Essays

First-person narratives about what it’s like living with illness, from people who know.

How Chronic Illness Made Me A Better Writer

I always wanted to be a writer, but sickness taught me the patience, perseverance, and empathy I needed to turn that dream into a reality.

Coming Out Of The Chronic Closet

As a chronically ill teenager entering my freshman year at college, I'm learning that it's time to stop hiding who I am.

How Charlie Brown Helped Save My Best Friend's Life

A 1990 Peanuts special helped me get my friend to the doctor when she came down with a rare bone marrow disorder.

My Father The Werewolf

When I was a kid, my Dad taught me all about werewolves. Little did I know he was preparing me to understand his depression.

Warding Off Alzheimer's With Tumeric And Brain Games

When my mother was 59, she started experiencing the first symptoms of dementia. Now nearing 50 myself, I'll try anything to stave off the same fate.

A Personal Dictionary of Breast Surgery

When Erin Ollila went into hospital to have a lump in her breast removed, the words she focused on weren't necessarily the same ones her doctors were using.

How I Cured My Fear of Doctors

My great-grandfather's death inspired a fear of doctors that became a recurring family curse... one that I was determined to break.

"At Least It's Not Cancer"

Cancer does not have an exclusive contract with suffering. Why, then, do we use these five words as a way to dismiss the loneliness and pain of others?

Doctors, Stop Gaslighting Women in Pain

For almost 4,000 years, doctors have been treating women in pain less seriously than men. That needs to stop. Now.