0 Items

The Sun Magazine

Body and Mind

Cancer

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Chemo And Me

I’m convinced the most accurate way to gauge your survival odds when you have cancer is not by the size, type, or grade of the tumor but by the size and splendor of the tropical-fish tank in your doctor’s waiting room. If it’s over thirty gallons and stocked with anything neon, you’d better start wondering why they want you so calm.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Exactly What To Say

I don’t remember feeling fear, only exhilaration and gratitude, like in my dreams. A feeling of ah. The sky was brilliant blue, cloudless. The balloon was yellow. We rose and rose until the pilot turned off the burner, and then it was quiet except for our voices, the creaking basket, and an occasional whoosh of air against nylon. From five thousand feet, everything on the ground seemed small, forgivable.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

This Will Sting And Burn

It is time for him to mark the spot that he will cut out. I turn around in the chair, and the starched edge of his white coat brushes my naked shoulder as he moves behind me. I can smell the magic marker and feel the cold circle he draws on my back. He asks if anybody is here with me, and I say no. I know what he’s thinking: that he won’t have to come out and talk to the relatives in the waiting room after the surgery is over.

The Sun Interview

The Miracle In Front Of You

Raymond Barfield On Practicing Medicine With Compassion

You have to notice beauty when it appears. That means you have to show up and shut up. If I could give just one piece of advice to all medical students, I would say, “Show up completely, and then shut up for at least two minutes while the miracle in front of you tells you who they are and how you can help them.” If every doctor did just that one thing, it would change medicine.

The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
A Grief Observed

I had my miseries, not hers; she had hers, not mine. The end of hers would be the coming-of-age of mine. We were setting out on different roads. This cold truth, this terrible traffic regulation (“You, Madam, to the right — you, Sir, to the left”) is just the beginning of the separation which is death itself.

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

When No One Is Watching

I’ve come to love this island. Hawaii has mostly been subdued by human habitation, but there are still pockets of wilderness, like this one. A trail from our land leads to where I’m sitting on a tablecloth beside the stream with my laptop. When I look at my computer screen, I see my reflection, in which my bald head is hidden by a scarf. I’ve had no hair for six months now, a constant reminder that I have breast cancer.