2015 will definitely be a year that will never be forgotten. It has been a milestone and a turning point in the lives of my family. This has been the most challenging year of my and Marin’s life. Would we have had it differently? Of course, it would have been nice to have avoided ovarian cancer and all the uncertainty, the frayed nerves, the emotional distress on top of all of the physical issues that go along with such a journey… BUT… where we have come out on the other side is a place that has made the world a richer place to have survived to see. A place in which to continue to live and flourish.
(On our way to the New Years Eve Gala performance of The Merry Widow at The Metropolitan Opera, December 2014)
(On our way to the stage at the Venetian Room at The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, December 2015)
When Marin was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May we decided to keep a lower profile of her goings on as we had no idea what was ahead and wanted to keep the circle of friends who knew small so we didn’t have to relive every moment a multitude of times. I would send out update emails periodically to let our supporters know how Marin was progressing.
Marin’s determination to have a positive mindset and outlook on her outcome was instantaneous. No planning was done, no plotting, this was purely who Marin is and her instinct indicated she was to move forward in this manner.
Throughout the journey we have seen how important it is to:
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Breathe (one of the biggest things to survival in so many ways – consciously breathing)
- Focus on now
- And let the things that are out of your control exist and not make ourself crazy that we might not have control over everything.
Without going into specific examples of all of these points I’ll let one episode alone speak to all of their importance. It is the distillation of what I think is our greatest lesson we’ve come away with.
We look at this journey of healing in thirds. The first third was 12 weeks straight of chemotherapy, as you might recall from my previous blog we call it “Healing Therapy” sessions because despite the terrible side affects that can happen when the medicine is used, it still is a healing drug that can eradicate the cancer. Then after that first third there was a full hysterectomy and bowel resection surgery to remove the cancer that the Healing Therapy could not “melt away”. Then a final third that was another 12 weeks straight of HT to hopefully remove any remaining cancer cells.
During the second third, the surgery third, Marin was in her hospital room at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and just starting to come out of her anesthesia. IVs, tubes, wires, monitors… all kinds of gadgets and gizmos that us actors haven’t the faintest clue about, are monitoring my wife’s life force. This is one of, if not the best cancer hospitals in the country, so we were confident that we were in a good and safe place.
Marin had never had a major surgery in her life before so she had no knowledge of possible bad reactions to certain drugs. It turns out that the narcotics they were using, the really strong pain medication that they were giving her intravenously, she is extremely allergic too.
She’s started to complain about a shortness of breath, she asked me to get a nurse and by the time the nurse arrived Marin wasn’t able to breath deeply and her body was shaking as if she had just plunged herself into a frozen river – extreme convulsions. She couldn’t get a breath to be able to speak more than one belabored word at time.
Her mother sat in a chair near the foot of the bed frightened, looking on helplessly. Her brother stood at the foot of the bed trying to not rub her feet as it was annoying her. I stood next to her, holding her in my arms, with my hand calmly on the top of her head to try and give her all of the calm energy that I could radiate.
At that moment the only thing that mattered was being present, breathing in any manner that we could together, trying to remain calm as much as we could muster and allowing the very able, calm and loving nurse do what she had to do to help. It was all out of our hands.
She came through that episode but it scared the shit out of us. I would give anything to never have had to experience that and I hope nothing like that is ever in our lives again… BUT… whenever I feel an old urge to let certain things in life – show business related, physical dissatisfaction (aka fat-kid-syndrome), political rancor, religious shenanigans, petty issues great and small – bother me, I think of that episode and step back, breathe, acknowledge what’s happening and know that most of it is out of my control and let it float away.
To us that is a great gift to have received. We were of that mindset before but it will now forever be at the front of our consciousness and I feel it will make life richer and hopefully a little easier to journey through together.
Marin is inspired to somehow in someway share her journey with others in hopes that it might help them. Stay tuned for that. It’s certain to be wonderful.
Marin is a Broadway star and her talent shines bright but as many people have said that a great amount of her brightness as a star comes from her positiveness and the energy that is the human being, Marin Mazzie.
Her hair has changed, her physical appearance has changed slightly and I’m fascinated to see what the future holds for her because she is still Marin Mazzie but a new Marin Mazzie. The lyrics of Ed Kleban come to me, in an abstract way, “Who am I anyway, am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don’t know.”
At her core she is still the person we know and love but her experience has and will continue to shape the new person she is now.
Where to, from here?… To be continued.
These videos were emailed to Marin from various Broadway shows and tours to show their love and support. They were intended for her personal viewing but I think to share them with you, particularly at this time of year when we always seem to need a reassurance that there is still love and hope and support in humanity, that they might indulge me.
I couldn’t upload HAMILTON’s video as it was too large. Let’s just say that their love and the free-stylin’ raps from that cast are sure to make you feel like getting back to life.
Thank you for your emails, posts on Facebook, tweets, snail mail letters, gifts, donations, prayers, meditations, white light and good thoughts.
All our love for a happy and healthy new year to all!