Monday, October 10, 2011

Back in the Spotlight!

(This article shares experiences that happened in May 2004.) 

Editor's Note: This is my official 30th blog. I began writing Marilyn's Byline in late June. I have been publishing articles every Monday and Friday ever since, only missing two dates due to a death in the family. I appreciate the tremendous response to my work. I like reading your messages and hearing how you have enjoyed sharing my experiences. It has been amazing for me, too. I continue to work on the manuscript for my book: High Maintenance ... Surviving Cancer at All Costs. Please share this blog with everyone you know who is surviving or living with a chronic health problem or simply needs to be given a "wake up call" to live life fully. Thanks. 
With “operation move” completed, we were busy with the next phase of our lives. The Orlando premiere of The Feldman Dynamic was just around the corner. There was a lot to do before we made our way onto the stage for our first Florida presentation. 
First, I had to meet with Dr. Shah and Laura to review my recent tests. Fortunately, the CT scans, bone scan and MUGA were all good. I was remaining cancer free. This news certainly made it much easier for me to plan for my Orlando “acting” debut. Seriously, being in The Feldman Dynamic was not a matter of acting. This was performance art at its purist -- at least, that’s how I understood it. There is no script and we are on stage eating a meal before a live audience. We had done this at the NYC Fringe so I had some idea of what to expect. My “stage fright” was not going to be as much an issue this time around. Yet, I did have things to do before show-time.
All four of us ran around the area putting up posters for the show. When I saw the actual listing of The Feldman Dynamic in the Fringe program, it became real for me. Were tickets selling? Would we have larger audiences this time around? We all wondered what our future would be.  Our tech rehearsal took place on May 19. There were lighting issues to be resolved and other technical matters that Brian and Adrienne dealt with.  By the time we got home, it was well past midnight. 
Our big day was May 22, our first Orlando/Florida premiere of The Feldman Dynamic. We were on stage at The Goldman Theater. Although we never had a full house, we did perform before larger audiences than during our NYC shows. And, those who attended gave “great reviews.” Many noted how “funny” our show was -- and I could hear the laughter as we sat onstage show after show eating and doing what we always did -- we spoke about our lives, shared day to day events, and simply opened up the minds of our audiences to the dynamics of our family and perhaps, even their own family. Maybe it was a therapy session on stage? But, truth is, I was really happy I had finally agreed to do this. I was enjoying myself and it was “fun” being a “Fringe” performer. Plus, knowing that my cancer was “behaving itself” and I was “maintaining” a cancer free status -- I could not fail. Even if we had a small audience -- I felt successful. And if we had a larger audience, I felt even better. Nothing could take away the success and happiness I felt. 
After one of our performances, we joined our friends Nancy and Amie (who had come to see TFD) at another show. Nancy continued to “beat” the odds with her own breast cancer battle, so it was wonderful to spend an evening with her and her daughter, one of Adrienne’s dearest friends. Our show ended and so did the Fringe Festival. For us, there was another piece of disappointing news. We had hoped to make to the Montreal Fringe Festival. In fact, we (The Feldman Dynamic) were already listed in local Montreal papers as the “show to see.” We were getting great advanced press coverage in Canada. However, because we did not have sold out shows here -- and we were still having financial problems, we had to cancel the Montreal trip. Another theater company took our place. And another disappointment for all of us. 
Adding to my “list” of stuff, I was still dealing with pain. My arthritis was really getting worse. My knees hurt a lot. My hands and fingers were swollen and disjointed. It was extremely difficult to write or type. My hips hurt when I walked. I hated being so stiff. 
Breathing was another issue on my list. I still had challenges when I overexerted myself. I had taken a trip to Downtown Disney with Adrienne one afternoon. It was a hot, muggy day and I did quite well going between the air-conditioned buildings and then, returning outside where the temperatures continued to climb. I finally reached the point where I needed some extra help. I had to grab the oxygen unit I had carried with me. After getting hooked up, we went back to the car and drove home. My day was over and I was totally exhausted. We did have dinner at a Disney resort before leaving the area, and I fell asleep on the ride home. Thank goodness, Adrienne was the driver! 
Being in the spotlight had its moments for me. Agreeing to do The Feldman Dynamic proved life changing in many ways. At this moment in my life, I welcomed anything that created a positive change. I sought out positive energy whenever I could. The pain I lived with -- physical and mental -- tried to keep me down. Instead, I looked for opportunities where I could try something new, go someplace different and definitely wanted change -- change for the better. 

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