Columns

New Year’s Resolutions for the Chronically Ill

At the start of each new year, I try not to have regrets from the previous year, especially as related to my cystic fibrosis. “Forget about that handful of medication you missed,” I’ll tell myself. Or, “So what if you didn’t stick to your diet!” Then, I’ll watch an old…

How Chronic Illness Affected My Education

In a previous column, I explained that I was diagnosed with mycobacterium abscessus — one of the deadliest infections for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients — in my junior year of college, and how that was one of the many times that my chronic illness affected my education. I was…

Even the Sick Boy Found Peace in Sacrifice

I really did think it’d be my last Christmas. Sure, I was on the lung transplant list, but the doctors said I’d have to wait months before donor lungs became available. I was daily coughing up chunks of green gravel, trapped in a slow suffocation and ending each night wondering…

The Memory of a Therapy Dog Calls to Mind the Comfort of Pets

In the dark days of my sister’s cystic fibrosis-induced respiratory failure and subsequent double-lung transplant, a single moment stands out as a flash of light, and even humor. I was sitting at my sister’s bedside, next to my brother-in-law. We both had our heads bowed, alternating between silence and talking…

Making Plans Amid an Uncertain Future

With the new year looming around the corner, and my school semester crawling to a close, I want to set my sights on all the things I’d like to do next year — attend my first in-person live event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel to…

How to Ask for and Offer Help

A childhood friend whose husband is undergoing treatment for terminal cancer recently posted something on social media that struck me as smart. She thanked people for their concern, but then noted which kinds of offers of help were helpful, and which weren’t. I’ve both received and extended offers…

Finding Peace With My New Body Means Accepting Change

Have you ever heard the phrase “I can’t slow down or I’ll stop?” I’ve always operated that way. I’ve always been accustomed to pushing myself and “sticking it to the man.” This gave me energy. More importantly, I was afraid that if I slowed down and accepted my situation —…