It’s Hard to Get Into the Spirit of the Holidays

This week, the university I both attend and teach at returns from Thanksgiving break, and I’m coming to terms with the realization that I’m afraid of the coming holiday season. This isn’t a new phenomenon; I’ve had a lot of bad luck in my life at the holidays. When I…

My Invisible Illness Is Valid

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “But you don’t look sick,” or “But at least you look good,” I’d be a millionaire by now. Can you relate? Living with a chronic, invisible illness that ravaged my lungs for 30 years tells me otherwise. I heard…

Little Books That Communicate Big Ideas About Health

When I was a kid, at the start of every school year my mother would pay a visit to my younger sister Mary’s new teacher to share information about Mary’s cystic fibrosis. One of the items she would share was a “Super Cystic and Fabulous Fran Fibrosis” book. These…

The Pros and Cons of Disclosing My Disability

I don’t remember why I said what I said to the little girl I had just met on the playground. “I have something called cystic fibrosis.” Maybe I was coughing or short of breath. Or maybe we were exchanging secrets in the tunnel bridge. I don’t remember what game we…

The Miracle of Watching My Brother Run

Lung transplant is a major topic for families of people with cystic fibrosis. In a recent column, I talked about what it was like when my brother, Bradley, spent several weeks in the ICU. The result of that stay turned out to be that he needed a…

‘Blow, Nicole, Blow’: My Journey With PFTs

“Are you ready for your pulmonary function test, Nicole?” the respiratory therapist (RT) would ask. My answer was always no, I was never ready for the test. In fact, I’d panic over it for at least a week, clinging to the possibility that my lung function somehow had…

Featured Column

Words Between Worlds: Improving Cross-class Communication in Medical Spaces

A banner for Kate Delany's "Breathe and Believe" column that depicts a pair of lungs with flowers blossoming from them.
Columnist Kate Delany investigates how communication between patients, family members, and doctors is often shaped by class origins.

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