Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

A few years ago, during a nasty falling out with a close family member, I was accused of being judgmental. He partly said it because our fight began when I mocked anti-vaxxers who use a light-hearted episode of “The Brady Bunch” to explain why a measles vaccination isn’t vital to public health. I stand by that mockery, because anyone who uses a 1970s sitcom to inform their medical decisions deserves derision, and that’s not a question of my judgment, that’s simple fact. Ask anyone.

I assume he had more evidence on which to base his accusation, although he didn’t list…


We’ve all been there. Ghosting is normalized now in casual dating and even job seeking. Most of us have ghosted a friend, or been ghosted by one. I imagine most adults, and many young people, are haunted by either those people who disappeared on us, or the complicated mix of guilt and relief after ghosting.

Photo by Erik Müller on Unsplash

We ghost for a variety of reasons. In casual relationships—especially the early days of dating—the process is often more informed by a lack of spark than an active problem. In relationships with more depth or history, ghosting happens for one of two reasons: passive circumstances…


I flopped onto a park bench near the Water Tower to light a cigarette and curse my stupid job. I had been lugging my camera bag up and down Michigan Avenue that humid afternoon, begging strangers to let me take their picture. …


Cancer is hard enough on its own. Add in the justifiable fear and preventative measures of a highly infectious disease running rampant around our country and you have a lonely, disheartening battle where loved ones cannot physically rally around each other in support and commiseration. You want to go visit, to hug, to help, to simply be there, yet you can’t. This sucks beyond sucking. Insult to injury.

However, you don’t have to be in person for your patient to truly feel your love and care. I went through cancer twice with no family local to me; my siblings and…


My 16-year-old daughter T. landed her first job this summer. It was relatively easy, at least compared to my efforts as a 49-year-old hack ill-suited for corporate gigs. She interviewed for two jobs and got the second one nearly on the spot. I’m not miffed that I got zero follow-ups for my uploaded resume PDF and generic cover letter; I was frustrated that she heard nothing after an in-person interview with two different managers at a well-respected business based in our hometown. She languished in those days when she heard nothing, and desperately wanted to know why she was rejected…


Forgive me, Authors, for it has been roughly five years since I satisfactorily finished a book. Technically I finished a handful in that time, but of the ones I remember, I completed one angrily and the other was a big, fat, bored sigh. It’s been a barren wasteland.

The unread stack on my nightstand, most of which I have started and left for dead.

This is hard to admit, I am ashamed. I went for a socially distant hike this weekend with one of my dear friends who lent me three of the left-for-dead books by my bed. She’s also a great writer and a smart person and I wanted to tell her that I couldn’t…


The hard things that help us learn when to shut up and when to not

It’s crazy to say, but active treatment for cancer is in some ways the easiest part of the process. You don’t have to do the research, make decisions, get second opinions, field all the inquiries, get your ducks in a row. Treatment is an exercise in dealing, there was nothing to do but put my head down and put one foot in front of the other. I concentrated on just getting through it: countdown the infusion bags, endure another injection, prepare for the double mastectomy, finish Herceptin. Each benchmark was another hurdle to brace for and endure. Another day, another…


Ah, Aunt Flow. Everyone’s least favorite monthly visitor. Once upon a time, she and I had an understanding of sorts. She would send signals of her imminent arrival and I knew to prepare.

I can’t track my moods anymore, as I am in menopause thanks to chemo. But I have hormones, as uneven as they are, still cycling throughout a month. I have internal ebbs and flows and tides I can’t put on a calendar but feel the movement anyway. I have days when tears come on suddenly and stay lodged in the corners of my eyes all day. I…


6 min read

It’s a tacky educational brochure you hope no one ever thrusts in your hands: So You’ve Been Diagnosed with Cancer, Now What?

I certainly didn’t know what to do with myself. My first diagnosis when I was 28 came after a game of phone tag. The surgeon who performed the needle biopsy — the gentleman who had the bedside manner of the know-it-all valedictorian who was counting down the days until he could get to his Ivy League school and be surrounded by less irritating people — had been calling for days before finally reaching me. This…


There’s an old adage that when going through tough times you find out who your friends are. I always inferred it to mean that challenges reveal who in our lives deserves to be called a Friend, as if we are Santa Claus drawing up a Naughty and Nice Friend list.

Let’s see: I bumped into Cheryl at the grocery store and she started complaining about the new Little League board like I wasn’t just diagnosed with cancer. Clearly, Cheryl is Not My Friend. Last week I ran into Emma at soccer pick-up for the first time since the cancer news…

Kate Riener Boyd

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