Archive for August, 2010


Odds and Ends

August 23, 2010

This is mostly a note to reassure everyone I’m not dead.

Nope. Alive.

I needed some time this summer to just kinda forget about about cancer, which was good timing because I need to face it pretty head on again come September. I don’t mean to be coy – I’ll spill my guts soon enough, but I need some time to let some of the news sit and stew a bit before I serve it to the world.  I’m not gonna croak anytime soon, but I have new challenges and new drugs to adjust to in the near future. So, don’t freak out OK.

Mostly, I’ve spent the summer performing in a runaway hit show called “Cherrywood” in Chicago to sold out houses and tons of press. Its kind of the brass ring in the world of storefront Chicago theatre. THIS is the kind of project we suffer all the bad late night, nearly porn crap and no pay for. I am surrounded by a freakishly large and talented cast and crew that infuse me with life every time I cross the threshold of the theatre which has more in common with a frat house than an arts venue. I happily wade through bum piss in the doorway and Fabreeze the crap out of the dressing area to be a part of this magical play. It has helped me push my physical limits and given my brain a place to escape 4 nights a week. I will have some serious post partum when this thing is over. Be forewarned. I will need a lot of booze and gelato.

In the next 10 days or so, my life will be …interesting. I was scheduled to have a fairly simple outpatient scope of my knee today. The plan was two days on crutches and two days to gimp, but should be fine for my final performances this weekend. Then I would have an additional few days to work up strength before I jet off to France with Mom on Sept 1st for 3 weeks of touring around Provence. Perfectly planned. All according to schedule.

Until I got a call from my doctor’s assistant on Thursday informing me that my surgeon…died. I had only met the man once and obviously I feel terrible for his family and friends and co-workers, but my first (selfish) thought was “CRAP! NOW, when can I get surgery?!?”. I don’t know any of the details other than this was a fairly young man and he was on vacation out of the country. He was very kind and patient with me on the phone – gave his personal cell phone # and made an exception from his usual surgery dates to accomodate me and my nutty plans. He was, in the limited capacity I knew him, a great guy.

However…WTF! Who else does this kind of thing happen to but me?!? So while his poor assistant is scrambling to figure out how to handle his patients, and undoubtedly grieving at the same time, I have to wait and hope they can get me in anytime before the 1st. In the meantime, I have a cast and crew that is depending on me for the final performances of a major show. And before any of you ask, NO. Non-union theatre does not operate with understudies. Unless you are bleeding profusely from the head, it is understood that you will be on stage. That is the ethic that is expected. I made a decision to ask the director and company members to have someone learn my part in case I get a chance to have surgery last minute. Luckily, there are several folks who were recently added to the show due to its extension and we have been in a constant flux of shuffling people around, so its not as unreasonable request as it would normally be. The staff couldn’t have been more supportive and the young guy who is learning my part is a terrific actor. In fact, he’ll probably be better than me which is both comforting and threatening at the same time.

In addition to this update, I have a few odds and ends I’d like to share with my tumory pals:

Lies I Tell Myself SoThat I Don’t Feel Old

1. I take Tums for the added Calcium.

2. I purchase Icy Hot over Ben Gay because my muscle aches are more athletic in nature.

3. I don’t need Metamucil, a good probiotic should do the trick.

4. I use my portable grocery cart for convenience, not an ad-hoc walker.

5. I’m wearing my clothes from Jr. High because the retro 80’s look is in, not because I never really stopped wearing them in the first place.

Other things of note: You should be watching The Big C on Showtime. Its a dark comedy about cancer with Laura Linney in the lead role and a college pal of mine as head writer/producer.  The world needs more shows like this – not even about cancer – great writing and edgy material that rings true with everyone in this wacky society.

I proposed a panel for the SXSW festival in Austin that I could use your support with. If my panel gets accepted, I get a free badge to part of the festival that saves me about $600. Its’ called Virtual Tumor Assassins: Online Support for Cancer Patients. About 30% of the selection process is community voting, so if you could spend a minute or so clicking on the link and voting for me (only have to do it once!) I would really appreciate it. Otherwise, I may have to start selling my pain meds on the street.

I realize I have neglected my food and wine portion of this blog for a while. The whole world of wine has seemed kind of trite and uninteresting to me lately. I’ve just been in a jaded phase where no wine priced over $20 makes sense and I never want to see another moussed, foamed, deconstructed anything on my plate, let alone be instructed on how to eat it.  I am hoping the simple pleasures of Provence renew my culinary spirit and there will be far more wine and dine posts than OTC meds posts in September.

Pack in those last summer-only activities and eat peaches, tomatoes, watermelon and corn. That’s what I’ll be doing. Unless I’m having surgery on my knee – in which case I’ll be high on narcotics and watching SpongeBob.

peace to you all,