publishing personal accounts of illness and healing, fostering a humanistic practice of medicine, encouraging health care advocacy

The Anguish of Ambiguity

Adam, my twenty-five-year old son, died of a heroin overdose two years ago. Several days after his death, and before the funeral, I sat up late one night talking with his ex-girlfriend. She revealed that he had been sexually abused for several years by a close, male family member starting when he was eleven. The perpetrator threatened to harm our family if Adam ever told anyone. Adam told a few people but the secret was

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“I’ve been having some gender issues lately.” I was on the phone with my eighteen-year-old granddaughter Amy who had recently moved across country to attend college. “Want to talk about them?” I asked. “I want to be a boy.” “Wow! Where did that come from?” Amy had come out to me as lesbian two years earlier, but I had never heard a word about gender dysphoria. “I went to an LGBTQ meeting on campus last week,

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The Feeling

  So, this is what it feels like to belong. I found myself crying as I danced through the streets of downtown Boston, celebrating my first Pride parade since coming out. While Lady Gaga songs and rainbow costumes provided a backdrop for my ecstasy, my joy arose from the feeling of belonging, a sense of connection bringing me closer to myself and to every person within that crowd of thousands. That was the feeling of my first

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Creating Understanding

I was born a Brobdingnagian in a world of Lilliputians. As a child, I towered over my classmates, both female and male, and most of my teachers. Even as an adult, I stand out in a crow-and I hate it. Being tall has contributed to my psychological angst: it has given me a negative self-image; it has made me the victim of teasing (“How’s the weather up there?”); and it has made me feel like an outsider from

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An Editor’s Invitation: LGBTQ+

When I was a freshman in college, my closest friend told me that he was pretty sure he was gay.   I was perplexed. I knew that gay men existed, but I’d never known one. (Of course I had; I just didn’t realize it.)   Not long after, my friend began a journey of exploration, of figuring out who he was–yes, he was gay–and I had the good sense to reserve judgment, to listen and

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