REBIRTH: A Leukemia Survivor's Journal of Healing during Chemotherapy, Bone Marrow Transplant, and Recovery
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
When Deborah Ludwig was diagnosed with leukemia, one of her first thoughts after ‘I’m going to die’ was that ‘I must do something positive with this experience.’ As someone who had been journal writing for eleven years, she decided that chronicling her experience then sharing it would be her way to help others. Empowering one’s self during adverse circumstances is the core message of Rebirth.
Rebirth chronicles Deborah’s battle with leukemia, beginning with diagnosis, continuing through chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant, and ending during the recovery period. Medical information about leukemia is included and medical terminology is defined in layman’s terms. However, the major focus of her story is the emotional and spiritual journey.
Throughout the years, Deborah’s journals have not only been repositories for capturing life events, but have also been powerful tools for goal-setting, dealing with problems, finding solutions, and for healing. Her journal was a constant companion during the leukemia treatment period. She faced fears, explored emotions, and expressed hopes for the future in those pages as well as wrote about prayers, affirmations, and guided imagery and meditation techniques she utilized.
Journaling has always been (and continues to be) an inexpensive, effective self-therapy tool* for Deborah, and it definitely was in 2004. An archeological dig into her psyche enabled her to confront past hurts and resentments—some decades old—to which she had been clinging. This exploration allowed her to recognize how detrimental this clinging had been to her overall well-being. Life-altering experiences have a way of forcing self-reflection and re-evaluation, and complete healing involves the body, mind, and spirit.
This book also touches upon Deborah’s sister Barbara’s journey. Barbara was not only Deborah’s primary caregiver (by geographical default) but also her bone marrow donor, which was complicated because Barbara was pregnant with her second child. Pregnancy is thought to be an absolute contraindication to bone marrow/stem cell donation, but the inclusion of Barbara’s courageous and poignant tale disproves this belief. Hers is an extraordinary story, which is why it is included.
Rebirth was written with the intention to help others discover how adversity can be an impetus and opportunity for personal growth, deeper appreciation for their relationships, living more fully in the present, and discovering inner strength they never knew they possessed. No matter what the outcome may be, transforming negatives into positives will always improve the quality of one’s life, and writing is one tool for achieving that quality.
* Please note: Journaling can be an effective and inexpensive self-therapy tool and can be helpful when used to complement professional counseling. However, journaling alone is not a substitute for professional psychological help, should it be necessary.