Saturday, January 23, 2010

Extreme Life Makeover

I don't want to jinx myself, but I gotta say: The second round of chemo was kind of no big deal. I wasn't nauseous, I didn't feel exhausted, I didn't lose my appetite, I didn't feel sad.

Isn't that peculiar? I don't feel sick. I actually feel pretty normal. It doesn't seem to add up. If I didn't know any better, I would think I was in great health!

The other day, I imagined I wasn't really sick, but instead I was actually involved in some sort of elaborate hoax.

Imagine if I were selected to be the unwitting star on a game show of sorts, like "Extreme Home Makeover", except maybe more like, "Extreme Life Makeover". Imagine if Neil sent in a video submission on my behalf, where he said something like, "Ty, my wife needs to start over. She's overwhelmed with housework and kids, and she seems to have lost a bit of her former joie de vivre. Let's SHAKE THINGS UP FOR HER!"

Then the wheels would be set in motion. Per the producer's instructions, Neil feeds me something that makes my "stomach hurt" and I go into the doctor. They give me "a colonoscopy" (not really) and say "You gotta have surgery!" (what do I know? I'm drugged!) Then they "do major surgery", and they use some very advanced makeup techniques on my abdomen to make it appear like I have a "major wound". This incredible makeup (designed no doubt by an Oscar-winning makeup artist) slowly morphs into something much more benign over time, giving the effect of "healing". They dope me up. They tell me "Here's your diagnosis!", and "You need to start chemo!" Then I go in and get (placebo) chemo.

BUT: their plan is working! Nothing has ever adjusted my perspective like this experience. Now I sit here, pondering everything I've ever done, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the people in my life, feeling a steely resolve to fight and be here for the people who need me, vowing not to let the stupid stuff in life (and most of it really is stupid stuff) bother me, ready to move on in an 150% more dynamic form I used to be.

Then at some point, all the "doctors" (really, paid actors) would rush in the room and the balloons would fall and Neil would run in with my family and all of you who have brought me dinners and written me cards, and we'd all drink champagne and laugh and I'd be in awe, trying to crack how they did it-- "So, wait, were those even my x-rays? THEY WEREN'T? AWWW! YOU GUYS!!"

The only unrealistic part of the above scenario (the ONLY unrealistic part) is that I never really took the happy stuff of my life for granted before. So I don't feel like I have a big "lesson coming my way". Regardless, I can honestly say, I've already learned a lot from this. I won't bother writing down my learnings at this point, because it will sound like a bad voiceover at the end of a Meg Ryan film.

But trust me, there are moments now where I feel downright WISE. (Lucrative book deal to follow.)


  1. I love it! And I think you're on to something. The tag line could be something like: "Making the World a Happier Place, One Person at a Time." I guess you'll just have to play along for now, but I'll be there when the balloons fall.

  2. Shelly--I hope in that long list, you are grateful for such a wonderful sense of humor, keen wit, and a gift for writing. I think, if nothing else, your extreme makeover should include a new career as a screenwriter.

    Even though we only spent a little time together during Julia's wedding, it was plenty for me to see your bright spirit and abundant strength. It's a gift to hear your reflections and know such a fantastic person is gaining even more goodness through this experience.
    Hallelujah! :)

  3. You are truly a goddess and a teacher to all of us Shelly!! Mini eggs and all. Thanks for sharing your beautiful funny creative heart and soul with us Shelly! We are blessed!

  4. Shelly-I saw Sydney at PCC today and she dropped the big news. She didn't realize that I had no idea that you were in the midst of this cancer and chemo process so she was telling me how funny your post about trying to get the high fat beverage at Starbucks was and I was obviously confused. What? Wanting to gain weight? Then she told me.
    I'm still in shock a bit, so I can only imagine how surreal (and hyper-real) it's been for you. But, your blog is amazing. Funny, well written, and so true. Keep strong and I hope to see you soon.