A few months ago I went through a bout with cancer. I’m twenty-six. And the constant refrain from every single doctor I visited was, “This kind of stuff shouldn’t happen to someone your age.” The next few months were pretty rough as I had surgery, countless doctors’ appointments, bills (that keep coming in the mail every day), and pathology reports that I had to wait for weeks before I heard the result—agonizing weeks.
Like anyone who is healthy for the majority of their lives, health is something that we take for granted. For the healthy, we don’t think about the pains of waking up, or taking a shower, or walking into an office full of people. And my life before my cancer was very similar to that. I had no real aches or pains—just a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle every once in a while. But, like most people, it takes having your health jeopardized to really gain perspective into a life without having a fully healthy body and mind.
So we devoted this issue to health to, first, let people tell their stories—of their physical, emotional, mental, spiritual health—and, second, to create a culture of listeners to give people a space to sit down and hear the real issues people are dealing with—like depression, or sexual pain, or shame, or constant aches and pains and migraines. We need to sit down and really understand what a person is going through.
This issue we have brilliant pieces by brilliant thinkers such as Anthony Bradley, Lore Ferguson Wilbert, Kat Armstrong, Shannon Baker, and Joy Pedrow Skarka, just to name a few. We have a Pushcart-winning poet writing for us as well as two excellent short stories. When we put out the call for pitches on the theme of Health, I was excited by the type of content that we might get, and everything exceeded my expectations. Everything that popped in my inbox was incredible—and, dealing with health problems myself, so many of the pieces in this issue really struck a chord with me. I hope they do for you.
I say this after almost every issue of Fathom, but this issue I think is our best yet—it is, at least, my favorite one. We have such a good cast of writers who wrote brilliant pieces and I’m thrilled to be sharing them with you all.
Cover image by Ben Maguire.