Saturday, November 03, 2007

Busy, Busy

I have been moving nearly non-stop since Halloween. Work has been so incredibly busy; Cats is selling out every show. We had a few cast members on Fox news on Thursday morning. Cathie, who plays Grizabella, sang a bit from Memory and although the mix was a little off on the studio mics, she sounded great. Mary Ellen was interviewed briefly and I think the news people were really impressed. When they were going to commercial you could hear them talking about how awesome they thought Cathie was. They were in full costume and makeup and looked fabulous. The clip is on the fox website and when Mary Ellen spoke to them on Friday they told her the clip had gotten like 8,000 hits! Too bad we can't sell that many tickets.
If you want to see the clip, here is the link. I don't know how long it will be up, but here it is.

Thursday evening Mom, Tonya, David and I went to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's free program on Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma at Dave and Buster's. Mom and Tonya had never been to Dave and Buster's and had no idea what it was. It made me smile to see Tonya's face light up as we walked into the Midway. She bought a power card and she and Mom played $10 worth of games and had a good time. The program itself was interesting. They fed us dinner and A doctor from Southwest Regional Cancer Center spoke first about what Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is and how it differs from the other blood cancers of Leukemia and Myeloma. I was surprised to learn how similar it is to Leukemia. It is the same cells that become cancerous, it just makes a difference when in their life-cycle that it happens. If it happens to immature, developing white blood cells in the bone marrow where they are made, that is Leukemia. If it happens when they are released into the system, they gather in the lymph nodes and become Lymphoma, and if it happens to fully mature plasma cells; what white blood cells swim in, that is Myeloma. Very simplified description and I don't know if I got that exactly right, but that is the general idea. And of the three Myeloma is the worst, it seems. The survival rate is not as high. I know I have said it before, but Yay Lymphoma! I am happy to have been stricken with you, my dying enemy. You are more easily killed than many of your peers and cohorts. Huzzah!

The other thing that I learned at the program is that I am really knowledgeable about my disease. The doctor really had little to say about progression, staging, and treatment that I didn't already know. That did make me feel good. That I know my shit. I have done my homework. I don't know how to be any other way. And I am truly glad to be living in the time of the internet, where in the comfort of my own home, day or night, I can sit down and google any question I have and be confident of finding some kind of answer. And it seems most of my research has been correct and the info we have gotten from Dr. George is complete as well. We are as educated as we can be.

I was interested to learn that the future of Lymphoma treatment may include a vaccine. Not something given to the general public to prevent it, but something made from a patient's own disease and given back to them to kill it. They take a biopsy, create a vaccine from it, and that is your treatment. Sounds infinitely superior to the hell of chemo. It is in phase II clinical trials on newly-diagnosed patients with Follicular Lymphoma. Which is not what I have. I have Diffuse Large B Cell. Follicular is a slow-growing disease whereas mine is an aggressive, fast-growing cancer. And even though I can't be in the clinical trials, I am glad to know that they are doing something different than simply developing more chemo drugs. It would be nice for future patients to not have to go through the nuclear war to kill the mouse like current chemo patients.

Mary babysat Jackson so we could all go to the program. She came bearing balloons as usual and he behaved like an angel, also like usual with sitters. When I got home and went in to check on him, he sat up in bed and said "Mama's home now," and went back to sleep. In the morning when I got him up he ran into the living room and started looking for Mary. He asked me where she was. He accepted that she was not here ok, but I still felt bad that he was so excited that she might still be here. Tells you a little something about my choice of babysitters, that Jackson loves them so much.

Last night, after a really busy day at work, I went to see NXNW Theatre Company's production of The Nerd. This is their first production after two years of planning and it was a good show. Well staged and acted. I had a really good time, even though I have been getting over and allergy attack or a head cold, not sure which. I was pretty draggy the past couple of days and by the time the show was over, I was sooooo tired and my body was achy and unhappy with me for not being in my bed. But I don't regret going. I have been invited to North By North West's 'get-the-word-out meetings for at least a year, doing scenes from On the Verge and monologues and making speeches about how theatre has impacted my life and why you should support it. David and I would most likely have been among the founders of this group if Jackson hadn't been due right around the time they started up. There was no way I was going to miss their inaugural production. I am proud of them for making it happen and the show was good. Here here, guys! You did it!

You'd think I would take today to rest, but I didn't. I had another show to see before chemo takes me back down. I was feeling much better from my allergies, thankfully, and had no trouble sitting through Wiley and the Hairy Man, directed by Andrea' for Second Youth Family Theatre. This time I remembered my camera so I could take pictures of the set and boy am I glad I did.

This was not only a cool set, but a really great show. I didn't know what to expect of a one-act youth-oriented show. But I was really impressed with the script and the actors. And the lighting and sound. Just impressed. The show centers on Wiley, a boy who lives in a swampy forest with his Mammy. Sort of a Cajuny setting. Wiley is afraid of the Hairy Man who lives in the forest and he has to confront his fear and trick the Hairy Man three times in a row in order to be rid of him. Besides Wiley, Mammy & the Hairy Man, there is an old-fashioned chorus. One that speaks and moves as an ensemble, finishing each others sentences, etc. They wore voluminous, camouflaged-yet-sparkly costumes with gold netting over their faces that made them actually part of the scenery. They were trees in the forest, nettle plants and at one point, when the Hairy Man turns himself into an alligator to scare Wiley, these four actors became the body and swishing tail of the alligator. Incredibly effective and magical and spooky. I loved it. It was the kind of show that makes me love theatre. Anything is possible if you use your imagination...and clever costuming, lighting and fog machines. Well done Andrea' I applaud you once again.

Speaking of getting into theatre, I have decided to audition for NXNW's production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, by Allan Ball. I read the script and it is a funny, irreverent, fantastic show about five bridesmaids, for different reasons, hiding out in an upstairs bedroom during the wedding reception. A good sink-your-teeth-into show that doesn't come along all that often. The only downside is that it auditions Nov 13 and 14th - these are serious bone pain days. But I am determined to go. I spoke to the director who knows my situation and she is welcoming of my audition. I wanted to make sure the fact that I will be coming off chemo isn't a problem. It shouldn't be. By Thanksgiving I should be doing great after my last treatment and I should only get better from there. So I don't care what I feel like, I am going. I am hoping that the Claritin for the bone pain experiment is successful. If not, I know that the pain usually peaks that Tuesday and I can usually expect to be off the Darvocet by Wed evening. I think perhaps with something like and audition for a great show to look forward to, my mind-over-pain powers will be increased. Doesn't matter though. I am going.

We took Jackson for a haircut this afternoon and though she may have cut it a little too short, he looks very handsome. He wiggled a bit and seemed to be a little bothered by the toddler nearby who cried the whole time his hair was being cut. But he did pretty good and looks good. Course I am not sure we will go back to Snip-It, a specialty kid's haircut place. It cost $20 and there was a little too much going on - music, movies, huge plastic characters and the crying child. Seemed to overwhelm Jackson as much as distract him. I think he would do just as well, or better at a quieter, normal, cheaper salon.

And now an evening of blogging, followed by reading. No TV tonight. I have been watching far too much TV this Summer of Cancer. I even bought that gigantic TV as as retail therapy. I'm sure you don't blame me. But my brain seems to be craving music and books again. It is just a little quieter in my brain without the commercials screaming at me. And Grey's Anatomy just isn't as compelling to me as it once was. Don't worry though, this is probably just a phase. After a time of reading books and watching nothing but TLC and Discovery Channel, the call of Crack TV will probably win me back. Unless I get cast in a show. Then TV goes out the window for rehearsals. Sounds like my old life a little. Could I really be almost done with chemo! I can hardly wait!


Jooley Ann said...

Man, so much interesting stuff here! In no particular order:

--The idea of a vaccine for existing cancer patients is fascinating. Very cool.

--YES YES YES audition for "5 Women..."!

--That set for Hairy Man is AWESOME.

--Glad you liked The Nerd, too. I *loved* it.

--And last but not least, Jackson looks adorable!! :)

Fire Berry said...


and thanks for the kind words...

We'd be happy to have you!