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. An unlikely survivor. The Actual Dance is the story of that experience from my perch. The husband. This the 4th year of my October daily blogs, my focus is a bit more on myself
Day 29: Listening. “Even today, October 29, 2018, I listen. I listen with my heart where my love sits for the ever so slight change in the balance of the universe that would indicate that a new and different orchestra has been called to form. Is that them playing?”
Susan is alive and well today. I was ready. As I related yesterday, after my meeting with the psychiatrist I felt prepared to be with Susan as she took her last breath. The drama was to learn what exactly the new and unexpected lump on Susan’s post double-mastectomy chest meant.
"If, as everyone expected, it was cancer. Susan's prognosis was grim." It turned out to be a water cyst, a plain old water cyst.
This story -- from diagnosis through chemotherapy -- occurred between April 2000 and May 2001. During the time since then her prognosis varied with differing and often inconsistent test results. Following the active treatment process, Susan was checked every three months for the first year, then every six months for five years and then annually for about another five years. About 7 years ago her oncologist released her as a patient.
I have learned that Susan and I experience her survival differently. Even today, 18-plus years later, I wonder if whatever pain or ache she may have is a sign that it is back. The Actual Dance ends with that emotion of an always wondering, listening for the possibility that it has come back. It is expressed by “Is that them playing?" repeated over and over as the play ends.
Susan on the other hand always tries to assure me that she does not have cancer. Our different approach is best expressed in this video called “Our Story.” Check it out.
Stat of the Day: As of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.
Task of the Day: Write your own story. If you are a caregiver or a person who has had cancer, write down your own story. Then seek out a local theater or story telling group and read it out loud, and then maybe you too can become a playwright.
Resource of the Day: Voices of Survivors. What do others say about their survivorship? Here are some web resources: Voices of Survivors , Becky Olson, Celebrity Survivors And a website all about cancer survivorship.
The Actual Dance: Performances Donate