Victorious - a Column by Brad Dell

hope, funeral, social, ableism, funeralBrad Dell is a Deaf 27-year-old with cystic fibrosis. He received a double-lung transplant from UC San Francisco in January 2017, then cochlear implants nine months later. He now lives in Hawaii, where he was raised. Usually he’s traveling the world, chugging coffee, mentoring college students, or studying theology. Otherwise, he’s working as the director of columns at BioNews, the publisher of CF News Today. (OK, he’s still drinking coffee while he works.) He writes to undo the taboo surrounding lung transplantation. Catch him on Instagram at @coffee.cats_

A Life Stranger (and Better) Than Fiction

People often declare my life to be stranger than fiction. (It’s true, and it’s both a blessing and a curse.) Usually, that observation is followed by an urging for me to write a memoir. I reply that I’ve tried, but simply don’t know how to end it. I can’t tie…

If You’ve Lost Hope, Read This

I should’ve died years ago, but I’m too damn competitive. A doctor said I’d cross my high school graduation stage in a wheelchair, toting supplemental oxygen. “Challenge accepted,” I thought. Weeks later, I walked with my head held high and unobstructed by oxygen tubing. When I lost my mind due…

The Necessities of a Funeral

I had imagined that everything would move at light speed once I got the call for my lung transplant. Instead, it was a peaceful wait of about 23 hours in the hospital. I pondered what I wanted my “last” meal to be (strawberry yogurt, nachos, rice), tried to be present…

Have Our Backs and Push Against Ableism With Us

In 2013, miles above the Pacific, flight attendants and passengers stared silently as a man yelled — literally yelled — at me for coughing too much. In meltdown mode, he didn’t care for my explanations that I have a noncontagious lung disease, nor that cough suppressants make me sick.

Interventional Treatment for My Social Sickness

Life is hard, ain’t it? Sometimes all you need is a long cry session over hibachi in Toronto. And so that’s exactly what I had with fellow Cystic Fibrosis News Today columnist Lara Govendo. She has a mental health counseling degree, so she carries those good life-altering words. Over…

How to Gain Weight: 7 Less Traditional Methods

“I wish I had that problem!” If you’re pancreatic insufficient, you know what that dreaded joke is in response to. Gaining weight ain’t easy when your pancreas doesn’t function properly, your lungs and heart pump much too rapidly, and you’re slammed by side effects like appetite loss or nausea.

How I Failed to Cheat Death

When feeling hurt or sad, I find my escape in rereading the books of my youth. They divert my mind from my woes and remind me that at least I’m not facing Voldemort or a clandestine agency bent on pulverizing civilizations. While scanning for a read in my e-book library,…

Finding Fate in the Fallout

In my last column, I described how nearly dying made me a better person. That might imply that I flipped a brain switch to become a more rad version of Brad overnight, but that’s not how it happened. During my lung transplant journey, I strived to better my character,…

How Dying Taught Me to Live

His little ribs rose, then fell, then rose, then fell, then stayed still. The spark left his green, curious eyes — I swear it wasn’t a trick of the light. They were dull … dead. I loathed myself for letting my first cat be put to sleep without me by…


Featured Column

Don’t Overlook Emotional Wellness When Dealing With Chronic Illness

A banner for Lara's column, depicting a car on a road trip winding through a forest.
Living with a chronic illness can affect emotional wellness, writes columnist Lara Govendo, who offers up some ideas for managing both.

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