Remission

Remission: a diminution of the seriousness or intensity of disease or pain; a temporary recovery. -Oxford Languages Treatment: 6 cycles of R-CHOP, 15 fractions/30 Gy of radiation, pug loveOriginal tumor size: 9.8 X 10.4 X 15.4 cmResidual tumor size: 10.2 X 7.2 X 8.5 cm On Monday, I learned I’m in remission, and I’ve hadContinue reading “Remission”

Multitudes

I make an eggnog on the strong sideand put together a playlistof unedited fuck-you songs,the darker the better,which makes me think aboutthose who’ve been alarmedwhen I’ve cussed or been anythingbut cheerful. For some reason,I’ve always been labeleda goody-goody, a pure soul, whateverthe hell that means. A while ago I realized some peoplehave never had toContinue reading “Multitudes”

The Bad Guy

Tomorrow is my birthday, which means I’ve survived a year since being diagnosed. Despite the best efforts of Trump and his cult, COVID-19 and pandemic-deniers and anti-maskers, and, oh yeah!, cancer, I’m alive. For now. Yesterday, I finally had the shot of whiskey I was going to celebrate remission with, since remission seems a fairytaleContinue reading “The Bad Guy”

Waiting

* for my time to turn crimson, to curl in on itself and drop or else grow plump and green and turn back toward the sun for remission or recurrence or RIP for casual conversations, uncovered a hug from mom and dad or a friend or even a kind nurse for infection or a vaccineContinue reading “Waiting”

The Big Cs

This week, my sister was asked to choose between her career and my safety. As I approach my sixth cycle of chemo, stressors like this coupled with exhaustion and bearing witness to the selfishness and ignorance of anti-maskers have made me prickly, chiseling my words into sharp edges. Right now, America, you need sharp words,Continue reading “The Big Cs”

Black Lives Matter

As protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd continue across the country and world, as name after name gets added to the list of Black people murdered by police, as the number of lynchings increase and are dismissed by police as suicides, as police resign rather than hold each other and the system thatContinue reading “Black Lives Matter”

The Back and Forth

“With cancer, it is rarely a matter of either-or; there is seldom a choice between hope and despair. Patients face both simultaneously, or serially.”- Azra Raza, The First Cell How much can a heart take, figuratively but also literally? This is a question that has floated up to me through the fog over and overContinue reading “The Back and Forth”

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”