Metaphor Surrendered

The heart of the story

In one way, I have been writing my  memoir since I was fifteen, when I was diagnosed with a novel variant of an extremely rare leukemia, called natural killer, which had no known survivors. When I returned to high school after missing the end of grade 9 and the beginning of grade 10, I enrolled in a writing class. All of my ideas were metaphors for the fight between life and death that I felt still playing out within my body, my bloodstream.

With everything that I wrote over the years about my experience, directly or indirectly, I was haunted by the feeling that the subject matter was too narrow, too navel-gazing. Friends and family who read these early attempts tried to convince me otherwise.

“Are you sure it’s bigger than itself?” I would ask them.

“Yes,” everyone urged. “Yes.”

I didn’t believe them.

But when I became pregnant, unexpectedly, having been told that conception after...