Just Start Writing

As my friend Marykay told me, I need to just start writing.  I can tell that writing is very therapeutic for me right now so here I go… almost 2 weeks ago today I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  What the F#%*#???  Even writing these words is so surreal to me. Can this really be true? There is still a small part of me that doesn’t believe it and maybe that is a good thing.  I’ve noticed that there is a fierce part of me that wants to protect my identity as the healthy, strong young woman.  This is how I view myself so I shall maintain this identity through this process as that is surely what will see me through.  I remember my sister telling me about a billboard that had an image of the overwhelm and chaos one feels when receiving a cancer diagnosis.  I think this is probably true for any diagnosis.  And here I sit as a mental health therapist dealing with diagnoses quite often, and my heart is filled with such compassion for the way this news can rock one’s world.  For me, it was a rupture, a complete fissure of trust.

What does this mean?  How could my body betray me?  How will I ever feel safe again?

This is trauma.  I am a trauma therapist.  Crazy.  I understand that this this news disrupts my sense of myself and my sense of safety in the world.  And healing and moving through this will come with integration.  How do I make sense of this diagnosis?  How can I integrate it into who I am?  One way is for me to acknowledge my role in advocating for my health and getting this mammogram in the first place.  As my friends and family continually point out, I know myself on a deep level and I am so thankful to have caught this early…so very grateful.  And I use my health and strength that I work so hard to maintain every day to move through this.  I always say that practicing during the normal times makes us ready to use skills when stress or crisis hits.  Well – bingo!



10 thoughts on “Just Start Writing

  1. Hi Erika! I am so happy that you are writing. I think creativity as an outlet is so important through transitions and trauma. For me, poetry is helpful and writing in general. Sometimes I choose poetry because I can’t find the words to communicate what I want in a literal way. It’s all about the flow… and I know you know all about that flow.
    If you ever need help posting here on WordPress (and I imagine there will be days when you do need this), I am your girl. I’m the WordPress Queen. Keep it up. Thanks for sharing yourself.

  2. Hey Erika. Thanks for writing and sharing this with us all. It’s a great way for me to feel connected to you and to know even a tad of the many logistics and emotions you are facing. Reading your first post, I’m struck by the desire to protect your identity as a healthy, strong young woman. My first thought when reading that was, Well, cancer doesn’t have anything to do with that. Erika will always be healthy and strong! In this, I was thinking of you first emotionally and psychologically. Maybe that is a reflection of our jobs, but regardless of what your body is doing, and regardless of natural, heavy, labile emotions, you are healthy and strong. You are one of the healthiest, strongest, and most vibrant people I know. Your moving through this, in whatever way your body needs to, is proof of that. Cheers to you!

    • Thank you Amy! I am really feeling strong and healthy….just a bizarre juxtaposition to wrap my head around what is happening in my body. It feels “outside of me” and I guess this is good as soon it will be outside of me and I will get to reconnect with my body anew! Love you my wise friend…

  3. If I could say what Amy said as eloquently as she did….that’s exactly how I feel about you sweet sis. As shocking as this news is I know without a shadow of a doubt that you will and are finding all of the golden nuggets on this journey. You are an inspiration to all of us. I love you soooo!

  4. Hi Erika. This is Kim. I’ve worked with Holly for several years now. I hope you don’t mind that I also follow this journey. I will pray, scream , and kick things in your honor. You are a beautiful inspiration to so many.

    All my love,


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