Wit, a.k.a.”W;t”

From Wit W;t

Having gotten permission from director Megan Tyner, I went to see Wit (a.k.a.”W;t”), Bethel’s spring drama during dress rehearsal Wed. night. I deliberately went to a dress rehearsal rather than a public performance because I was uncertain what my own emotional reaction might be.

From Wit W;t

Wit is the story of a college English Professor’s journey from diagnosis till death from advanced ovarian cancer. Vivian Bering, at the top of her game, a scholar of some renown and a professor known to be “tough”, embarks on the lonely, painful route of chemotherapy, embarrassing invasions of her body by former students, endless tests/scans, and inviolable clinical trials; accepting the “full dose” for eight full rounds of a new drug in trials. Science will learn much from the unsympathetic processes of it’s clinical trials and go on to help thousands. Hopefully, medical researchers and practitioners (and we in the audience) will also learn something from patients like Vivian. Something about choice, control, advance directives, and respect for the place of the patient in this process; after all, it is their story.

From Wit W;t

I did not cry, though I was well-prepared. I had seen the movie years ago and knew what to expect. Maybe it was the added maturity of years since last viewing the movie, maybe it was because taking photos put up a “wall” between me and my feelings, or maybe it was just because I have no illusions about my own disease (stage 3C ovarian cancer) and most probable outcome. As my husband said, Vivian’s experiences rang true with what he has observed; after all, we’ve been through most scenes – except that last one…

From Wit W;t

The play, with a suitably austere set, allows the audience to focus on the characters and the feelings being played out on stage. The age-appropriate actors add a layer of authenticity to the production. The script is well-written, showcasing wit on several levels. The wit of the script carried me along and kept me from being bogged down in Vivian’s pain (I’ve enough of my own…), pulling me out just in time. Some student actors are not as strong in their roles as their more experienced Thespian elders, yet the overall performance is well worth your time and ticket price.

From Wit W;t

Take seriously the surprise with which Vivian is caught with this full-blown metastatic disease. Look for more information and listen to your own body tell you what’s not quite right. The medical profession is not all-seeing/all-knowing; twice my gynecologist in India could find nothing wrong. You may have to initiate the conversation about ovarian cancer and push to have your ambiguous symptoms taken seriously – or at least noted and tracked. Over 70% of ovarian cancers are not diagnosed until stage three or four, when the prognosis is much less positive and the treatment much more difficult. While there are many new drugs on the horizon, there has been no substantive improvement in survival rates for the last 30 years. It’s all about early diagnosis. Which means it’s all about you taking responsibility and making sure your concerns are heard.

Wishing you peace and good health,
Cookie Wiebe

For more information about ovarian cancer symptoms see this earlier post: “Since Last March: A Year Living With Cancer”

For more information on clinical trials, read this earlier post: “All My (clinical) Trials”


Since I last posted, I’ve added three essays on the American response to Bin Laden’s death and one from the latest Mennonite Weekly Review, “A Budget to Protect the Poor”. all on Press This. Be sure to check out both Press This and my Movie page between posts. I’m behind on the movies…we watched a Czech one recently that I haven’t put in a plug for… Too busy working on photo captions for the Final Friday photo exhibit in June!

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13 Responses to Wit, a.k.a.”W;t”

  1. Cate and Jack says:

    Dear Cookie and Dave, We have continued to follow your many postings and have been grateful for being kept up-to-date. We have even watched one of the movies you wrote about early on.
    You are in our prayers daily and we often speak of our time together last year. Your Grace and calm are an inspiration to us all. Love from Evanston C and J

    • cookie says:

      Dear Jack and Cate,

      We owe you so much for your incredible generosity while we were in Delhi, I don’t know what we would have done with out you two and the opening of your home. I saw that you are signed up for the WOSA reunion in July. If I’m well enough…I’d love to just show up to say “Hi”! We miss Woodstock a lot and the transition has been difficult. We are surviving on the love and prayers of family and friends. Hopefully, Dave will be able to find a job for the next school year. Otherwise – we’re up a creek! In the meantime, we just keep paddling…

      Cookie

    • cookie says:

      PS I’m curious – which movie, and what did you think of it?

      Cookie

  2. Caprice Becker says:

    The report from my favorite Bethel thespian was that your conversation with the cast after rehearsal was powerful and informative. An added lesson for those with less life experience. He also said it looked like Dave was having a tougher time than Cookie. Not surprising. After all, he can only watch. And in the end, who is left to pick up the pieces? You and yours remain in our thoughts and prayers.

    • cookie says:

      Cappy,

      It’s a really well-done play. I was actually surprised at how unemotional the experience was for me, I really expected to dissolve into tears, if not downright sobs. But then, if I haven’t done so otherwise by now – why should I think I’d cry now? I do cry, but not a lot, and generally not for me. I cry for my family…

      Love,
      Cookie

  3. amritajohn says:

    We continue to pray for you, the Lord loves you and will give you strength to continue basking in his glory.

    • cookie says:

      Dear Amrita,

      Thank you for your note. It’s so good to be remembered by so many at Woodstock. I think your word choice, “basking”, is quite accurate. I am basking – lying contentedly – in God’s care, only because (I believe) of the prayers of so many on our behalf. Bless you all.

      Cookie

  4. Sareena says:

    You are in my prayers always…. Miss you…

    • cookie says:

      Oh Sareena, I miss you too…………………………… You and Vimmi made that job a good experience for me and I am very grateful for that.

      Love,
      Cookie

  5. Ray says:

    We’re still following your walk with God, still praying. Ray & Julie

  6. Alison M says:

    Dear Cookie,

    Thank you for sharing about this play. These photos bring back memories for me.

    I’ve thought about you a lot since you and Dave left Woodstock. My inspiration for coming over here was my aunt who fought a courageous battle with breast cancer (and then everywhere cancer) until July 2009. Your outlook and comments remind me of her: insightful, honest, transparent, and brave.

    Thanks for sharing so much of your life with so many.

    – Alison

    • cookie says:

      Thank you Alison for your note and your prayers. Cancer is not a journey that anyone should have to go through, yet, God can still use this experience somehow. Sometimes, that is enough comfort.

      Love,
      Cookie

  7. Thank you for sharing your heart, Cookie. We’re praying for you, and loving you from Iowa!

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