The Actual Dance is a play that presents the events of the year 2000 from the point of view of the spouse of the woman going through breast cancer. From diagnosis to her life as a survivor, Susan Simon, my wife has endured. She is an unlikely survivor, at least according to her doctors. What is presented in The Actual Dance is the story of that experience from my perch. The husband. A man whose experience with breast cancer has been that it never turns out well. Moreover, death has been somewhat of a constant companion in my life. My memory of loss goes back to when I was 4 years old, with grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings, as well as parents, being lost to various diseases, but mostly cancer. My reaction to Susan’s diagnosis in retrospect is not surprising. Of course, in my mind, it never was going to end well. But I’m getting a little ahead of the story.
Day 6: “All of a sudden I am watching the scene unfold from above it! The only other time in my life that I had an out-of-body experience was when I was six years old and having my tonsils out.” The Actual Dance
This describes what happens to me as we see the doctor to get the results of the biopsy of what was supposed to “just plain old scar tissues.” It is proof perhaps of my point yesterday that the “buddy” role in the doctor visits probably needs more objectivity and distance than what I’m calling “the other person in the room.”
As we –Susan and I -- walked into the breast surgeon’s office to get the biopsy results of the tissue taken from the area of Susan’s breast that had felt “funny” to her internist, my eyes glanced down to a piece of paper with the doctors “crude drawings.” And I instantly knew … I KNEW … what it meant. And all I can remember now is “watching the scene unfold from above it.”
I was out-of-body, literally floating above the room as the doctor was explaining to both of us what it he had found and what it mean. I was down there too, at the table, and I was floating above, “my back almost touching the ceiling.” Susan, on the other hand, sat calmly at the table listening to the Doctor say that she had stage three breast cancer for three separate reasons: “The size of the tissue with cancer, the absence of margins, and because she had both in-situ and invasive cancer.”
Are Out of Body Experiences real? Was I hallucinating or was it real?
There is a lot of literature on the topic. Check here for a recent article some studies. And here for the paranormal field take. And here for what for Wikipedia says. Maybe it is just a stress reaction? And maybe it demonstrates how important it is to have a more dis-interested person at the table in these appointments.
Stat of the Day: Some good news. Breast cancer deaths have dropped 39% between 1989 and 2005
Task of the Day: Breathe. I learned that the best source of peace for me was in my breathe. I learned this from an amazing acting teacher and mentor Carol Fox Prescott. Check out her resources, which are aimed at acting students and are prefect for real life!
Resource of the Day: Another way to deal with stress is to walk a Labrynith. Check out this locator to find one near you. It is both spiritual and secular. Spiritual if you are inclined, simply a way to quiet the mind if not.
The Actual Dance: Performances. Donate.