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  • Writer's pictureBurt Rosen

A night at the improv, and a whole bunch of randomness

I know I do my weekly health updates, but I haven't written anything in a while and needed to. Honestly, last week went from some pretty big highs to some pretty low lows. It felt like a yo-yo week. So, I thought I would let Charles Dickens sum it up best (and yes, of course, I paraphrased and added my own spin, but he still gets the credit for the concept):

It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of not really all that light, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of a little less (just a wee bit) hope--in short, the period was so far like the present period that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. (I don't know what this part means but it sounds smart so I left it in).

Thanks, Chuck (Dickens) I couldn't have summed it up better myself. So, lets stroll the week that was last week.

It started off with the monthly blood draw and visit with Dr. Pegna. My blood work was pretty good but those stubborn little F'ing platelets did not rebound the way he had hoped coming off of my additional chemo break. So, all aboard for the express train to surgeryville (most likely in early June or late May). To have surgery, one has to be off of chemo for at least two months prior. Since I will be on nothing, Dr. Pegna prescribed a monthly butt dart (shot in the butt) called Lanreotide. He also moved up my CT scan from 3/24 to 3/4.

Because I was heading back into the unknown, a place I hadn't been since August pretty much, I was a lot more anxious, didn't sleep well, etc. With the added fatigue, I tried to rest more. But guess what? The stinking insurance company decided nap time was the perfect time to tell me the Lanreotide was denied. So, out of bed I hope, call the Dr, call the insurance, call the Dr, and get to a plan with them. Ok, problem # 1 under control, not solved but at least all parties were working on it.

Friday I get my CT Scan. Now, when I get scanned, I always get 2 scans. One for my chest (since I've had spots there before) and one for my pelvis/abdomen where the bulk of my issues lie (pancreas, liver, lymph nodes, kidney). The good news was that the pelvis/abdomen came back quickly. I had small growth but nothing too bad, probably a factor of being off of chemo for a month. But Dr. Pegna wasn't worried.

So, of course, I lie down for a nap. But, since naps seem to be a trigger for everything annoying, I get the results from the chest scan right as I lie down. This one says they see something that I have to get checked out. Cue the freak-out. So, I get up, don't sleep, go on hold with Pegna's office, leave him a panicked message, and stare at my phone until he calls me back. He admits he isn't an expert on chest stuff but wants me to talk to a thoracic surgeon and is going to set it up for this week to figure out what to do. It felt like another gut punch. I just need a break from this shit. So, freaked out for about 24 hours after I spoke to him. Did a ton of research, and some soul-searching on my treatment plans and if I want to make changes and felt better. And then, everything shifted to a high (believe it or not, and the high isn't just to make this a Hollywood ending!)

I think I mentioned before that I have friends in an improv group. They invited me to be a storyteller at a live show on Saturday night. I did wonder for a while if I could do it given my mental state, but, in the end, said "fuck it" and did it. It was the best thing I've done in so long.

For starters, I asked them not to ask about my health on stage. I wanted the c-word off of the table for the night. They agreed. They asked me to introduce myself in 60 seconds and then asked the audience what they wanted to learn about me. The two audience prompts I remember were "tell us about your awkward teenage years" and "tell us how you picked your outfit for tonight". Here is the video of the first story I told to respond to those prompts.

They did a bunch of improv skits based on my themes (not recreating my story). My favorite was one that took place at the least Jewish restaurant in New York City.

After the skits, they came back to me for another story that was triggered by their skits. Here is story # 2.

The whole night was hysterical and completely different than what we usually do. It was the perfect distraction and as my mom would say, it changed the conversation for a while!

So, there is my up-and-down week story. I also continue to meet a ton of amazing people and be energized by so many people every day. Despite everything, I still consider myself a very lucky guy.

Thanks for reading!

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Mar 06, 2023

I like how you're chummy with Chuck Dickens. You two must go way back. What a week you've had, phew. From lows to highs. Not for the faint of heart, but kudos for putting yourself out there anyway and doing such a great job at improv! You're a brave, adventurous soul with a powerfully healing attitude towards life💥We love you, Burt! Thanks again for another informative health recap.

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