Breaking Through

“Which part of you will you let live again?”-Mary Lambert, “Sum of Our Parts” “Let ’em laugh while they can,let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind.I have been to the movies, I have seen how it ends,and the joke’s on them.”-Brandi Carlile, “The Joke” The kittens arrived in early spring. Their mother birthedContinue reading “Breaking Through”

Save Your Prayers

This is not a story about the loss of faith or its restoration (sorry, not sorry). This is the story of awakening. Of autonomy. Of going from closed to open. This is a story of reclamation. I was raised in a religious household. We called ourselves born-again Christians. My mom was a Sunday school teacher.Continue reading “Save Your Prayers”

Broken System

In 2017, my life, and the life of my sister, dramatically shifted, and it had nothing to do with cancer. We’d planned to visit our parents that Christmas. They’d visited us the year before, and we hadn’t seen them since. We decided to make the 14-hour drive rather than fly because our old pug couldn’tContinue reading “Broken System”

What Cancer Takes: A Trans Perspective

“when I introduce myselfI want to write in pauses with the momentsthat people see me and they see mewholethe moments they pause with mein unison, solidarityof my true identity…” – Fabian Romero, from “My Name,” Troubling the Line “you try to remember the first time you said i’m sorrywhen you should have said fuck you.Continue reading “What Cancer Takes: A Trans Perspective”

Privilege, Ableism, and Cancer Etiquette

When I finally shared the news that I have cancer, I was touched by the outpouring of love and support from friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers. Their open, generous responses gave me strength. And I have so many heroes: my sister, who really is #1; my friends who write me lovely letters; Jane, whoContinue reading “Privilege, Ableism, and Cancer Etiquette”

The Long, Long Road to an Imperfect Diagnosis

Total time between when the mediastinal mass was found and I received a “definitive” diagnosis: 130 days Procedures and scans to get there: 7 chest x-rays, 2 CTs, 2 full-body PET scans, 1 MRI, 1 FNA/bronchoscopy, 1 CT-guided core needle biopsy, 1 bronchoscopy/thoracotomy What I owe (not all procedures have been added to the billContinue reading “The Long, Long Road to an Imperfect Diagnosis”

"When did all this start?"

Medicine, I said, begins with storytelling. Patients tell stories to describe illness; doctors tell stories to understand it. – Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of all Maladies An impossible question, but each new doctor asks it. A question I’ve answered over and over again since they found the grapefruit-sized mass in my chest almost five monthsContinue reading “"When did all this start?"”