Today I am 54 years old. Or young, if you prefer. If you had told me when I was 24 that I would be an orphan before the age of 50 and confronting my own mortality at the age of 52, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, here I am.
My birthday wish this year is to have the opportunity to grow old. Silver, magnificent, wise and resilient. Please help make my wish come true.
On Sept. 20, two days after the closing of my show, The C-Word at the Vancouver Fringe Fest, yet five days before my encore performance as part of “Pick Of The Fringe”, I had a CT scan. When my oncologist’s office called to re-schedule my follow-up appointment with him, moving it up to the following week, I got worried.
The scan showed some very small activity: a couple of tiny spots – in my liver. Again. Which made my oncologist convinced that the spots in my lungs are also metastatic activity. I was utterly devastated. After all I’d been through, after all the hard work I’d done, this felt like such an epic failure. I’ve done everything my doctors and naturopath have recommended and more. I cut out sugar. I barely eat any carbs. I do my daily meditations and practice yoga at least 4 times a week. I practice vagal nerve stimulation breathing every morning. I stay active. I get lots of sleep. I drink lots of water. I eat organic, non GMO foods. I take all my supplements religiously and look after my health. I do my best to remain positive. And I feel SO strong and healthy right now. Healthier than I’ve felt in years. The fact that I could perform a high-energy one woman show nine times over the course of two weeks should be a testament to that. I really thought as if I chased the fear by doing my show, I would be rewarded by kicking this thing. Again, it just doesn’t seem fair.
I was given the option to wait a couple of months until my next scan, or go right back into chemo, but with no real end-date in sight. Hearing that was earth shattering. I cried and screamed all the way home. It was like hearing my initial diagnosis all over again. An elephant of anxiety has taken up residence firmly on my chest and I spend all my time trying desperately to push him off. My husband started contacting all the major cancer institutes in the US to see if I could apply to get a second opinion with one of them.
I met with my naturopath and she reviewed my recent scan results and my health. She agreed that I am otherwise in such excellent health and strength that it doesn’t make sense to start pumping poison back into my body right away. So, we have begun a regiment of powerful alternative treatments until my next scan. I go in weekly for high-dose IV vitamin C, which has proven to be able to eradicate cancer cells. Especially when combined with intermittent fasting, which I practice nightly. I re-started my mistletoe injections, and starting this week we will be rotating high-dose IV mistletoe infusions with the vitamin C infusions. And we have me back on other cancer-fighting supplements. I figure at the very least, I will be in furiously good health if I DO have to go back into chemo within the next few months. But I’m hoping I won’t have to…
My naturopath also recommended me consulting with a local oncologist who works OUTSIDE the BC Cancer network. She explained that the doctors within the BC Cancer Network are only authorized to use certain protocols, when others are most certainly available. So, I got a referral to the oncologist she recommended, and my husband and I met with him last Saturday.
What he recommends is that we do genomic tumor testing. That’s when they send a sample of the cancerous tissue from my surgery (or surgeries) to a lab which tests it for a broad spectrum of mutations. The mutations present within different cancers have defects which can be exploited to provide treatment options. For instance, if they find that my cancer was caused by my BRCA2 genetic mutation, there are inhibitors (administered in pill form) which can prevent those cancer cells from being able to repair themselves, so they just die. That’s just one example. Depending on what they find, there might be an option for immunotherapy, clinical trials of new medications or other inhibitors and blockers.
This, my friends, gives me hope.
The testing is going to cost several thousand dollars, and is not covered by Canada’s healthcare system. I imagine that the treatments will also be out of pocket, as my current naturopathic treatments are. I have been continuing to work as much as I can to make money for these. Especially since I feel well now, and there may be a time when I can’t work as much, especially if chemo is in my future.
So today, for my birthday, I am asking for your help.
I’ve never been very good at accepting outright charity. It comes from my mom’s stubbornness and pride not to accept outside help. But over this past year and a half, I have begun to learn how to accept help and support.
So, the team at The Fringe Fest and Leap Studios have devised a way for me to offer something to the world in exchange for some financial support. My show, The C-Word. It is being uploaded onto a platform called “Gumroad” and will be made available for streaming by donation. They have filmed interviews with me to send out. They are working on a way to get the word out to news outlets, podcasters, bloggers and more.
There are several ways you can support me: by viewing my show by donation, by sharing the link or info to your networks or any news media outlets across the globe which you might have connections with, or by a basic donation, if you aren’t interested in seeing the show. I know it’s not for everyone, and can be triggering for those who are going through some of this or have gone through it with a loved one. But I do promise it’s got some great belly-laughs and a lot of variety, entertainment value and positivity.
To all of you who have been by my side through all this (physically or virtually), cheering me on, sending love, sending support and donations, I thank you all deeply and truly. I’m just going into the next battle in this war. No war has only one battle, after all.
I know I’m not done on this earth. I’m fighting HARD. I have so much more to do – so much to offer this world. I need to grow silver and wrinkled and have the opportunity to explore all those great mature roles in theatre and film. I need to keep making all kinds of magic that gives people joy. I need to keep making opportunities for other performers, and I need to teach; to share my knowledge with another generation.
Help me get there, please. This is my birthday wish. Help me live.
You can view the show by donation here:
Or you can donate directly here: https://brixxhousearts.square.site/product/support-for-burgundy/95?cs=true&cst=custom
As always, thank you so much for reading, for your love, energy andsupport and
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