The idea and act of waiting is universally experienced and understood by everyone. However, waiting can become a particularly poignant phenomenon for people with cancer. The time between a test and a diagnosis, for example, can be all-consuming, leaving us suspended in space or time. The answers we wait for can truly be life-changing.

After cancer, our perspective of the waiting we do in everyday life might also be altered. We might feel a new sense of urgency, deciding to spend less time waiting for tomorrow, or for the “right moment” to get things done or to experience new things. We might decide we just can’t wait for “later” anymore.

Or, we might surprise ourselves by becoming more patient, understanding or accepting of the mundane waiting we find ourselves doing every day; pausing in grocery store check-out lines or heavy traffic might feel so much more trivial than it used to. After all, cancer has taught us what it feels like to REALLY wait… what it feels like to wait for something that matters.

Writing prompt:

Review the piece Spirit of Spring by another cancer survivor, Alysa Cummings. How does her experience of waiting create a positive impact on her life? She talks of finding comfort and joy in being reminded of the potential for life and beauty within the bulbs throughout winter’s cold, dark months, and how she looks forward to the inevitable resilient growth of the bulbs once they are provided with the right conditions – warm, wet earth, and sunshine. Her mindful anticipation of the life housed in dormant canna bulbs feeds her optimism and understanding that even the cold, darkest moments are not forever.

Consider the following:

Why do we wait? What are we waiting for? What role has waiting had in your life or in your experiences with cancer? Have your views on waiting, or your willingness to wait, changed since your diagnosis? In what ways?

Write about waiting. 15-20 minute free-write.

Healing Words: Writing Through Your Cancer Journey

As a cancer survivor, I turn to writing as a way to help me heal. As an oncology nurse, I facilitate an expressive writing group at the Froedtert Clinical Cancer Center with the hope of bringing the therapeutic benefits of writing to other survivors. In a recent issue of ONS Voice, I was once again reminded of the science behind the benefits of expressive writing. We would love to see the writing that the prompt above inspired you to create, so please consider sharing with the Together, We Are Strong community! And of course, if you’d like to stop in and check out a Healing Words session in-person, please call the Small Stones Wellness Center at 414.805.0998 for details.

Happy writing!

About the Author

Marloe's passion for women's health and wellness has intensified with her recent diagnosis of breast cancer, at age 29. Despite her professional experience in oncology, traveling through the cancer world was mystifying and lonely. Finally on the upswing of her treatment, she is continually looking for ways to support others who are facing this incredibly personal journey.

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