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Brenda's Story

Brenda, who took part in our digital storytelling programme with Macmillan Cancer Support, shares her experience of the project

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Our Digital Storytelling project with Macmillan Cancer Support offers online workshops to help people affected by cancer tell their stories. In her digital story 'From Rage to Sage' Brenda talks about the anger cancer caused her and coming to terms with her feelings.

When first asked to make my digital story about my cancer I was in a state of shock because it was years since I had written anything like this. But I hoped sharing my story might help other women with cancer, so I put my inner critic to bed for a while. The biggest benefit I got personally was the chance to look inwards at myself and try to understand the feelings I had went through and why.

In my digital story I tell of the awful feeling of anger I had at the cancer, the doctors, the system and myself. We were told we could write about anything at all, and I was shocked at first that it was anger that came up for me. I will be 80 in a few weeks' time and was reared in Northern Ireland to hard working, strict but loving parents who taught me to take whatever comes as your fate, get on with it and be thankful for whatever life gives. Of course, living as long as I have, my own beliefs grew and changed over the years. I know that what I had been taught then was for that time and I am in a different world. I am now at peace and doing well.

The other benefit was to help give new cancer patients some hope in the midst of such terrible news. Even in some small way. I had to look at my anger and work through it to realise that it was okay to feel the way I did. I kept a journal every day from when I got the news to months after I was well over my operation. I drew lots of stuff from these sometime manic scribblings to the calmness of days when I was feeling good, believe me they were of an even number, good and bad.

I still wonder today if I hadn't agreed to do the digital story for Macmillan what my life would be now. I did some research into the effects of body feelings, getting a few books out of the library. I found that different feelings can relate to different parts of the body. If one holds on to things it has to go somewhere and can cause unnecessary suffering. I was able to see that there was nothing wrong with being angry. I came from a scary place not understanding what was happening to a feeling of letting go through the experience of digital storytelling. I found great acceptance and peace afterwards and would encourage anyone to try it.

I was so glad to have had the opportunity to create my story and to tell others about it. I hope my words will help others do the same and be assured the benefits are many. I feel proud to have shared a little with whoever reads this and am delighted to have had the chance. I give thanks to the great support from Chris and Morag from the Scottish Book trust and Macmillan.

Watch Brenda's digital story

Watch more stories on our digital storytelling website(this will open in a new window).

Get involved

We've partnered with Macmillan Cancer Support to offer free, online digital storytelling workshops for people affected by cancer. Whether you’ve had a diagnosis or known someone who has, our storytelling workshops are a free, safe way to try out storytelling in a small group.

Find out more about the project

Help us deliver life-changing reading and writing programmes with the people that need them the most. Become a Scottish Book Trust supporter, today(this will open in a new window).