And the news is…
A play by T. Myers
Setting: A minimalistic- nearly empty stage. You see a hospital bed, a desk with a chair on either side. An arm chair and a Mike stand.
Maggie- middle aged woman with a story to tell
Cancer Center Volunteer, others:
Maggie: Hello! Can you hear me? Testing…Testing…1- 2! Oh! Okay, here we go… I am here today to share what the latest news is! We all want the latest news. Don’t we? Well I always have and here is what I know-now!
(Maggie moves towards the bed and pushes it out to the front. A doctor joins her as she climbs into bed and covers up. Takes a sleeping pose)
Doctor: (Poking her gently) Maggie? Wake up Maggie. I have some news to share with you?
Maggie: (Coming out of her post-operative stupor to listen) What is it, Doctor T?
Doctor: We got the tests back from the labs on the tissue samples we took the other day. They have found a granulosa cell tumor in the right ovary and in the tissue I scraped from the pelvis. I expected that the left ovary would be a problem but it wasn’t. So I will let you go back to sleep and I will be in for rounds later. Okay?
Maggie: What’s the prognosis, Doc?
Doctor T: We have some research and then some thinking to do and I will let you know more- later. I am so sorry Maggie. The news is not good. (He leaves)
(To the audience)
Maggie: Now, I have known this Doctor for years. I also have studied enough biology to know that an OSA or an OMA on the end of a word means something very serious. Have I just been told that I have cancer? I think I have. Of course everyone has left town. The family all went home this morning. What am I going to do? I am all alone!
(Nurse enters and avoids looking at Maggie)
Nurse: Just checking to see if you need something. (She doesn’t check on anything and leaves)
Maggie: (To audience) Did you all see that? She was checking on me to see if I fell apart or even realized what the news was that the doctor brought me. She couldn’t even look at me! I have cancer. Dammit! Why was I so good in science? (Maggie gets out of bed and moves towards the desk while the bed is moved back. The Doctor comes back in and the two of them sit down.)
Doctor: So, we will want to go back into surgery in a week or two to look at your surgical site and we need to remove your gall bladder. After that we will set up your chemo. You need to get your affairs in order so you are ready for whatever happens.
Maggie: (Turns her body to the audience) Get my affairs in order?
Doctor: I have an oncological surgeon who will perform the next surgery and I will be there with him, so we won’t miss anything! You need to make an appointment to see him. By the way, your tumor is very rare. There have only been 14 of them recorded…
Maggie: (Standing) Oh, goody! Rare, get my affairs in order and now another doc- who I do not know, wants to see me. (Doctors switch)
Doctor 2: Maggie, the cancer panel has come up with a plan for you after your next surgery.
Maggie: What is the prognosis, Doctor?
Doctor: If we don’t find anything else, the news is that I can say that a stage four ovarian cancer is between 6 and 18 months on the average…
Maggie: (Standing facing the audience) Bam! Bam! Both Barrels! (To the doctor) Other than my gall bladder, is there a reason you are going to operate?
Doctor 2: We need to remove the gall bladder or you won’t make it much longer. It is full of stones. We know that already.
Maggie: (To the audience) So, if I don’t get the gall bladder out I’ll die from that, but I have cancer that is already killing me so…what is he really saying? (To the doctor) Well, you are the doctor!
(Maggie moves back to the bed and the doctor leaves and Doctor one comes back in to bedside)
Doctor: We checked out the entire pelvic area. We took several of the lymph glands to test, but, the big news is that the gall bladder had 236 stones and they were already into the duct. Within a few weeks, you would have had a liver shutdown for sure. Now, you’re good to go!
Maggie: (To the audience) Good to go to what? Oncology?
Doctor: We found a woman who has made it through her chemotherapy. She lives in Germany and the Italians that worked her over, did a great job and we will use their protocol. After a year of regular chemo, she is still alive! That’s good news, right?
(Doctor leaves and Maggie is in the bed when another man comes in)
Husband: I need money for a new truck.
Maggie: (To the audience) This is my husband. He left me not long ago, because I was sick. I sold the house and moved the money from our joint account into a new account in my name. Now he wants money? (To the man) I will be in the hospital for a few days. We can talk after that, but not now.
Husband: I have the truck ready to go and I wrote a check and it bounced.
Maggie: For how much?
Husband: The full 19K
Maggie: You won’t get any money from me for the truck.
Husband: You $#@>&*#! What did you do with the house money?
Maggie: (to the audience) He doesn’t know that after I cashed the check and deposited it in front of him in the local branch of the bank, I continued down to the next town and moved it a half an hour later into a personal account of my own!
Husband: At least I won’t have to put up with you for much longer, you cancer ridden *#?))*!
Maggie: (to the Audience) Of course I had already pushed the nurse’s call for help button and just as he finished his tirade, the nurse was in the room and a moment later two armed security men were there to escort my husband away. Bam! Bam! Bam! But something interesting happened. Right then! I knew I had to make it! I was going to make it! I remember saying something to my husband AS HE LEFT THE ROOM BY FORCE: “I’ll tap-dance on your grave before I die!” Mad was a good thing!
Maggie: (Move back to the desk and pretend to sign papers) I left the hospital and met with my attorney about a will- and a divorce -and prepared for the many courses of chemo I would take.
Doctor: (Walks in to the desk) You will go into the hospital every three weeks for an overnight stay to get treatment and follow it up with daily infusions until the cancer count goes down and then weekly infusions until we are sure that we have it. It looks like the second surgery showed no involvement with the lymph glands, but we are not taking any chances. We are going full throttle on this!
Maggie: (to the audience while raising her finger and moving it in a circle) Yay! (To the Doctor) Will I lose my hair?
Doctor: I am afraid you will lose your hair and your strength and your immunity to everything. (Hands her a pile of pamphlets) Read through these and go and talk to your oncologist if you have questions. His nurse can help you on the phone. But, Maggie, I will also be there right along with you, through this next period. You are gonna beat this thing!
Maggie: Yay! (Again- Moving to the center of the stage) My sister had my children while I worked through the treatments and healing. I had my dogs to keep me moving around on my out of hospital days- There is nothing like picking up dog piles to keep a person going! It sort of grounds you – as it were ! ! ! Lucky for me they never talked back if I complained and always were happy to see me as my body went through its major changes in appearance. Before I knew it- a year was over and I was ready to go to work full time. (Move to the desk where the boss is handing papers to Maggie and she puts them in a briefcase) I waited until my hair was a couple of inches long and had it styled in a new short sophisticated cut and went back to teaching full time. I got the kids back and life was returning to normal.
Maggie: (Looking pensive) Normal? How can anyone’s life be normal after going through what I went through? It cannot! But, there is a new normal that you find- along with worrying about every bout of flu or the weird aches and pains you get while you recover. Your hair grows back and it is different. Your body feels like it is different, too. Parts are gone. And without estrogen replacement hormones, the hot flashes can be a real challenge. (Pick up a briefcase and other stuff)
(She is moving real close to the middle of the stage to deliver the last comments):
Maggie: It takes years, going in for the tests after a month, then three, then six, then a year and so on until that day when you have made it past the time you were supposed to die, until you feel like you can live. And here is the weird thing; all of your fears are not about being afraid to die. It is more about being afraid to live! So, people, here’s the dealio! You just keep on keeping on until you get to today and you chalk all of the days up until you get through the year and you thank God and your family and friends for sticking by you. That is when you will know…(starts to walk away and comes back and leans out to the crowd)
Maggie: That is when you will know that the news is … good! (She walks off stage right) Finis
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