Category Archives: Cancer

To Be Alive

To Be Alive

Tennis, dance, swimming, paddling, gym workout, stairs—all my life I’ve been an active person, though the particular sport or exercise has changed from time to time. I wonder now, as my physical world has shrunk, if I am what I do. If so, there’s not a whole lot left of me.

Now, as cancer consumes my body and I have lost more weight than I ever intended, I ask myself: how identified are we with our bodies? Who are we when our bodies fail us? When illness—or accident or age—diminish our abilities, do they also diminish us as people?

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Tutoring: Nourishing the Spirit

…The single most important predictor of academic success is the amount of time children spend reading books—more important, even, than economic or social status (Atwell, 2007). At the start of a new school year, I walk down the hall with the mild-mannered fifth grader I have tutored since she was six. “How was your summer?… Continue Reading

Nowhere to Hide

I huddle under the doctor’s knee-hole desk, a six year old cornered by the nurse who comes at me with a hypodermic needle. I have run from that big, thick metal spear through examination rooms and the hallway, and now I’ve reached a dead end. The structure I hide under is dark, brown, ugly. After… Continue Reading

Unexpected Destination

My yogi niece advised me, when having trouble sleeping, to picture a mountain, a candle, a lake, a child. “Look into an old lady’s face,” she says. And, half asleep, I do. When I realize that I see the same face night after night, I have to figure out who the half-closed eyes and wrinkles… Continue Reading