Life as an Extreme Sport

A Million and One Little Pieces, Minus the Million

I expected to fly into approximately a million little pieces, give or take, by about 3pm Friday afternoon. In fact, I was so convinced that this was going to happen I began pulling things together to go home, because I am constitutionally incapable of falling apart at work, and I figured the strain of that was going to be more than it was worth (especially given the amount of sick time I still have). It’s not even so much anxiety of what may be, as it is anxiety at whether or not there even is an issue. There’s a bit of a running joke in my life right now that I generally make a decision and then act on it within 24 hours, and if I don’t, things get Not Pretty fast. Right now, I’m stuck in that zone of needing to make decisions but not having enough information to

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Novel Therapies Should Be Tortoises, Not Hares

I knew there were going to be a lot of hard things about losing Mom to cancer: holidays and birthdays and events like my sister graduating from medical school. This was almost a given, in those panicked moments after hearing the diagnosis and knowing what it meant, that it was a matter of when and not if. I didn’t realize quite how pervasive it was going to be, though, or that it would create such a strange position to be in every time I read about a new treatment for lung cancer, or I read through clinicaltrials.gov for work and see something being tested, or hear about new drug approvals. Each time, I have that brief flash: this existed five years ago. This may have saved Mom. Early on in treatment, a couple of colleagues pulled me aside and I got one of those lectures. The one that offered whatever

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I’ve had a shit day.

I could talk in metaphor. I could talk about how I always had a problem navigating cliques, as far back as I can remember. I could talk about my niece having problems that are so painfully familiar, with not knowing how to tell people to go away but wait, no, please come back. Please help. I could talk about misogyny and how it still smacks me hard in the face at unexpected times, at my offense at having my accomplishments written off in such a crude manner. I could talk about a lot of things – about being tired, confused, isolated. I could talk about my surprise at being hurt over things I thought long buried, about hurt as fresh as a bruise. I could talk of shoes and expectations and trust falls and fails, I could have a “whole ‘nother conversation going in another universe” – one where maybe

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these things go through your head

When I was little, my mother would buy the peanut butter that had separated in the jar. When we got home from the store, there was always the ritual of dumping the peanut butter into a bowl, stirring everything up, and then placing it back into the jar. I never had to do this; Mom always did. It was sticky and messy and lunch for all of us, so leaving it in the hands of an impatient child probably would have been a bad idea. Even though I never had to do this, I always hated it. It was so pointless, I though. Why spend the time and the mess and the energy when you could just spend a little more for the stuff that was already mixed? That was faster! It was cleaner! Therefore, it must be better. Mom would just shrug and say that this was the way

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