They say that cancer changes your life. Truth behind that cliche, and lots of it.

It’s not so much that life changes, as that you do. Inside.

Bad day — there’s a fucking hole in my leg. Hurts. Other leg missing a layer of skin. Hurts, too.

Every day I discover something else that has changed. The no-sun-EVER order from my oncologist means no more performing at Faire. OK, fine. I was ready for that. Last night, while watching the opening of the SAG awards, the impact of that sunk in — for the first time, I no longer have an outlet for dramatic performance. I was getting paid for stage performances before I left high school. I went into college with the dead-set assumption that I was going to be an actor. Faire was a sad remnant of that desire, and now it’s gone for me.

Priorities are in a fucking blender. Nothing feels important.

Can’t write, can’t get back to work….climbing the fucking walls here at home, but not healed enough to go anywhere.

Things that I want to say to people. Some of it related to how they’ve acted around me since I’ve been dealing with this. I avoid doing so, because I haven’t got the energy for the drama. It seems so fucking trivial.

(But then again, when the first thing you want to do on the day after I’ve been diagnosed is tell me your side of boyfriend-related LJ drama, and when I seem disinterested because *I’ve just been told I have fucking cancer,* your reaction is to say “look at me. This is important….” Well, maybe being told how badly you’re fucking up is exactly what is needed here. Who knows. Nothing else has woken you up.)

Others have become angels. Still others are hestitant, and look at me like I might break. It’s all very strange.

…and all of it, whirling, constantly, behind my eyes. I feel simultaneously like a drama queen, guilty for my emotional excesses….and yet completely justified in being traumatized. I just don’t fucking know.

Hell, I’ll probably end up deleting this.

30 Replies to “Turmoil”

  1. No more faire? Oh wow. I had no idea. I can’t imagine how awful. I’m so so sorry.

    Maybe we could make you a palanquin or something? With curtains? I dunno.

  2. I have been in a similar place but it was only a cancer scare for me.
    I will spend time with you on the phone if you need another friend today. And when I get home, I would love to come have lunch or coffee or just a chat.


  3. Don’t delete it. At worst, move it to private so you can look back at it a year from now and use it as a benchmark for how far you came from this point.

  4. I used to be very involved with the lawrence Community Theatre when i was a kid. I’m sure they still hold open auditions – might be a good place for you to keep your passion for performance alive. I remember seeing you in a play years back and you were quite good. :)

    i know alot of people do not know how to behave when someone they know has a health scare. I think that most of them are thinking about how they would feel if it happened to them – and some are so frightened by the way they would feel that they are afraid to interact, while others know how they would want someone to behave toward them and so that is how they react. I do not know everyone personally or what their reactions have been, but i would guess that most people don’t mean to act strangely, but simply don’t know how to act.

    I am familiar with the sense of being trapped inside (9 months of gestational epilepsy and bedrest drove me mad – and the no-stair restrictions after a c-section are pure hell), but it is good to get rest and let yourself heal. Feel better soon. :)

  5. Do whatever you want! And not just ’cause of the cancer. People will forgive your eccentricities, and if they don’t, maybe you didn’t want their forgiveness anyway. Also, many wonderful people have never attended a renfaire let alone performed at one…

  6. “I remember seeing you in a play years back and you were quite good.”
    It was You Can’t Take it With You. It was hysterial (in a good way).

  7. Sorry to hear it, amigo. And sorry we’re so far away we can’t do much more than email and LJ.

    Give yourself some time, though. You’ve had a serious scare, and it’ll take a while to get past that.

    Sucks about Faire, but jendaby’s right–you could probably do community theater and other things that are indoors/night-time, instead. Not the same, sure, but it might still fulfill that need.

    I wouldn’t delete this. Move it to Memories or whatever that “your own eyes only” thing is, if you feel you don’t want it up anymore, but don’t delete it. It’s an honest look at how you’re feeling right now, and you may want to be able to go back and see that later on, when you’ve got things sorted out again.

  8. I’m very glad that you’re better, especially after having lost a friend to leukemia last year. Your life has had many dual distinctions: before the birth of your children, and after, before you divorced, and after, before you remarried, and after. Now you have one more, an espeically potent one: your life before you had cancer, and after. Beyond the physical changes, I’m sure there are emotional ones. You dodged a bullet that not only had your name, but also your address, social security number and an assortment of personal details. That’s a good thing.

    I am however sorry that you didn’t have a chance to discuss your frustration directly with the individual you mentioned above first. Most unfortunate.

  9. The no-sun-EVER order from my oncologist

    You might get a second opinion on this–I mean, no sun EVER? How would you even go to the grocery store? Only go on rainy days?

    Surely there are some sorts of precautions (repeated application of high-level sunscreens, only standing in shade, etc.). In the three years I’ve worked out there, I’ve been strict with the sunscreen, shade, and parasols. As a result, I haven’t even noticed an increase even in my freckles. So I know I’m getting hardly any sun at all.

  10. I was gonna say something similar to Lydia. I’d talk with your oncologist about faire. As a lane act, you can make sure you don’t get sun. Maybe there’s a compromise that can be reached?

    Also, I’ll go audition for Lawrence Community Theater with you!

  11. I’m getting no chemo. They’re worried about recurrance, so I’ve been told that even if it’s only to drive to the store, it’s high-SPF on every exposed area of skin, plus hat coverage, for the rest of my life. Plus — skin exams every 6 months or so.

    They’re serious as…..well, as cancer, I suppose.

  12. Next auditions are for “On Golden Pond” — small cast, and older.

    After that, the next auditions should be THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE — big cast musical. No auditions scheduled yet, but the performances are in June.

  13. It’s a plan. I’ve heard good things about “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Man, it’s been a LONG time since I auditioned for musical theater. Eep.

  14. No more faire at all? That would truly be a shame… Cassanova and the Courting Italians would be sorely missed. Hopefully there’s some middle ground!

  15. I haven’t auditioned for anything since Camelot in college, but I adore “Thoroughly Modern Millie” – both the original and the new one. It’s the one Broadway musical we managed to see when we lived there. I have the original cast recording, if you’d like to hear it sometime. :)

  16. Gareth, I think having, y’know, CANCER, and dealing with the immediate aftermath of an operation to deal with same, justifies your being a drama queen and emotionally excessive. Those two are symptoms of pain and recovery.

    And if others act badly toward you because of that, then fuck’em, you don’t need them. It’s not like you’re weeping and wailing about this two years after the fact–this is a very real and present situation for you, and being traumatized because of it is a reasonable and human feeling. So don’t let the bastards get you down.

  17. Re: Performing

    Dude, you live in KANSAS! Surely somewhere in your area there’s a barn and an orphanage in need of saving. Just put on a show.

  18. Like a few people have said, I think you’re allowed a certain amount of drama queening and internalizing. I even think that people around you wouldn’t consider your behavior as that at all.

    As for the Faire thing, that is the suck, but I’m SURE you will find other outlets; you have too much talent for it to lie dormant for long, I would bet. If I hear about any phenomenal auditions near you, I’ll let you know. And if you ever feel the need to vent, or have someone come over there and do anything for you and L., I know we haven’t been amazingly close, but I do care a lot, and I’d be happy to assist in any way I am able, even if it’s just cooking or listening.

  19. Like many of the others here, I would recommend getting a second opinion about the “Keep utterly out of the sun” thing. The finality of that seems more than a little draconian to me. (Mind you, though, I’m not a doctor, either.)

    The Kansas City/Lawrence area is great for shows, be they classics or new and original works. I would recommend going to http://www.kcstage.com and getting on their email listbot for audition announcements. I would also recommend chatting with about the logistics of putting on one’s own show. Something like that, either on your own or through a playwriting contest (lots of those around, also), might work wonders in terms of getting your creative juices flowing again.

    On Golden Pond calls for older players in the leads, but there are parts that you could do. Never say never. If you decide to do the Thoroughly Modern Millie audition, break-a-leg. (Is that the Shawnee Mission Park audition, or are they doing a production in Lawrence?)

    Like everyone else here, I am glad to offer an ear, a shoulder and the ocaasional suggestion if needed/wanted.

  20. Ok, I admit I’m one never to take the first “no” for an answer. Check with your dr for specifics on what he/she means about “no sun.” I’m thinking on overcast days we could erect a tent at the kitchen, and you and Seymoure could sit together and play with the crowds. He can’t do much sun, either. Had sun poisoning the first year we were married, and still can’t take more than about 5 minutes without turning beet red and being in serious pain. Yours is much more serious, I know, but find out what it would take. Probably faire wouldn’t make the same kind of arrangements we would, but I have more flexibility in the kitchen than they do for scheduled stage or lane performers. I wouldn’t even make you cook!! And we would love to see you whenever you could safely be there!

  21. Oh, one more thought: ask your doc about a handicap hang tag, so you don’t have to walk thru acres of parking lot. A friend of mine had the same situation and used a hang tag to stay out of the sun.

  22. My friend,
    This, like so many things, is not an ending, but a chance to move in a new direction. Audio projects, video projects, a one man show. I think Mothers’ idea is the beginning of something great. We could put together our own show that we could find a covered place to do. We will get through this, take it from one who has died and come back, nothing is the end until YOU say it is.

  23. Tons and tons of community theatre in KC – The Barn Players are doing Full Monty this spring and Shawnee Mission Theatre in the Park rehearses inside – and performs outside – at night.

    I am very glad that you are recovering.

    It will be interesting to see what effect this has on your writing….your life and….you.

    Big hugs and gentle kiss on the forehead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.