May is bladder cancer awareness month. Please give.

Any of you reading this who have cancer or whose loved one has cancer know all too well the relentless march of this disease. Even when it doesn’t kill you, it carves away its pound of flesh. From a few months after I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012 until 2017, I was a... Read more »

All is vanity--learning new beliefs

I was raised in a conservative, evangelical, Southern Baptist household. At the age of seven, I learned about Abraham and Isaac and prayed at night that my parents wouldn’t sacrifice me to a God who seemed, even to a seven year old, just the tiniest bit criminally insane. I must have been about 10 when... Read more »

Nature, red in tooth and claw

Nature, red in tooth and claw
Though according to Wikipedia, “Nature, red in tooth and claw” is not original to Tennyson’s poem “In Memoriam,” it is surely the most famous instance of the phrase. The poem was written in memory of the poet’s friend, who died of an aneurysm. I have had endless conversations over the years about the best/worst ways... Read more »
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When doctors move

Dr. Gary Steinberg, the Bruce and Beth White Family Professor and Director of Urologic Oncology at the University of Chicago, is leaving Illinois for New York University this month. His leaving is triggering anxiety, confusion, sorrow and, I’m sure, a lot of other emotions among his patients. He is not my doctor, though I’ve met... Read more »

Learning to not be my own worst enemy

Learning to not be my own worst enemy
I am my own worst enemy. Maybe you’re familiar with the syndrome. I spend so much time in self-flagellation that there’s little time left over to make progress or to find comfort. My husband warned me about the ice on the sidewalks in our neighborhood, hidden by several inches of snow cover. But I forgot... Read more »

Of triggers and memories: the Kavanaugh nomination and a flood of memories

I’d like to introduce you to David, Marshall, and a doctor whose name I’ve long suppressed. I’ll start with David because that story is easier to tell, at least it is now, some 25 years since I met him. He was the graduate advisor at the university where I completed my PhD. From the very... Read more »
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Somehow the light gets in: cancerversary number 6

Six years ago today I did’t know that I had cancer. The world looked different then. It’s hard to explain just how. I suppose my field of vision was wider, more encompassing. The future stretched comfortably forward. The world looked familiar. Of course, even then, I knew something was wrong. I had massive amounts of... Read more »

Natural Woman and the power of love

Natural Woman and the power of love
Aretha Franklin’s death from pancreatic cancer last Thursday triggered in many of us the desire to hear her sing. I don’t listen to her regularly, although I love her voice. Because I couldn’t find my Aretha CD and have never uploaded it to my computer, I went in search of the best album to download. I... Read more »

Catching sight of the view outside the window

No one is indispensable, they say. It’s probably true. Life certainly goes on when we leave and when we are left. It’s one of the hard lessons that grief teaches. For those left behind, the problem is what to do with the empty space. After my mom died, a grief counselor told me that a... Read more »
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This is what it feels like to have a panic attack

I am in Florida with friends right now. They are friends who are “chosen family.” Being here feels safe and warm and nurturing. I’m helping my friend’s daughter learn to sew. I am not an ideal choice for the role, but I’d throw myself in front of a bus for this kid, so I’m doing my... Read more »