Usher in the Cells of White

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#2

5/6/2015

This past week presented a range of emotions, pure joy alongside waves of grief. I’m riding these waves as they come and managing not to wallow too far under the surface.

After a challenging first treatment followed by four days of feeling less than wonderful, the fog lifted. The following two Tuesdays went well; that part of the regimen only delivers one chemical and is much kinder on the body. The only real side effects were fatigue and achey bones. I slept a lot, which I didn’t mind especially with sweet Polly by my side. The silver lining on days like this, is  feeling five years old again, with hours consisting of naps, snacks, markers and coloring books. (Thank you Carol for the creative outlet.)  Each of these comforts would mean very little were it not for Annell Mook’s special brand of love and care.

The more difficult  part of the week consisted of lab results revealing a very low white count, which means my immune system went on vacation. The chemo kills the bad cells, but also the good I’m told. I was asked to stay away from crowds, children, and to wear a paper yellow mask. I was less than agreeable with the mask, but avoided anyone with even a hint of a sniffle.

My hair began falling out about a week and a half ago. My kind and always encouraging aunt escorted me to get a pixie cut in order to ease the transition.  I loved the cut and it lasted three glorious days before I started to look like I was inflicted with male pattern baldness. 🙂 It occurred to me how easily surface appearance can masquerade as part of identity. When I found the first clumps of hair on my pillow, I cried.

The doctor gave me permission me to take last week off of chemo and to return to New Mexico in order to grade my student’s final performance projects. Words can’t express the joy I felt at seeing their faces in person again…Skype is a poor substitute.  The students had little guidance in their out of class rehearsals, so I was proud of what they were able to achieve under the circumstances.

Midway through my visit to Farmington, the hair fall had became so apparent that my colleague Linann offered to shave my head in the costume shop at the college. It seemed appropriate that I was among racks of costumes: letting go of one role for a time, replacing it with one stripped down and primed for healing.

After visiting with students and lovely friends, Dave and I set off for my parent’s cabin to break up the trip back to Denver. We sang songs while he accompanied on the ukulele. It was sweet and easy time with him and reminders of my father loomed large in the house he built years ago.

We entered this week prepared for the double-punch that comes at the start of each cycle.  Each treatment begins with a blood draw.  The good news was: the chemo seems to be taking effect again, as the cancer markers have gone down. The bad news: my white blood cell count is still so compromised that they had to delay chemo yet another week. I trust my doctor and will do all I can to rebuild my strength for next Tuesday.  Fingers crossed.

Again, the outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. We have received many gifts, cards, prayer shawls, quilts, flowers, charms, and words of comfort. This love and good feeling is felt and it has formed a powerful protection around us.

I’ve been asked more than once how I know so many wonderful people. A life in theatre seems to be at the center so many friendships near and far. Many of you have been collaborators, teachers, or students. This speaks to the powerful bonds that are formed amidst the intimacy and vulnerability of the creative process, what a gift that part of my life has been. My extended family, godparents, and childhood friends are also right there at the ready and I don’t know what I would do without their love and support.  That’s all for now. I’ll check in again in a week or two.

Pray for white blood cells to play Barry White, make love, and multiply!

XOXO

Mollie

18 thoughts on “Usher In The Cells of White”

  1. I love the website, Mollie! And you are such an eloquent writer, I love to read your blogs. I hope next week is better and you can get back on the chemo “wagon” and kick this thing into non-existence. My family is sending lots of love your way!

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  2. Mollie — My entire family is sending good thoughts your way. Tasha and I are both planning to do a long ceremony in a few weeks. Part of that will involve lots of songs and prayers sent your way. I’ll update you more as we get closer. So good right now to see you so thoughtful in your situation and using each moment to be large and generous of spirit to the friends and family who clearly cherish you. I think you are right that a life in theatre rewards one with a community/family who truly, truly appreciate the essence of the moment. Your post so reminded me of a story in Borges’ book The Chronicles of Bustos Domecqo entitled “On Universal Theatre” that I had to pull my copy from the shelf and re-read it. It ends with this echo of old Will: “Is there any reader unaware of the outcome? Longuet, after the long centuries cited earlier, had struck a death blow to the theatre of stage properties, set speeches, and box office queues. The unprepared, the most ignorant, you yourself, are the actors; the script is life; and all the world’s a stage.” You just keep taking your quiet moments as you have been doing and find your marks as you have been doing and let the company keep your back.

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  3. Thank you for creating this site. It must be hard to share sometimes, but so many people want to circle around you, and this helps us to know how to do so. Sending you much love and hope and determination. Mona

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    1. Michael, I’m so touched about the ceremony. Thank you and I always smile when reading something you’ve written. Thanks for being my friend. Love to you Tina, Tasha and Des.🙂

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  4. Mollie, I am sending you so much love. I had no idea of this latest news. As e.e. cummings said, “I carry your heart, I carry you in my heart.”

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  5. Hey Mol, Sorry we missed each other on the home front but I’m sure as soon as school is out we will make it happen! We are all keeping you in our thoughts and hoping for those little white guys to get busy!!!!