One of my favorite things about Christmas parties was that they helped me say something a little louder than usual: that I was so effing glad to be alive. Hope springs up in the gloom. Not everything is lost. Even if every horrible thing about empire and injustice and cancer cells is true, a little baby is still about to be born who will crack open the world.
Being together for family holidays when things have not been okay in your world can be, well, not awesome. Everything is heightened, and there is already enough pressure for everything to be perfect. You want to be together. You want to be anywhere else. How can you be present when most of the situation makes you want to hide?
On Monday, I started teaching again for the first time. On Wednesday, the hospital tried to hospitalize me for low blood pressure. On Friday, I got a cold and stopped sleeping. On Saturday, I was accused of murder. And my … Continued
This is us yesterday, celebrating. Zach was singing and dancing in a very un-Mennonite way. I’m sorry that it’s been about six months. Please forgive me because it wasn’t at all personal…it’s only that I had a lot I … Continued
This. This right here is the most powerful thing I know: this bizarre freight train of love for a boy who asked for a fly swatter (see bottom right of photo) and car keys (without a car) for Christmas. This … Continued
When Toban came to find me in the cancer center waiting room, we both knew that was probably one of the most important days of our lives. So he immediately started to laugh when he got close enough to realize … Continued
Most of my worst thoughts hover around a single word. Alone. For a long time, I felt like I was the only person in the world who will die. It was the weird feeling that began in the haze of … Continued
“There’s the gradual, long way up the mountain—and that’s the easier way.” My oncologist is looking at me very sternly, which I know is difficult for him. He’s very nice, and this is the closest thing he’s ever given to … Continued
Every two months I walk up to the edge of the cliff. Will I live another two months of uninterrupted life? Meandering walks with Zach. A deep pour of wine on a patio somewhere. Everything begins to feel like it … Continued
I was twenty-two when I got married. Young. Dumb. Happy. And quick on my feet. That was fourteen years ago today. I married the boy I met at Bible camp because he was funny and kind and absurdly good looking. … Continued
In about five minutes, Mr. Hospital Scrubs is going to pump something that looks like blue Kool-Aid into my veins and slowly push me into a whirling, deafening CT machine. I’ll hold my breath on and off so they can … Continued
Late last year a miracle occurred when Kate was admitted to an experimental trial of an immunotherapy drug at Emory University in Atlanta. Further miracles provided for some out-of-state insurance coverage and air fare for her flights from Durham. There … Continued
As every schoolchild knows, the verb “shrink” comes from the Old English scrincan, which in turn is derived from an older Scandinavian word: skrynka, meaning “to wrinkle”. Shrink is an important word to people with nasty tumours on their liver; shrinkage … Continued