Neighbors Being Neighbors

Lots of emotions as I watch the news about Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent flooding in south Texas. I’m especially saddened for friends in the Houston area, wondering what, if anything, will be left of their homes when they’re able to return. As sad as I was watching the news, I couldn’t help but think…

Soundtracks

When I started first grade at the elementary school near my house, my mom started teaching second grade at a school across town. Since I didn’t have to be at school as early as my mom did, she arranged for me to stay with a family down the street before and after school. Every morning…

“Swelled Up Like A Toad”

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer and learned I would go through chemotherapy, I had a certain set of expectations. After all, I had seen movies like 50/50 and The Bucket List. I had friends who had gone through chemo treatments who told me about the side effects they experienced, like Nausea and…

Making My Bed

I haven’t always been good about making my bed in the morning. In fact, for much of my life I thought it was a complete waste of time, since I was just going to get right back in it that night. No one was likely to see it, I thought, so why go to the…

“A Capitol Fourth”

Tonight I’ll be watching “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS. It’s what I’ve done every year that I didn’t care to fight the crowds and the heat and the mosquitos to watch a local fireworks display. The year I got to see it in person will always be special, but maybe even more so this year….

Answer the Question They Forget to Ask

“So how did you discover your cancer?” That’s a question I’ve been asked lately. When you tell people you have breast cancer, most people assume it showed up on a mammogram. Mine didn’t. And neither did many of the tumors in other breast cancer survivors I’ve been talking to. I found mine by scratching. Thank…

“Keep Those Cards & Letters Coming!”

Nearly every day after school my mom had errands to run. In addition to the usual runs to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the dry cleaners, any number of bakeries, and of course, Gibson’s Discount Center, we also made regular visits to two different card shops in town. Depending on where our other errands took…

Clinging To What I Know

From the first two rounds of chemotherapy I’ve been through, I’ve learned that what everyone says about it is true. For starters, it’s unpredictable. I can’t stand that. Just no predicting how it’s going to affect you, my doctor said. No predicting when the side effects will begin or subside. Everyone’s reaction is different. And…

More Than My Hair

It’s been nearly a month ago since I got my hair cut. A short haircut, for the first time in seven years. Shorter than I’ve ever worn it. Even shorter than the pixie cut my mother thought would look cute on me in first grade. Shorter than when I cut my hair to look like…

Loving a Dog

Even fewer puppies than children are planned, wanted, created purposely with the intent of bringing joy into our lives. But you were, Chester. You were planned and wanted and you brought me great joy. One night after a dinner I’d hosted for some of my college students at my house, one of my students, Tucker,…

Sometimes You Just Gotta Get the Shot

This past Tuesday I had my first round of chemotherapy and for days before, I kept remembering the time my aunt had to take me to the doctor. I was seven or eight years old and I’d gone to spend a couple of weeks at her house, like I usually did in the summers. My…