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_

Stuck Between Nostalgia and Reality

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning,” said Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore. He proceeded to describe bombing a hill, and how the resulting carnage “smelled like victory.” He then frowned and said sadly, “Someday this war’s gonna end.” Kilgore serves as the war addict archetype for the…

Maybe I’m Not Fine. Are You?

I’ve been bored during my six weeks of isolation. But sometimes boring is a synonym for peaceful. Yes, it’s been a peaceful time of silence and introspection. For example, in all my sitting around, I realized something really cool: I’m an amazing liar! I’m so good at it that sometimes…

Some Calm Thoughts Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic Pandemonium

A surreal winter, huh? Pandemic pandemonium. Over and over. “I can’t believe we even have to think about this stuff. COVID-19 is like fiction.” It’s real. I write this during week three of self-isolation. I ain’t scared for myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve defended against “biowarfare.” My…

The Cure List: Dreams Achieved and Dreams to Come

I’m always promising people I’ll write a memoir … at some point. Once, I got 46,853 words deep before realizing that my writing style had evolved enough that, “Mmm, that draft is trash.” Recently, I gave it another jab. I leave my writing raw, still bleeding and unfiltered to depict…

It’s Time to Live Slowly

I haven’t tasted much energy over the past month. Thanks to steroid withdrawal, I spend most of my time near home. It’s not all that bad, honestly, to sit around and do nothing. “Doing nothing” can be productive. I didn’t always feel that. Back in my pre-transplant days, I…

Side Effects Leave Me Salvaging Social Shards

Since August, I’ve been irritable, in hermit mode (distressing for an extrovert!), a little depressed and unfulfilled, and having difficulty sleeping. Plus, I’ve been urinating about seven times nightly, which sounds funny but is a special kind of torture. Leading up to 2020, people shared diaries on Reddit tracking…

I Am Proud to Be Youthful

Loureen and I waited for our travel buddies to pass through airport security. Soon, we would be on a plane to Jordan, where we would provide various forms of support to Syrian refugees escaping civil war. Loureen, wise and a smidge or two older than me, looked me up and…

Fear of Abandonment Has Driven My Life into the Ground

Six months ago, if I had been tied to a very uncomfortable chair and tortured for weeks while interrogators screamed, “What is your greatest fear?” the only things I could have come up with would have been maybe … centipedes. Or dying in a hospital bed. Or maybe that the…

The Present Realizes the Past Through Travel

In my senior year of college, I wanted to be just like Dad. He’s a courageous traveler who has filled many passports and has eaten all sorts of weird foods. The problem was that traveling kind of scared me. No, it really scared me. It seemed like every plane…


Featured Column

The Benefits of Being Sick

A banner for Lara's column, depicting a car on a road trip winding through a forest.
As columnist Lara Govendo reflects on her journey through CF and transplant, she realizes there are a surprising number of benefits.

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