Improvisational Theater

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

July 20th, 2014

Ten days ago I had cancer forcibly removed from this apartment of my body. A sleazy ex boyfriend who wouldn't leave on his own. He left resentfully, went through pathology like a strung out drug addict being processed at county jail. Cancers lost hope. Sitting alone in some cold dead cell, holding onto some tiny artifact he was able to swipe from my apartment on his way out. Occasionally cancer calls collect from jail, trying to convince me we will get back together eventually. I don't have to take his calls. Cancer is much easier to ignore when he's not lounging comfortably on your couch.

Living Wabi Sabi

I am cracked in so many ways, tiny fissures, veins, rivers ripping through me. And each crevasse, cranny, chink, and chip I've filled with solid gold. I am so broken, so shattered that I light up my world. I have so often ruptured and so often repaired that I am now stronger than any never broken thing. And there is nothing just like me in the world. And there is nothing just like you.

Cancer & Comedy: A Documentary by Ben Schorr (Is any of that spelled right?)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Word Origin & History

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Empathic Attention

"Creating strong storytelling scenes requires a great deal empathic attention. Every raised eyebrow is a brush stroke. Every clenched fist, and softening mouth. Seeing each brush stroke is not essential for seeing the picture, but it certainly gives it depth, it gives it poetry, it gives it story. Feeling each brush stroke further deepens meaning. My eyes and ears are tuned into the same channel. I am listening with my whole body."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Surprising Sunken Grade on an Already Bumpy Road in a Poorly Running Vehicle

Today my family and I were shaken by surprising news for my insurance company. On the eve of the double mastectomy we have planned and prepared for over the past five months, the insurance denied coverage.  They agreed to cover a simple mastectomy of the right breast, wherein grows aggressive ductal carcinoma and cancerous lymph nodes but refused to cover the removal of the left breast, despite evidence of precancerous cells, abnormal tissue growth and the risks associated with being premenopausal.  It is a verified fact that leaving the left breast increases my odds of reoccurrence by 40%.  As a young mother of 4 children, two of which are under the age of ten, a 40% risk is too high. My medical team agrees.  They have spent many hours today in argument with the insurance company to no avail. I was given three options:
Option #1. Accept the denial of coverage and have only the right breast removed tomorrow, leaving the left breast in all its precancerous glory to very possibly develop cancerous tumors within the next few years. I would thusly have to go through chemo, surgery and radiation again at that time.
Option #2. Cancel tomorrows surgery and wait possibly several months while appeals are filed, processed, and considered. Leaving both breasts, one with active aggressive ductal carcinoma, on my body during the waiting period with no guarantee that the appeals will be successful. This waiting time may require that I re-start chemotherapy, which may later be argued as an unnecessary personal choice, therefore not covered by insurance.
Option #3: Raise $5,000 now, to pay for surgery to continue as planned. Raise more to cover another surgery scheduled for September.
After careful consideration and with the expressed encouragement of my medical team, we chose Option #3.
We have spent the day reaching out to friends, family and the world at large for support both spiritual and financial.
Anything you can spare to help us through this ordeal, be it energy and well wishes, money, or both, is desperately needed and gratefully appreciated.
Any money donated that is not used directly for medical care will be dedicated to household and family care expenses. These expenses include food, mortgage payments, utility bills & childcare. As you can imagine, we are stretched incredibly thin to cover these necessary costs during this trying period.
Thank you for your support and encouragement. We intend to pay forward your generosity once we are out of the cancer woods and can return energy to our community.
Please find a PayPal button in the top left hand corner of my blog page to make a donation.
Again, we thank you so much.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Navigating CANCER: The Ultimate Improvisation

 Star date: Monday - February 10th, 2014 10:00 am PST
I noticed a lump in my right breast while showering.


Star date: February 14th, 2014 (Valentines day) 10:45 am PST
Nurse practitioner: "I'm concerned and am sending you for a mammogram, right now."


5:30 pm PST-
Radiologist: "This is cancer we're looking at. 99% positive."


Star date: Monday February 17th, 2014 8:45 am PST
Oncologist: "You have an aggressive form of Breast Cancer. We need to begin treatment promptly."


In retrospect, I recognize how my professional training sculpted me to best navigate those first few days. In the moment, it was all a blur. But it was a blur of YES AND's that keep me even keeled at a time when it would have been totally reasonable for me to feel otherwise. I was calm, relaxed and ready. Like walking into an improvised scene. I was listening. I was focused.  They said "cancer" and I said "how high", metaphorically. What I really said was "Okay. So I have cancer and we're going to move forward." Because I am an improviser and not an Oncologist, I couldn't make the next "move" in a give and take kind of way. It was just like being a passenger in a scene you can't quite get the direction of. You just listen and join, listen and follow, listen and join. And that's what I did. There is no blocking, "you have cancer". You can't say, "No! You have Cancer." or "Not anymore. Wanna ride bikes." or "You're crazy. Time for your pills." You just HAVE TO accept it. Then you have to join the action, (period). The more one flails about trying to negate the cancer offer, the further one dips into delay, idling, stalling or regulating. None of those things are useful. None of those things move you forward. This was a case of first accepting, THEN understanding my role and not vice verse. Blind trust. This was a scene wherein I seemingly had no power, but only seemingly. As we improvisers know, there is an immense power in relaxed readiness. There is an ultimate power in following, joining, supporting and trusting. Without those skills I could have spiraled into doubt and fear, questioning, irrational thinking, irresponsible action...etc. This is not to say I didn't experience strong emotional reactions. I did. A lot. But I did so with my mind and body tuned into the moment. I reacted authentically to each offer, one at a time and was surprisingly able to keep myself from leaping, lurching into fantasies of impending doom, invented dangers or any other world of tomorrows. I have always know that the work I do is life affirming. I have long known that the necessary skills of improvisation translate loudly to the necessary skills for life. They teach balance like nothing else can. I am so grateful to the work I do, so thankful for its gifts.
In this time, Star Date: Monday, March 17, 2014 8:00 am PST,
I am an Improviser to my core. An Improviser who will beat Cancer without losing focus, without losing spirit, without losing myself.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Love Harder

"Love Harder" has long been my moto. If something is hard, love it harder. If someone if being difficult, love them harder. If you can't love something, love it harder. And above all else, love yourself hard as you can, every chance you get. It's been the answer to each and every stumble, scuffle and snag. And it's always been the successful avenue. Sometimes it takes me a moment to get there, but once I do. I can resolve any amount of fear, doubt, anger with ease and grace. Today I plan to love chemo so hard. I will focus on its gift. I will focus on the faces of all the others in the room plugged into the same drugs. I will focus on you, my friends and family who are so glad Chemo is there to kill the cancer. I will focus on you my friends who are willing to hold my hand physically and metaphorically. I am going to love the nurses, love the chicken broth, and love my bravery, love my body and accept healing with my whole heart. That is how today is going to go. LOVE HARDER

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Parker: The Next Adventure! (For this one, I definately need back up singers.)

Friends, a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with a surprisingly aggressive breast cancer. I guess the word "surprisingly" is unnecessary, as cancer is just surprising. I have begun chemo, have terrific oncology and naturopathic support, but will face surgery and radiation before the fight is won. I feel balanced about the ordeal, angry, sad, scared, optimistic, able, ready...etc. The international improv community has shown enthusiastic support and encouragement. Encouragement I don't need so much, as I've had quite enough, "Be strong"s and "Kick it's ass"s. What I really need is love sent on the wind and CASH MONEY. To get the care I need I must raise a minimum of $10, 000. I've never even seen that much money. If you are in a position to help financially there are many ways to do this. To stay in the loop please join Breast Cancer Support Group EVER! on facebook. And if you'd like to send money directly to my hands, please private message me for my address. There are no adequate words to describe my profound gratitude. If you're sending love on the wind, know that my love box is always open. Wait, what? No, I don't mean my... I mean, I think wind in the love box is hilarious, but just not what I meant. You get it. Thanks again, Domeka Parker