Hyperosmia: When Odors Rule Your Life

I recently smelled gas in one of my tenant’s kitchens, but no one else could smell it. When the gas company guy sauntered into the kitchen he pre-diagnosed dismissively, “I don’t smell anything.” With a sigh, I replied, “I know but trust me, there’s gas leaking.” Sure enough, he discovered two “baby leaks in the […]

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the Onset

I was 24 and had recently returned to my parent’s home in suburban Philadelphia, after a seven week cross-country road-trip that extended into a four month stint of living in a filthy, cheap house with two random dudes in San Luis Obispo, California. I needed to see if California was where I belonged. It wasn’t, at least not then. Verdict’s […]

My Brother Contacted Me After He Died

Long before my brother Jeff died, I was fascinated by the topic of life after death. So was he. It was one of the many metaphysical topics we loved to ponder during our long phone conversations between his home on the West Coast and mine on the East. My interest intensified during my years as a hospice social […]

Living in the Company of Chronic Pain

When I first started writing about my struggle with vaginal pain, I wrote that it felt like one of my greatest fears was materializing: that I am stuck with this unprovoked pain forever. Seven months later, the pain persists. I am discovering what it feels like to live in tandem with one of my greatest fears. Some days, […]

Kindness as Pain Medication

My life isn’t so much peaks and valleys these days. It’s more prairies and valleys. Since this pain nightmare started in June, I seem to cycle between total despair and a little less despair. When a loved one kindly offers, “I hope you have a good day”, it feels like a monumental disconnect from my reality. Semantics are powerful, and […]

Childhood Medical Trauma, 36 Years Later

This story is about a series of childhood experiences that, until March 2012, I’d long dismissed as not that relevant to my life. Not long after I was born, I was catheterized for a suspected urinary tract infection (UTI). That post-birth infection was the first of what turned into a long chain of unrelenting UTI’s and […]

Coming Out About Vulvodynia

For months, I’ve been ignoring an urge to start writing again because the thing I want to write about is extremely personal, even for me. So I repeatedly reminded myself that in this case, the personal is political. If I can turn this struggle into something of use to other women despairing alone and in silence, then the suffering […]