Archive for August, 2008

milestones

Posted in Cancer Life on August 31, 2008 by lawler

I hate to admit, but I forgot something: this weekend is the one year anniversary of my diagnosis and the wait for labor day to pass so that the surgeons could remove my cancer-ridden testicle. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year. But moments ago, as I was sweating in the heat of a late August day while sanding down a piece of furniture to be restained and spiffed up for our new home, I realized how lucky I am. A year. A year ago I was doing my best to keep my fears at bay, heading blindly into a surgery that I thought would be no big deal (it hurt like hell, and let’s not even talk about my vagel response when they put the largest IV needle ever into my arm).

That weekend last year was the beginning of many things: fear like none I’d ever experienced, perseverance (on Dawn’s part as much as my own), an outpouring of love and support from friends and family, and a new realization of what life is really all about. It’s also given me yet another place to focus my energy — my volunteerism has increased, and so has my ability to be with people, listen to them, and be more compassionate.

So, I just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in my life. Even the folks who didn’t know me a year ago. Thank you for what? For being around. For helping me see life for all its complexity and nuance.

This afternoon I thought to myself, “one year of life lived, and every day I get is a blessing — don’t let any of them slip through my fingers.”

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Cancer Stories Project

Posted in Cancer Life on August 4, 2008 by lawler

I’m very excited about this:

Recently I came up with an idea that would enable me to actively help the American Cancer Society with fundraising and outreach while getting me back into creating theater (not just facilitating the tech side of it) — something I really haven’t had a chance to do since college.

The idea is for something I call (you guessed it) the Cancer Stories Project. It will be a theatrical event here in Madison founded on the idea of “documentary theater,” or “theater of testimony.” It is a style of theater that can be quite powerful (as demonstrated by Anna Deavere Smith in such works as Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, a play about the L.A. riots that year). The gist is to take the experiences and stories of actual people and through the use of on-camera interviews transform them into monologues performed by actors — keeping as true to the people and events that have been shared as possible.

For the Cancer Stories Project, several local people with compelling cancer stories — including survivors, patients, caregivers, family members, and others — will be interviewed. Local actors will use the interview footage to craft performances. The monologues will then be joined to form a cohesive stage play to be performed as a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.

When I first contacted a few people I know in the ACS a week or two ago, it was met with immediate enthusiasm on their part, and is now working its way up the ranks in order to determine what level of direct involvement the ACS will have.

I’m very excited about the opportunity to continue my volunteerism with the ACS, while embarking on an exciting new creative project. I will keep you posted on the progress of this project…