Thursday, March 22, 2007


I love theater. I love it so much I actively participate as a playwright, director, producer, actor (rarely) and I've even done costumes. I love it. Consequently I sometimes watch The Actor's Studio on Bravo. You know, the show with James Lipton that Will Farrell so brilliantly spoofed on Saturday Night Live. I don't watch it all the time but I've watched it enough to become familiar with the questionnaire he gives the actors at the end. One of the questions is what's your favorite word. Mine is suddenly, has been for a long time. I like it because is sounds like what it means, those double d's thud in the middle of the word then give way to a gentle ending. Suddenly, your life changes. That gentle ending gives you time to look around and accept the differences. Suddenly. Most good plays are about that suddenly moment.

Suddenly, of course, isn't always good. Suddenly your hopes and dreams for your children can change. You go from idly thinking about what sport they will be good at to hoping they'll have a chance to grow up.

And then suddenly things can change again.

Ronnie's first follow-up MRI was Tuesday. We got the results on Wednesday. I don't think things could have gone any better. The tumor has shrunk, significantly, even more than that, spectacularly. All his doctors were in a good mood yesterday, the nurses too. Hearing and speech development were suddenly being discussed. All things that seem to be fine but let's make sure. Long term plans are back on the table. We're not done with chemo, far from it actually, but suddenly we're in the best possible place.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Little Things

I go along, managing pretty well most days, and suddenly something will happen that will just make me cry. It happened twice this week to me, and I accidentally made my husband tear up once. My husband is not, in general, a teary guy but Ronnie pinched his finger on a toy and I picked him up to kiss it better. Then I gave him a few more kisses and said, "I wish kisses could really make it better." This made my husband cry.

Me? It's usually something completely unrelated to Ronnie that makes me cry. This week, as a distraction, I was reading Bill Simmons college basketball blog. Normally I find him very funny and entertaining. I've mentioned his column on this blog before. Still, I'm going along, hoops junkie that I am, and wham, he hits me with it. He hates Duke. Not only oes he hate Duke but he hates Duke grads as well. Apparently we're a nasty bunch. Yes, sad to say, that made me cry. I want all those media types to just stop it, broadcasters, commentators, columnists, they've all done their 'Why I Hate Duke' bits. As a Duke fan, this year in particular, I just want to be left alone. I know, I should just stop reading sports websites, and the newspapers, and watch games with the sound down. Actually, that's exactly what I've done, starting with Simmons, I'll go back when he's writing about the Red Sox again.

The other thing that made me cry was a playwrights email list that I belong to. When Ronnie was first diagnosed I started sloughing off everything in my life that I didn't have to do. One of those things was the playwrights group that I run, Shadow Boxing Theatre Workshop. I immediately cancelled the spring meetings. Now, I'm finding that I have enough time and energy to get back in the game a little bit. I joined this list for encouragement. I'm discouraged. OK, I'll say it, even though some of my playwriting friends may eventually find this blog. Playwrights are in general the hardest to deal with prima donnas in theater. They are often not team players in what has to be a team effort to succeed. Sad realization, cancel or allow. Sigh. Allow. And yet, I continue to work with them because, because, because I love theater and when it clicks, there's nothing like live theater, nothing. I am also a playwright myself so I can be sympathetic to their plight. I've even had one of my plays poorly directed so I've been through that rite of passage that all playwrights must eventually experience. Still, I wish they weren't such a whiny group. I had a moment where all my past efforts to help in the play development process suddenly felt like a complete waste of time.

Well, since this post was pretty much all non brain tumor related thoughts, I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Blood Transfusion

I haven't posted for awhile. It is truly amazing what you find yourself able to deal with as time moves on. I still wake up almost every morning thinking about brain tumors but it feels less oppressive now. It's just part of my life and Ronnie's. I think it's big help that he's still very much the same kid. His personality hasn't changed and he still hasn't lost his hair. He may not, the nurses tell me. I'm sure it helps Ronnie's brothers deal with it all. They all outwardly seem unaffected by it all. Andrew (13) came with us to the hospital on chemo day during school vacation week. He played GameBoy and read books most of the day. He also played with Ronnie in the playroom. Jack (9) doesn't want to hear too many details but I can tell he's aware of most of what's going on. Tommy (6) lives in Tommy World. It looks like a fun place.

Scarf knitting, I'm 2/3 of the way through the first scarf. I should have it finished by the first MRI. I'm using Jo Sharp's Silk Road Aran Tweed for the first one, color Tartan which is a greyish green or maybe a greenish grey. It's turning out quite nice. The yarn is a wool/cashmere/silk blend, just yummy. I have two more colors Midnight (dark blue) and a black with grey flecks that I can't remember the official color name right now. The next scarf I'm going to start on though is for Dr. Sims, Ronnie's in hospital neurologist who was a great help during the worst of the ICU stay. I'm knitting that one out of Rowan's Tapestry. I bought the yarn originally for myself but I think this is a better use. I think I've found a stitch that will look lovely in this yarn.

Last Wednesday my father accompanied me to the hospital. It was a long day. Ronnie's white blood cell counts were high enough for him to get chemo but his red blood cell counts had fallen below 20 so he got a blood transfusion too. It all went well but we were there from 10am until 6:30pm. Still the pink his back in his cheeks and lips so it was worth it.