The Space Between

It took two minutes for the pediatric oncologist to shatter our high. The large tumor found in my daughter was benign and we’d just begun to process our relief and decompress from many nights in the hospital. He stopped us cold. The tumor has a 50/50 chance of recurring, of showing up in other organs, and has a chance of metastisizing as malignant. She had to go through more diagnostic testing. And here I sit, mere hours away from this doctor telling us the results of the latest PET scan. The space… Read More

The 5% Girl and a Lesson in Empathy

After spending the last ten days in parental purgatory, we got a call yesterday morning. The huge tumor found in my daughter has been fully removed and after being told the odds were 95% that it would be malignant, Mayo has determined that it is benign. We were very lucky. Only 150-200 people are diagnosed with this type of tumor in the U.S. each year. Random. Like the cells that mutate for no damned reason into something that kills. I haven’t slept for more than an hour at a time for days… Read More

What’s Keeping Me Awake

Of late I’ve had an uncomfortable medical issue related to repeated heartburn. It’s gotten much worse and I have to go to the doctor. But not, of course, until I’ve googled myself into a full anxiety attack. It’s after midnight and I’m tossing and turning and just a little terrified – because so many roads lead to cancer and I’m 51 and I still have a teenager at home and I don’t want to die. Several years ago, I had an irregular mammogram and I had to go back for another test…. Read More

On the Verge of a Wild Irrational Gallop

Time, when it is left to itself and no definite demands are made on it, cannot be trusted to move at any recognized pace. Usually it loiters; but just when one has come to count upon its slowness, it may suddenly break into a wild irrational gallop. – Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth (1905) We’d made the trip to a mall, because my daughter, who wants to upgrade her wardrobe for high school, wanted to visit Old Navy. This is a store I’ve never shopped at, nor had any particular desire… Read More

The Marrow of Vulnerability

Summer tends to be my season of discontent. More so this year than ever before. The curated insouciance of sun, sand, and vacation photos mean nothing to me. We wait as a relative passes from known to unknowable in the haze of Alzheimer’s, punctuated by endless rounds of teenage school clothes shopping. Insouciance in its current form means a “casual lack of concern”, a version of being “cool”. But I play etymology operator, passing through French and Latin origins, landing on an uneasiness of mind. This seems more apt. My last post… Read More

The Snowflake and the Fist

Since I live in Minnesota, I find the term “snowflake” to be an innately irritating and overused bit. They all look the same at the end of my shovel. It’s generally used against liberals or basically anyone who disagrees with the person using it. It’s used as a way to shut down opinions, to end the conversation – a way to show what a tough you are. Liberals do the same thing with the “check your privilege” childishness. It ends conversations. It is aggressive and condescending. Language matters and how we learn… Read More

Getting Lost on Purpose

Yesterday I got lost driving in St. Paul. My husband swears we should never cross the river that divides the Twin Cities. He’s gotten lost as well. Jesse Ventura, the former infamous governor of Minnesota, once insulted the city on national television by suggesting it was designed by Irish drunks (I imagine the Irish were insulted as well!). Getting lost has never caused me undue anxiety, especially since we bought a car with navigation – except it will fritz out at critical junctures in the journey. I have learned to just work… Read More