My favorite part of any story is the end. Movies, books- I always look forward to being done with them. Hell, even plays. I doubt there are many people who like plays more than I do and still, with any theatrical experience, the thing I look forward to the most is dinner after. I know I’m not alone in this feeling, and I think that’s one of my strengths as a performer. I put immense pressure on myself to make the evening as enjoyable as possible knowing full well that I can’t compete with french fries. And really, what can compete with french fries? When people ask me, “Do you want fries with that?” My response is, “I want fries with everything.” Even when I don't order them, I want them. Those sad times I make the healthy choice and go with the side salad or the fruit cup, always know my heart was with the fries.
One of the things that is helping me through this process is to view having cancer as an artistic endeavor. It helps give this whole thing meaning and purpose. A context. And it drives me a little crazy having no idea how this thing is going to end.
Every thing I’ve ever written- I’ve known how it was going to end from the beginning. When I was writing my play, A Sudden Spontaneous Event, I knew the main character had to die. When I was writing Folly Beach, I knew the main character had to end up alone on stage sitting on a couch. When I was writing The Elephant in my Closet, I knew I had to tell my dad I was Democrat. Now the particulars and how on earth I was going to get there take me years to figure out, but I always have an idea about where it’s going to land. With this story the opposite is true. I know where I’m going. I’m going to chemo and I’m going to scans, I’m going to chemo and I’m going to scans. But where it’s going to end, how it’s going to end, when it’s going to end… no earthly idea.
So since I’m in the middle of a story with a huge conflict (life or death), a brilliant antagonist (cancer), and no idea idea what the ending is, what I’m left with is hope.
Cancer is the story of hope. How could it not be. When you get it, you hope it goes away. That’s why people show up for the infusions and the trials and the tests. That’s really all doctors have, too. Yes they have studies and research, but before that all they have is, “Hope this works.”
I’m not saying it’s totally worth it. I’m not saying that is a trade one would make. Don’t be like, “Yes- I’ll give you my health and you'll give me hope! What a deal!” You can find some adversity in other ways. Maybe a sports team? Maybe become a Cleveland Browns fan and learn about hope in a less life threatening way?
Why do I mention this? Because I just got my next date for my scans. In three weeks, I get my second look into how my chemo is doing. Part of me can’t help viewing these scans as an indication of how close I am to the end. But yet I can’t think about the end because then I’ll become obsessed by it and miss life that is happening all around. And there’s nothing I can do to get ready for tests. It’s not like you can do extra sit ups or take some vitamins or stay up all night studying. All you can do is go get your chemo and keep not smoking.
So, I’ll just be hanging out here in the middle. The writer in me dying to know the rest of the story. The human in me just waiting for the french fries.