Could a bladder cancer treatment become a vaccine for COVID-19?

The pull of belonging is strong. The sense that your own people are more important than other people. Others vs. Ours. Especially in a time of fear. BCG is a vaccine for TB, used worldwide historically, but since TB has been controlled in some countries, limited to a much smaller number of countries today. India... Read more »

A Reminder: Cancer is not a gift and neither is COVID

On the first night I joined my cancer support group, back in 2012, a member of the group told me that cancer was a gift. I was crying at that moment, but stopped on a dime. I was speechless. Not long after, I discovered the New York Times’ feature, ”Picture Your Life After Cancer,” a... Read more »

Acceptance during a pandemic

My daughter spent the past couple of weeks at our house, but she headed back to her home for the rest of the shelter in place today. For the few days she was with us, which seemed like months when we lived through them, it felt like we were safe as a family. There were... Read more »

Cancer, coronavirus, and crisis: the privilege of small things

It’s not that the small things don’t matter. Oh, they do. It’s just that sometimes the siren is screaming so loudly that you can’t enjoy the sound of the thumping paws of cats on the floor above you chasing each other. On some days the small things are the only thing. Like chilled half-n-half swirling... Read more »

Cancer changes how I feel about death

Today Facebook notified me of someone’s birthday. Sadly, she died several years ago. My first reaction was to brighten up when I got the notification. She had been a student—the hard working, teachable, interesting kind. The best kind. But then the cloud descended, the sadness, the anger about cancer and all it’s stolen from this... Read more »

Anxiety and hospitals

Nothing triggers my anxiety more exquisitely than a hospital. My husband is giving a talk at Northwestern today and I drove him into the city because the Metra has ground to a halt. A fire alarm went off at Millennium Station prompting sprinklers and evacuations, but thankfully there was no actual fire. There is a... Read more »

Letting the train crash

I’ve been thinking about loss and failure quite a bit over the holidays. Like many folks I guess, I don’t like to see the people I care about struggling, whether it’s because of their own weaknesses, because of a harm done to them, because of life playing out as life does, or some combination of... Read more »

In memoriam

In memoriam
My mother died 27 years ago today, on October 14, 1992. She was 51 years old and she often told us that she didn’t want her gravestone to say, “She was a good cook.” Still, she was a good cook. She was an artist. She was a reading teacher. She was a reader. She was... Read more »

Everyone's a writer and all writers are worthwhile

Many years ago I had to have my car towed. The driver kindly offered to drop me off at the university where I taught. As we drove, he asked, “So what do you teach?” “English, mostly writing courses,” I replied. He mulled this for a minute, and then asked, “But do you really want to?”... Read more »

Feeling welcome in the land of cancer

Feeling welcome in the land of cancer
I am on the shuttle to the Westin in Baltimore. It’s an airport hotel and most everyone headed there is going to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network’s annual cancer summit. Except for the driver of the shuttle and the other passenger, mysteriously without luggage. The driver asks us about the cancer summit and my neighbor... Read more »