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Living Now: Using reflective writing to share your transplant experience

Medicine may heal the body, but art and writing can heal the soul. Reflective writing and creating art about your experience with cancer may help you cope with your recovery. For many people, writing and art provides a way to express deep thoughts and feelings about an experience or make meaning out of an experience.

Reflective writing can help you and others

For Ted, a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) recipient, he decided to write about his transplant experience for personal reasons. “I had come to a point in my life where the memories of and lessons learned from my struggle began to fade. I did not want them to. Revisiting those days and subsequently writing about them seems to be the best way to ‘re-ground’ myself,” says Ted.

But did you know what you write and create can also help future patients and caregivers? Wendy, a transplant recipient, blogged throughout her experience. She says, “To this day, I meet people who tell me how much my honesty through my journey helped them with what they were going through. I did it for me, but it helped others.”

NMDPSM created a beautiful resource for patients and caregivers— the Blood and Marrow Transplant Journeys book. This collection captures the depth of the BMT experience and offers hope for you and your family as you embark on the transplant process. Through 6 chapters and a foreword by Suleika Jaouad, you may connect with others who’ve been there in the midst of isolation and illness. 

Writing can stir up emotions

It’s not uncommon to feel sad or down when you reflect on and write about your experience. “I was hesitant to cast myself back into the darkest days of my life,” says Ted. But it can bring good feelings, too. Ted notes that he “also wanted to relive the hope, the joy, and the love” from that time as well. NMDP staff can support you and help you cope with the feelings that may be stirred up as you reflect on your transplant journey. Get one-on-one support.