…Then what I am afraid of comes. I live for a while in its sight." (Wendell Berry (This Day: Sabbath Poems, Collected and New, 1979-2013 ) I admit it. The corona virus has me on edge. Since age and heart failure put me in the “greater risk” population, it may be part of the reason … Continue reading March 18, 2020: A Practice of Managing Worry & Anxiety
When the heart speaks, take good notes—Joseph Campbell “A patient is, at first, simply a storyteller,” Siddhartha Mukherjee wrote in The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, “a narrator of suffering—a traveler who has visited the kingdom of the ill. To relieve an illness, one must begin, then, by unburdening its story” (p.46). Last … Continue reading February 25, 2020: Writing & Sharing the Stories of Illness
For the past week or so, I've been playing around with words, exploring meanings and synonyms, consulting dictionaries, thesauruses, poetry and other books for the single word that will serve as my guiding intention for 2020. It’s a practice introduced to me by a friend nearly ten years ago, and one I have embraced wholeheartedly. … Continue reading Dec. 29th: One Guiding Word for the Year Ahead
…two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. (From “The Road Less Traveled,” by Robert Frost) It’s a familiar poem, one you were likely introduced to it in a high school English class. Frost’s portrayal of a traveler choosing a … Continue reading Heart Failure as Teacher
"Are you still writing?" Dr. R. asked as my appointment was ending. I had admitted, several weeks earlier, that I was struggling with writing this blog. "Oh yes," I said, "both blogs, but it's much easier for me to write the Writing Through Cancer posts than it is for my heart failure site." She laughed … Continue reading August 25, 2019: What Do We Talk About When We Talk About the Heart?
(Preface: I began this blog nearly one year ago, and, as the anniversary date approaches, I am looking over my posts and revisiting the motivation that initially prompted me to begin exploring the lived experience of heart failure. I have always written, whether for myself or for publication. It's the way I make sense of … Continue reading July 18, 2019: How Writing Helps Us Heal
We sit on the bench in the hospital corridor next to the cafeteria, and we wait. You know what waiting is. If you know anything, you know what waiting is. It's not about you. This is about illness and hospitals and life and death... (From: "What Waiting Is," by Robert Carroll, 1998) I've sat in … Continue reading June 17, 2019: In the Surgical Waiting Room