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_

The Art of Not Helping

My head is in the clouds right now. I took a heavy sleeping aid about half an hour ago, and wooh, that stuff hits fast and hard. The sleeping aid has become necessary some nights. I don’t know how to sleep when my phone keeps buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. I pick…

The Kind of Friend We Deserve

When I met Alexander, he was thin, his nose bled a lot, and he had tubes in his ears. I was a lonely first-grader fresh to Hawaii, and just as thin and malfunctioning as the brother I didn’t yet know. How could I ever adequately thank the teacher…

Clinical Anxiety of an Unexpected Type

Hi, my name is Brad Dell, and I have clinical anxiety disorder. Well, disorders. Three types. My generalized anxiety disorder is well-documented in my columns. It’s plagued me since sixth grade, beginning when I’d lie in bed at night, sweaty and staring at the glowy star stuck to my…

Why Rare Disease Communities Must Stand United

“You need space at the table for five wheelchairs?”  The waitress’s eyes exploded from her skull, shocked to the degree I’d expect if I were to ask that she seat five grizzly bears. When making the reservation at the restaurant, I said…

Screwed Over Expectations, Pura Vida, and a New Normal

I was fully deaf, too weak to walk across my living room (I couldn’t reach my upstairs bedroom anymore), constantly coughing and vomiting, soaked in sweat and wheezing, too anxious to face friends, under my parents’ 24/7 supervision, without a job other than occasional editing for a local magazine,…

Here’s What It Feels Like to Have Cystic Fibrosis

There’s a rattle in my chest when I inhale. I sweat and dig my nails into my palm. I feel it, microseconds of dread and fear as the rattling gives way to something like the plugging and unplugging of suction cups in my airways. That quickly escalates into a “cough…

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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