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The Show Must Go On

"Is this the final act"
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The final act.

Today, on February 24th of 2017, we open another play. It's Billy Elliot the Musical. I have the role of George, and it's the biggest part I've had since I started acting in plays. This one will be the fourteenth that I've been a part of since I began with A Kansas Nutcracker. That was in December of the year 2013. 

In this past December, I was in Nutcracker: A Kansas Ballet. This version of our local Nutcracker offering was all dance this year with no dialog. In the past, a great portion of it had been using dialog to create the scenes. This year it changed, and I was part of that, dancing in the party scene at the start of the play.

So we have another opening night tonight. And we will have six performances over the next two weekends. My sisters will be here on this coming Sunday, watching with my wife. Great fun, don't you think?

The final show will be on Sunday, March 5th. On March the 7th I begin another round of chemotherapy.

During this past November and December, I underwent three cycles of chemo. After one month I had a CT scan, and it showed that the targeted cancerous lymph nodes were shrinking. That was good news. But by January the 6th I was not doing so well with the chemo. My oncologist decided to end the infusions. Yesterday she told me that she had thought it was going to kill me if she let it continue.

While I was going through the chemo, I was also rehearsing and then performing in the Nutcracker play. My weekly ballet lessons were continuing, as well. And, of course, I was writing. Not as much as I have done in the past. But I tried to create stories and poetry as often as my situation allowed. 

The cancer center emphasized that one should try to continue with a normal life and routine while undergoing the treatment. I tried to do that with the priceless help of my wife.

Anyway, as that round of chemo was ending, I was auditioning for this current play. I was lucky enough to get a good part. We spent most of January and up until now with rehearsals. During this time I've been getting tests and consulting with a surgeon. If the cancer had shrunk enough, perhaps surgery could remove the last of the tumors.

A PET scan three weeks ago appeared to show that no cancer had spread to other parts of my body. It seemed to be localized in the region where my kidney had been removed in August 2015. It was a recurrence of the renal cancer, but it had not metastasized to other organs or areas of my body. So I was hopeful that surgery could get rid of it for good.

The surgeon decided that it would be a much better option to continue with more chemotherapy in hopes that it would give eventual surgery a better chance at an actual cure. 

My oncologist thinks this is a good route to take and so we will begin the therapy anew. This time I will be giving it my full attention. I've agreed to forgo auditioning for any more plays. My wife doesn't need to work any harder than she has. Perhaps she can have some time to relax even while I am going through this therapy once more.  

So this may be one final act. I am convinced it will not be the last final act.


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