Release Date 2020
An opera singer's facial cancer ~
A life transposed
REARRANGED tells of leaving the operatic stage for a starring role opposite the Big C. Bone cancer in my cheek ended my career as an opera singer and brought me face to face with mortality, disfigurement, the meaning and uses of beauty—and a lot of left over pieces.
A small corps of medical elites convened to excoriate my diseased bones with surgical wizardry and lethal toxins, and stayed on to restore me to myself through a brutal alchemy of kindness and titanium screws.
REARRANGED is a tale of letting go to hold on, of putting old pieces to new uses—and of the unlikely arrangements that make it all work.
Adriamycin, or, Go to Sleep, Kid
IN THE HOSPITAL, sleep is wakeful at best, and waking is always sleepy.
“Shut your eyes, Kid, and get some sleep,” said my handsome night nurse at about three o’clock in the morning.
I closed my eyes for him, tall and manly, a shock of mahogany hair and the voice of Gregory Peck.
“What’ll it be, Kid?”
“Red Devil, please. Neat. With a twist.”
He refreshed my cocktail, speedily and with a muscular courtesy, like the best of bartenders. Adriamycin, a chemo classic, also known as Doxorubicin, is the one that weakens the walls of the heart. Adriamycin is pink in the IV bag—pink going in and pink coming out, a daily valentine in the porcelain bowl. "The Red Devil." This is good to know ahead, because nobody wants to see that pee pinked by anything else.
Oh, with what elegance and wit would I have answered this tall man who reached across the ambiguous night to call me Kid—had I not been the hairless, one-eyed, sweaty pile of pus-crusted hospital johnnie that I was that night.