Monday, January 07, 2013

A Chronic Dose Has Moved, Part 2

Remember that post where I asked you to come over to my new site and subscribe using either the feed button at the top right or the box on the right sidebar, where you can enter your e-mail address to receive updates that way?

I did not realize that said box had disappeared into the virtual ether. I contacted The Person Who Knows Much More About Wonky Coding Problems and Disabling Features Than I Do, and everything is fixed now.


So, if you could take a moment and sign up with either of those options, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks, and apologies for any confusion!

Friday, January 04, 2013

A Chronic Dose has moved

Thanks for stopping by!

Please note this blog has moved. You can now find A Chronic Dose at my new site,

Please click on over, update your blogrolls, and subscribe to my posts over there. You can subscribe using the feed service or select e-mail updates.

You can also "like" my new Facebook Author page to learn about upcoming events and readings.

I look forward to your conversations and feedback at my new home!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Urgent Request

Since I am in the middle of transitioning readers over to my new site, and because this is a deeply personal and urgent matter, I am posting here one last time so I don't miss some of you.

My father is in kidney failure and needs a transplant to save his life. So many of you have been wonderful supporters of mine for so long, and I am asking for your help.

Can you please click over to my new site and read my father's letter? And then can you spread the link through whatever channels you see fit?

So many thanks for anything you can do. This really is life or death, and we could use all the help we can get.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Some Final Housekeeping Notes

Hi All,

Just a short note to say I've added a new RSS feed for the A Chronic Dose at my new site, if you used to reading posts that way and prefer to keep up with it. If you click over to the site, you can find the RSS feed button at the top of the page on the right side, with the social media buttons (FB, Twitter, etc.).

So, now there are two easy ways you can subscribe over there: you can sign up for email updates on the sidebar, or you can update your feed using the new button above.

I think that's the last tweak--thanks so much for bearing with me, and following me over to the new site. Hopefully, this is the last post you'll get from me from this old site.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Moving Day!

At last, I am up and running at my new site, and am excited to start posting more regularly again, and to offer a variety of content, including interviews, book reviews, and much more.

I am so appreciate of your readership and support, and have a few brief requests for you.

Can you visit A Chronic Dose at its new home, and update your readers/feeds by using the subscription box provided there?

I also have a new Facebook page to consolidate information on both of my books, including book events and readings, publications, and fresh content relevant to the patient community. I would love it if you'd take a moment and "like" the new page by clicking here.

And lastly, can you leave comments at the new site if you run into any glitches?

Thanks so much!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

On Place

Sometimes when I am driving the last leg home, I am still surprised that this ride, that this life, is mine. Thankfully it is a beautiful, scenic New England drive, full of vibrant leaves, pastoral fields and farms, antique houses, and marshy conservation lands, because it certainly isn’t a short drive. (Thankfully, too, I don’t commute to downtown Boston every day, or at rush hour.)

After I battle the pedestrians and buses and cyclists and congestion of Huntington Avenue all the way out of the city, then the traffic lights, construction, and congestion of my old neighborhood, and start the back roads route home the rest of the way, something in me shifts. I am less tense and anxious. There are fewer traffic lights, more people willing to let me change lanes or turn left, there is lots of sky and trees and the changing of seasons is so distinctive. As I cross from one town into the next, inching closer, I relax. I appreciate the scenery. I don’t care what’s on the radio. If my daughter is with me, we talk about the colors she sees on the trees, or what colors the horses are, or where the moon goes when the sun is up high.

Remember, this is coming from the person who, for fourteen years, has lived in the city or right at the edge, who has never been beyond a few minutes’ walk to coffee, Thai, and public transportation. When I lived in Dublin, I was around the corner from the Guinness Brewery and could smell the hops, and less than then minutes on foot from Trinity College and City Center. When I moved back to Boston from Washington, DC, I lived above a trendy restaurant in the South End, then directly across from the State House in Beacon Hill, then right at the intersection of three of the busiest roads in the city where the Jamaicaway, Rt. 9, and Huntington Ave meet. Even when we were on the outskirts, we were still on the D Line train, and had a commercial area with shops, cafes, and restaurants around the corner.

Admittedly, I was a suburban and exurban snob, and couldn’t imagine being far away from so much. I thrived on the proximity to people and places, and drew energy from the pace around me.

Until I didn’t anymore.

My favorite place in the world, my happy place, if you will, is Cape Cod. Just the thought of it brings up memories of long summer days, lots of cousins and family, time with my grandparents, and a freedom to be just be, instead of being a patient or a student, etc., that never existed like that in any other part of my life. We’d pack up the car for the summer and as soon as we crossed the bridge, I relaxed.

I love the beach and I love summer, but as an adult, my favorite time of year on the Cape is the fall and the very early spring, when the crowds are gone and the view is just as spectacular, if not more so because there is no else clamoring for the view. A short weekend trip or just an overnight gives me peace like nothing else. Even with wi-fi and deadlines and my briefcase and traffic at the bridge every time I am there, I breathe more deeply, I exhale more fully. There is less congestion in every sense of the word, and less pretense. I can’t think of a better way to describe it than that.

To a smaller degree, it’s that same content feeling I notice on my long drive home. We expected a lot of benefits (and challenges and drawbacks) from our move, but this I did not expect. I never thought I was someone who was suited for lots of trees and quiet, dark nights and small-town life. Place had a different meaning.

But somehow, it’s working. Life feels a little less out of control here. And with a lot of very hard, very heavy stuff going on behind the scenes lately, I will take serenity wherever I can find it.

And, in the spirit of new places, my new site,, will be up and fully functional in the next day or so. This blog will still exist under this name over on the new site, and this current site will automatically redirect you to the new home for A Chronic Dose and you can still subscribe from there and update your feeds, but the blog will be one branch of a larger site dedicated to my books and my professional identity. It’s more than a much-needed design and function update. It’s taking ownership of a distinction that is fundamentally really important to me: that of a writer who is also a patient, not a patient who writes.

Anyway, I am really excited to move to the new site, and to change up the style, consistency, and frequency of my posts over there. Sometimes the best way to really find a groove again is to start from somewhere totally new.

Monday, October 01, 2012

On Self Care (and Sanity)

I can tell that I really am finding a groove again after such a long time—I find myself writing posts in my head while stuck in traffic. I think about essays that I want to write and send out to editors. (I don’t see this happening any time real soon, but the impulse is there. The stories and opening sentences and phrases are there.)

A confession: I have always had an extremely strong aversion to the term self care. Like, shudder. Unless I’m using it in terms of my newly-minted two-year-old and things like her brushing her own teeth, putting on her shoes, and things like that, it’s just never, ever been part of my lexicon.

It’s hard to articulate why, but part of it is that to me, it somehow seems…indulgent. Intellectually I know that’s not true, and that what is self care to one person may seem extravagant to another, and vice versa, and that what self care means to and among patients varies widely, too.

After a whirl wind new baby-more demanding job-family health extravaganza-book due-selling, buying, and renovating-house couple of years, I think I am finally settling out a bit. Even just having the book done and not automatically having to work late every night, or occasionally using my daughter’s weekend naps to do housework instead of just work work has made an enormous difference.

And with some space to actually do things deliberately this fall, instead of just scrambling to stay afloat, I find myself trying to establish new patterns. Like I said, September always feels like a fresh start to me, and that is especially true this fall, as we’re getting used to our new town and new lifestyle. I never knew how much of an impact place would have on me, but more on that later.

(And, speaking of fresh starts and new locations, I’m going to launch whole new site really soon! Stay tuned for details as we tweak final changes…I am really excited!)

I’m going to bed earlier, which for me means striving for 11pm, but it is a start. I actually feel asleep at 10:30 the other night and it felt wonderful. I really miss the awesome gym near where I used to live, but I have found a home workout routine that I can fit into my life realistically and can stick with, and it feels good to have some structure back, especially after a summer of living out of bags and packing and unpacking way too many times.

I’m experimenting a bit with recipes again, and incorporating a lot more high-protein vegetarian meals into our family diet. I’m planning late afternoon adventures most days of the week, and lately, I haven’t stopped to get the coffee on the way to the playground or the farm or the pumpkin patch that I always used to need en route to our various jaunts. (Every time we pass by a Dunkin Donuts, my daughter says “Mama really likes coffee.” Yikes.)

I got my hair cut for the first time in, oh, seven months, last week. “Don’t ever do that again,” said my new stylist. Trust me, I won’t.

For so long, when I couldn’t find a life rhythm, I couldn’t find a writing rhythm, either. There was no place for new words, for reflection, for ideas swirling around and percolating. I much prefer imagining new posts while stopped at red lights to falling asleep at them (because yeah, that happened).

I’m not trying for radical changes, I just want a little bit more balance. If that’s self care, then I guess that is now a part of my lexicon.

So tell me, what sorts of small changes or new habits are you undertaking? What’s one practice or tip you absolutely recommend?

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