This week I heard a familiar voice on KQED Public Radio – one of my former tenants was being interviewed. I’ll call him Frank, but usually, he goes by “Bulldog.” Apparently he lives on the Joe Rodota Trail now, the massive homeless encampment in Santa Rosa, CA.
Let me tell you about this guy.
I remember the day a social worker approached me about taking him on as a renter. “We’ll pay the rent,” she said. “I’ll provide oversight.”
I’d heard this story a million times from other soci...
My family and I stopped to look at art this week. While we wandered around sculptures, someone smashed the window of our truck and stole our stuff: all three passports, two cameras, and lots of clothes, but most devastatingly, they got my laptop. The book I’ve been working on and countless sketches of stories, columns, op-ed pieces, snippets of poetry – my body of work such that it is – all gone.
I remember when our family’s coin-op laundromat got bumped twice within a two-week peri...
“Could I have some water?” Gary bent his head closer. Apparently, my husband couldn’t hear me. I couldn’t remember ever being so thirsty, and I felt too weak to talk.
We were in the Emergency Room because I had neutropenic fever, a condition that happens sometimes after chemo when a high fever indicates a low white blood cell count. It’s serious and can quickly become deadly. Gary had called Stanford at the first sign of my spiking fever, and he was told to get to my local ER.
The hardest part of cancer? That’s a loaded question, but telling my kid about it ranks up there at the top of that list. Lauren had just turned ten when my husband and I found a lump in my breast. A few days later, an oncologist predicted I had three months to live. “We have to tell her,” Gary said. I wanted another day, just one more before we had to rock her world. But eventually, I did it, and if you have to do it too, here’s my advice:
While my doctor’s fingers massaged my breasts and cradled my hard, almond-sized lump, we had a peculiar conversation. She was from the Bay Area but traveled to tiny Lakeport for a brief assignment.
My husband and I discovered the lump the previous evening in a surprising, romance-busting moment. “I’ll call in the morning,” I whispered, wishing our beloved Dr. Kirk hadn’t switched from his private practice to the VA Hospital.
In rural America, it can be hard to get a good doctor. We r...
“No fresh flowers,” my doctor said. “Avoid salad. No uncooked food. And don’t bring visitors home.”
Treatment for breast cancer took the better part of a year, and a lot of that time, I spent alone. No wonder cancer sometimes comes with depression.
I had chemotherapy for sixteen weeks, and after each session, my white blood cell count dropped dangerously low. It’s a side effect called neutropenic fever, and it nearly took my life. Chemo saved me, but it almost killed me in the proc...