Columns

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 —…

Such a Privilege That Someone So Young Should Be So Sick

“It’s not very romantic, swaddled in sweaty, soiled hospital blankets. It’s slow, it’s ugly. And it could happen to anyone — anyone — and likely will if they don’t meet a sudden, violent end. People don’t like to confront the inevitability of sickness, nor the inevitability of death.” Professor…

Remember, We’re All Fighting Invisible Battles

We all have struggles in our lives that we don’t share on Facebook, with co-workers, or openly on our sleeve. Yet, so many of us jump to conclusions about the behaviors and appearances of strangers whose lives we know nothing about. Cystic fibrosis is an invisible illness, which means…

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…


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