, but it isn’t bad. It doesn’t take much to get one going — a supportive staff person and three or four guys. English teachers should certainly support such an idea.

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