Okay, here's my dilemma. I'm dealing with some personal shit right now. Stuff that we all deal with at one point or another, and that's the serious illness of a parent. My mother was diagnosed with cancer yesterday. She's going to be having surgery at UCSF in a couple of weeks or so, and hopefully she'll be okay. She's tough. Anyone who thinks I am tough has not met my mother. The woman is a mule. I spent most of yesterday selling a hysterctomy like it was a Buick. And we know how easy a sell that is. Props to Detroit.
The situation is she needs surgery. Without it, fuggedabout it. With it, there's a very good chance of a full recovery. Of course when told it would have to be done in San Francisco she at first refused. Her reason? Parking. I'm sure that's the first time the doctor had ever heard that one. "I have cancer, where will I park?" As someone who had cancer 23 years ago, I have to say that that wasn't my first reaction, but then I lived in LA at the time and there are a lot of lots and great meters.
As it turned out, since I will be doing the "parking," that was no excuse. She's going to have the surgery. If I wasn't insisting, my father certainly was. Her quality of life at this time is very good. She feels great, she's active, works out, dances, belongs to a walking club and has each and every one of her original marbles and the bag they came in. If I told you how old she really is, you'd never believe it. Fortunately, she's in good health in all other respects, and since it's only supposed to be an overnight stay, we've got our fingers crossed. Only time and a bunch of tests will tell.
And this is my dilemma. Sharing this information. Which of course I already have. Duh.
I'm a professional writer. I work with my husband/writing partner Alan. Screenplays are what we do for our work. This blog however, is what I do for the pure joy of it. Believe me when I say that writing for a living is not glamorous. I usually tell people that writing is like digging ditches with your head. Screenplay writing is a form of haiku. One must get to the point and convey things in a limited number of pages, or else. How tough is that? Let's just say Henry James would not have enjoyed it. So for me, writing this blog is like being able to run around outside with my pants off. Frrreeeeeeeeeeee!
In order to do this at this time, I feel that I have to be honest about what's going on here. Yes, I am bummed about my mom being sick. Yes, I am worried. Yes, I am also hopeful. I am not a sentimental person by nature, though I often play one on the outside. My mother is a carbon copy of me... or perhaps I should say I am of her. Her doctor pointed that out when she said she understood where the toughness comes from in my family. My mother is the least sentimental person I know, next to myself. My father is far more emotional. Both of them are totally street smart and practical. When something needs to be done. they do it.
So why am I sharing this info? Well, because I feel as though I have to. I have this on my mind, it's real and it's going on. I made a big mistake years ago when I was the one with cancer. I didn't tell anyone. We were working on a project at a studio when I was diagnosed. I immediately went into emergency mode. The last thing some studio executive wants to hear from their writer is that that writer has cancer. Art least that's what I thought at the time. I was protecting my livelihood. Of course back then in 1990, people didn't talk about stuff that openly, and especially young people. All my friends were having babies, I was having a tumor. I went out and got a wig from Madonnas wig maker and I was off to the races, alternately hiding out, smoking medicinal (ahem) pot and fluffing my "hair".
I was given a poor prognosis at the time. What was the result? Obviously I recovered, but I was also psychotically angry. Not being able to tell anyone or share what I was going through, nearly made me a psycho. Imagine standing behind someone at the candy counter at the movies. Someone young, someone your own age and wanting to whip out a pair of scissors and just give em a Romney, cause you're pissed off. "Here's your fucking hair!!" Yes, I carried a knife. No I don't do that anymore. I am totally safe and unarmed most of the time. I had to go to therapy to learn to open up about this stuff. With the strangest cancer doctor you could ever imagine. Let's just say it involved my pet parrot Curley and lying on a floor in a dark room with the doctor while giant stereo speakers vibrated the theme from Chariots of Fire. No, this really happened, and it for real helped me. So here I am years later doing the full oyster.
This time I'm not the sick one, but I still need to be able to let the people I know through this blog, know what's happening here at home so I can go on my merry, snarky way, cooking and writing with a clear conscience and not become a seething rage monster. Alan suggested I do this, as he'd seen too many flying irons back in the day when I was sick. One thing I learned is that people having chemo shouldn't try and punch holes in the wall no matter how good their hair is or how angry they become.
So now that I'm putting this out there, I feel a whole lot better and no longer feel I'm putting up a false front, blogging about Indian food and la la la la la while cutting my way through a jungle of emotions with a busted machete. Laughter and talk and honesty is the best thing for me every goddamned time. My mother taught me that. At least the laughter part.
She called me this morning. "Do you think that doctor thinks we're a couple of wackos?"
"Bet she talked about us when she went home last night."
"Bet your ass you're right ma"
"About that parking...you think they validate?"
Let your freak flag fly ma. I'm gonna.
What 's up next? My big fake G&T just in time for the 4th of July, plus instant pickles! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori