Columns

What Jesuit Education Taught Me While I Was Hospitalized

I’m the proud product of a Jesuit education. For eight years, I studied under the tutelage of wise educators who were Jesuits, a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church that was formed by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 16th century. The modern calling card of Jesuit education is…

Pain Is Invisible, but It’s Not Invalid

The pain scale has never made sense to me. It’s probably because I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been in pain. For all the different types I’ve experienced, none are evident in my appearance or demeanor. This adds to the complexities of my life with chronic pain. Throughout…

No, the COVID-19 Pandemic Isn’t Over Yet

On the most recent episode of CBS News’ “60 Minutes,” President Joe Biden declared the pandemic over. I wish I could be writing with champagne in hand and firecrackers crackling at a party that, yes, an endless future of indoor gatherings is in sight. But that image of…

What Is Survivor’s Guilt and How Do We Process It?

There is never an ideal way to encounter survivor’s guilt. It’ll be foisted upon you like a dumpster on your front porch. It’s unnecessary baggage that you didn’t know you’d have to carry, but now it’s here. I think it’s ultimately a selfish feeling, but sometimes we all have selfish…

Living With CF Does Not Make Me a Hero

In a 1993 commercial for Nike, NBA star and 1992 Olympics hero Charles Barkley declared, “I am not a role model.” The commercial was controversial and garnered backlash, but Barkley was right. He wasn’t a role model. Although a lot of the country, myself included, adore Barkley’s ability…

On Writing the CF Experience: Whose Story Is It Anyway?

(Spoiler alert: It’s yours.) A writer friend of mine regularly reminds her memoir students: “If you drive your friend to get an abortion, that’s your story, the story of you driving your friend to get an abortion.” The point of this reminder is that even when you’re not in the…

Telling Healthy Colleagues About My Terminal Illness

I wanted to discuss my relationship with “my expiration date” and its social implications, particularly with healthy people my own age. As of 1997, when I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), I was labeled a terminally ill patient. Sharing that information with acquaintances set the tone for our…