The last three weeks…not so much. I’ve cancelled going to shows, going to a board meeting (some secretary I’ve been), and had to force myself to go to work, because I need to pay rent. Spending sleepless nights lying perfectly still, yet feeling my abdomen being wrung like a soaked towel. My gynecologist assured me that my endometriosis was under control. Which made the pain I was having more unbearable. I had known what was causing the pain, and now I didn’t anymore. What he said then was that many women who have endometriosis also develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The constant pushing and pulling by the endo lesions in the lower body wreak havoc on the lower intestine, which reacts with…irritation. So, I was referred to a gastroenterologist. That was in November. I called my gynecologist’s office in February to ask if my referral had gone through – it had. So then I called the gastroenterologist – they’re behind, but I was promised they’d call me to schedule an appointment in a couple of weeks. It’s now 23 March. I will rant elsewhere about Canada and Alberta’s public health care systems being gutted by our increasingly conservative governments. What I’m concerned about today is that, six years after being diagnosed with endo, thirteen years after realizing something was wrong with me, it’s not over. I haven’t tried cutting down on any specific foods yet, because – unlike what advertisers would have us believe – each person can have different triggers. That’s if IBS is what I have; I don’t even know yet. I thought last week, perhaps, raw spinach was a culprit. But I had some this past weekend, and I was fine. It’s not likely gluten, because I haven’t made any particular effort to cut out bread, pasta, or soup using gluten as thickener. And some days I’m good. Others, NOT. This Saturday, 28 March, is the EndoMarch at the Alberta Legislature, when all we “Endo Warriors” band together and tell the world that there is an insidious illness in 1 out of 8 women on earth, which has zero outward symptoms, but causes infertility, consistent muscle spasms and aches, depression, and OTHER illnesses, like IBS. And no one knows where it comes from, or how to stop it. Today, this second, I feel normal. Tomorrow? In twenty minutes? In five? … I don’t know.
So today I entered my BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) form, for my solo show It Started with an Allergy, into the Edmonton Fringe.
SO: from here on, all the proceeds from the online sales of my plays will go directly to putting on Allergy.
HERE is Crushed, which has now been produced in Edmonton and Fredericton in Canada, as well as in Florida, and soon Kingston-upon-Thames, UK. It has sold 40 copies to date (I’m told that’s unheard of for a less-known play in the great sea of the internet!) My goal is at least 50. Reviews here.
I’ve also got a fancy-pants DONATE button on my new FRINGE 2015 page, just because.
Yes, despite the winter, August is COMING…
I can’t do it in 24 hours, because I work until 5 pm.
Yes, the 2nd Annual Writeathon begins at noon tomorrow! Last year’s was…bonkers. Fellow writers made velcro out of their beards and resorted to lacing of warm drinks (and then just tossing the mix altogether and drinking straight out of the mickey). Oh, and we all did some writing and raised some (a crapload) of money to keep Alberta Playwrights Network ticking.
I haven’t been flogging the Writeathon at all. With this two months ago, and flareups of this, I’ve been lying low. Now, however, I’m going to write out the beast that is endometriosis and kick it across the room. I am re-writing It Started With an Allergy from beginning to end, and one way or another, I’m performing it (me!) at next summer’s Edmonton Fringe. If you’d like to see it, feel free to visit HERE.
I’ll see you when I come down from the caffeine high.
FIRST, I’ll explain.
Through work, I’ve been roped into doing a 5K – nothing I haven’t done before – this one is called the Climb for Hope, and it’s a fundraiser for cancer research. It’s known for the participants wearing…outlandish costumes.
There are over 20 of us from my office running and/or walking. Our team is called the Rock N’ Runners. And our goals are very modest – we’ve been asked to raise $100 each.
So, I’ll make a deal with anyone who reads this page, and would like to donate for me. Whoever donates the most will GET TO DECIDE WHAT I WEAR. And if you know me, you know I’ll do it.
I ask you to consider only one thing: it’s meant to be a family-friendly show.
So: DONATE HERE and pick!
I actually have PLAY NEWS.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s The Ugly Princess!!
AND HERE’S THE CAST
I’m a wee bit excited.
I’m going to try – and fail – to describe the Dramaworks workshop I was at for the last five days. Investigative Theatre, 35 hours in total, with Vladimir Shcherban, Associate Director of Belarus Free Theatre.
I knew very little about BFT before this. I had heard they’d done shows the government of Belarus didn’t like them doing, that some of their members had been arrested, and that they’d won several awards, including a Fringe First.
During those five days, I saw videos of two of BFT’s shows. (OH MY GOD, there aren’t words to describe how fantastic they are!). I acted out the days of the week, and got told “Good try” (after which I wrote in my notebook Don’t be hurt!). I sculpted my most horrible secret in plasticine (and everyone else got the feeling behind it), I took photos to show “Edmonton’s pain”, I filled my notebook with what Vlad said, and my own ideas for my solo show. He kept saying Бетон сітуацыя! – Concrete Situation! – that we each needed to get into what we wanted to show the audience, or else it would be dishonest. He talked about how it’s best and strongest to NOT talk, to find the object, the smell, the sound that would involve the audience – you’re not telling the audience anything, you are drawing them in. He said British theatre is wonderful…but they talk too much (!). The words are wonderful, but why do you have a body?
I came home every night to do my homework (lots), with my brain feeling like scrambled squid. And one thought in my scrambled brain…MORE, good enough isn’t good enough, MORE!
Rather than feeling inadequate and hopeless, I felt SMART, I felt yes, I’m right, I am still doing this!!
I also thought – and this is going to take a LOT of work – that I have to stop being afraid.
So yeah. It was farking amazing.
I will say first: I love to cook. I make killer chocolate trifle. The Ukrainian lady who gave me her recipe for borscht said I was a very good cook – high praise. I make cookies every year for Christmas presents, and people anticipate them.
But here’s the problem: When I cook for just me (which is almost always) I always make too much. If it’s something that doesn’t keep well – which happens often, because I like trying new recipes to prevent boredom – I end up throwing away most of it. So I find recently I’m not cooking as much. It’s a waste of money, and time. I’m…enjoying it less.
I have a Costco membership to get the cheaper gas, and it’s good for bigger things that you can store – paper towels, bottled juice, canned tuna. I’ve learned NOT to buy the single servings of amazing greek yogurt or hummus though…because I’ll only get halfway through the box before the rest expires.
Every now and then, I take myself out for dinner, and I’ve learned over time which restaurants are nice to single people, and which will treat me like a fast food customer because I take up too much space and don’t spend enough money. If a restaurant has a bar, I usually squeeze in there, and ignore the rowdy university students on either side of me while I drink ginger ale.
Yesterday, the pain came. Yes, this is how I know my endometriosis is back, when I’m in horrendous pain for NO REASON. It’s on days like that when I should really be eating home-cooked vegetables. But it’s on days like that when I feel least like cooking – which involves standing. So I end up eating take-out instead. Because there’s no one to cook for me, but me.
This would require finding a man who can cook. Which is reason #4 (of several) that my crush on this man hasn’t abated yet.
Since I’ve blogged about my endometriosis, and I had a minor revelation this weekend, it may be time to talk about my clinical depression. Yes, I’m a bag of laughs.
Once again, I have no idea how long I’d officially been depressed. I was diagnosed by my GP in 2001, and took citalopram and went to counselling for about eighteen months. This past fall, I noticed the symptoms creeping back – I was irritable all the time, headaches, insomnia…sudden crying. Now I’m taking escitalopram.
It helps. Most days, I feel normal – for a given value of “normal”, being a playwright and so on. I’ve previously had acquaintances question whether I should be taking meds. Given the choice between wishing this, or endo, on my worst enemy, I’d choose neither.
I take the escitalopram once a day, and like most medication, the idea is to take it at the same time every day, so the body has a consistent supply. Shortly after I started this one, I set myself a reminder on my phone to take it after dinner – I was forgetting in the mornings, and would sometimes miss it in the evenings if I was going out. And on the odd bad day, if I missed taking it, I felt as rotten as when I wasn’t taking it at all.
This past Friday, our executive director of APN, Trevor, was in Edmonton. I got home from work, had a quick dinner, and went to the meet-up. We talked shop from 7 till 10. Before driving home, I checked my phone, and realized I had missed taking my meds. It was fairly late, I felt fine, so I figured this one day would be okay. I got home and went to bed.
Then yesterday, Saturday, I got up, and went straight to writing. I’ve had an idea for a screenplay (uh huh) percolating, and this year’s deadline for Praxis’ Screenwriting Lab is 30 June. I wrote 35 pages yesterday. I was so excited about what I’d written, I was buzzing. I went out to get a taco salad for dinner, and when I got in and looked at my clock…I was late in taking my meds again! Two days in a row wouldn’t be good, so I took it right then.
I have never missed taking my meds two days in a row. I was perplexed by that. And it still wasn’t until I’d had a mini-facial with my volcanic face-mud from Iceland, and falling asleep with my cat under my arm, that it dawned on me: I had forgotten about taking my meds because I didn’t just feel fine. I felt happy.
I don’t like having to remember what happy feels like.