WCCC Healthcare Management & Medical Law Instructor Joanne Coleman went through a challenging medical journey six years ago. Never having been a smoker or having any respiratory issues, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with lung cancer. While she made it through and back to good health, she was strengthened on this journey through support from her personal and work families, and by journaling throughout her experience. Mrs. Coleman is now a published author of “One Day in May,” based on her journals.
“When I was diagnosed in May of 2014, one of my students gave me a beautiful leather-bound journal and said that she thought I might want to journal through my lung cancer experience,” she said. “That was the beginning of my journaling. Every day after that I recorded my feelings - sad, happy, dark, desperate - in that journal. The memoir is really a roller coaster ride of emotions that one would feel when diagnosed with lung cancer out of the blue, especially when I was healthy and a nonsmoker.”
She talked with friend and mentor Dr. William Felker, her professor at Capital University and also a publisher, about her story, and he encouraged her after seeing her rough partial manuscript of her memoir. “He told me what a powerful tool it would be for people going through such anguish and said I should get it published and that he would do it for me,” she said. “So, with the support of my husband and children and Bill Felker, my professor/mentor/friend, I agreed to give it to him to publish.”
Mrs. Coleman has been a teacher for many years, and prior to that, she worked in hospital administration. Being an author is both exciting and strange, she said.
“It's very surreal to see my name on a book cover,” she said. “The contents of that book reflect so many intimate emotions and the book is really a description of the fight between trust and fear, anxiety and peace, and finding God during the most tumultuous and frightening time of my life, and a time of my faith. It incorporates all the feelings that I experienced emotionally, physically, and most important, spiritually that brought me to today. I have never been the same person after being diagnosed. As I describe in the book, it strips you spiritually and leaves you vulnerable to many facets of emotions. I felt that by sharing, I could possibly help someone gain their faith while going through something devastating as a cancer diagnosis. I hope that it will.”
She wrestled with the decision to publish the book and bare her most intimate feelings to the world. “I state in the Prologue of the book that I didn't really want to publish it, but the decision to do so came with a great cost - that of showing my real, and very raw, emotions to the public,” she said. “I think that is the power of the book because each time I read it, which I've had to do many times to edit, I am literally brought to tears because I can't even remember writing it. It was definitely divine inspiration.”
“One Day in May” is available for purchase on Amazon.