Three weeks after my partner Randy died of metastatic cancer, I called the oncology resident who had been his on-call doctor. I remember exactly how long it took me to make that call because I was in a place of noticing how long things took, with mild interest, like: when will I feel hungry? When will the best part of every day stop being when I’m asleep?
It took me three weeks to work up to hearing Randy’s doctor’s voice on the phone and simultaneously make words in English.There was something I wanted to ask her or, more accurately, something I wanted to make her say.
“If you’d known how [...]
My brother’s request was simple, his tone firm: We were going out for dinner. I couldn’t recall the last time I ate a full meal, let alone left the house. I hadn’t been to my own home—a six-hour drive north—in weeks. Deadlines passed unnoticed, my precarious writing career in peril.
Everything rested on a fulcrum, the pulse of a 77-year-old woman in a dark room. And that was all that mattered; I was either inside that room, or just outside it.
“I don’t know if I’m doing a good job,” I confessed as my grandmother and I watched the hospice nurse pack up her bags.
“She says she’s not [...]
"I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer." —Angelina Jolie's op-ed in today's New York Times.
Toward the end of my breast cancer treatment, I couldn’t do much besides sleep. “An exhaustion like nobody knows,” the kind receptionist outside the radiation oncology department called it. Along with painful burns (and the fact that all the other 26-year-olds I knew were off living instead of trekking to the hospital daily), the regimen's side effects could have made the last four months of 2011 an isolating experience. But I was never alone, because my dog, Kip, refused to let me leave his sight. My ‘dog shadow’ followed me from room to room, wedging his back beside my thigh wherever I settled. This from a dog who normally spent [...]