art by Kirsten Kramer

So, what's this publication about, anyway?

I am writing about the emotional hardship of cancer, which every patient talks about endlessly, but no one else understands.

This publication is about a lot more than the documentation of my recovery from cancer.

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a frustrated three-year-old unable to write my older brother a note (probably about what a jerk he was being). It’s my earliest memory.

I went downstairs from my room and found my dad working in “his chair” in our living room, which was large enough for me to climb up on his lap and explain my problem.

My dad let me hold his heavy fountain pen in each hand and then he made the discovery for me: “Boo, you are a lefty!”

Being a lefty has become a kind of life issue for me that is tangentially related to the point of this post: I have lived a long life of trauma and I have long been writing about it.

But now, I am a better writer. And I want to try again.

In 2013, I attended Columbia University’s journalism program, and my reporting professor Michael Shapiro, told me the best thing in the world for me would be to become a daily reporter.

I took his advice seriously.

Because of another Columbia professor, Walt Bogdanich, who liked me even though he told me recently that he thinks he wrote that I was a pain-in-the-ass in my review, I managed to get down to Florida and start reporting. I worked as a political and legislative session reporter for the Florida USA Today papers from 2016 to 2017, and then POLITICO hired me as a state government and health correspondent.

My husband Lawrence, our puppy Lily and I live in a cute townhome in Tallahassee, the Florida capital. I hope to convince you it is the millennial haven for which we’ve all been searching.

I still work at POLITICO, which has made me a much better reporter and writer, but I am on medical leave. I am on leave because I went through months of grueling treatment for breast cancer in 2018 and 2019, and when that was over, I had a mental breakdown. I owe a lot of people in that company gratitude for being kind to me over the past year as this crisis has been building.

POLITICO Magazine published my first two essays about reporting on cancer, each of which involved policy themes, for which we are well known. (Thank you for that).

But, now, I want to write about the emotional hardship of cancer. Every patient talks about it endlessly and yet, no one in the greater public seems to understand it.

I don’t just want to write about the emotional hardship of cancer, I need to. I am not having intrusive suicidal thoughts this week, but have had them many times in the last year. I am married to a wonderful human, Lawrence Mower, and I have great parents and friends and a longstanding relationship with my therapist.

I have never once considered that I would actually go through with any of those thoughts, so don’t worry. 🌻

Those suicidal thoughts are intrusive but they’re not in charge. I am in charge of my mind, of my life, my career and equally share control in my intimate relationships.

It’s taken me a long time to get here, no doubt, but I am here. I have arrived… to adulthood.

But I am still having a mental health crisis and I want to tell you about it. I want to tell you about so many things, some of which are old traumas, that I find I am dealing with again, along with this new one.

If you already know me, you will understand when I say, this publication will be eclectic, just like I am. I really look forward to getting to know you all better.

Thanks for reading. 🥰

 

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