Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Big C

Ever since I was diagnosed with melanoma in January, people have asked me if I watch the Showtime series the big C. Assuming it was going to add to my sadness, I avoided the show. I did not want yet another thing to make this experience more real than it already is. When I saw some of my melanoma buddies discussing the series on Facebook, I decided it was time to check it out.

First of all, if you do not have a dark sense of humor, you will not like this show.

I, of course, love it.

The very first episode shows Kathy, actress Laura Linney, discussing her stage IV melanoma diagnosis with her oncologist (who Kathy refers to ask her dermatologist at first. Denial?)  Dr. Todd hands Kathy a brochure, she says, "What's this?" He tells her that it's an alternative treatment for melanoma. She blurts out, "Crap. I thought it was a cure." While laughing, I thought to myself, man...don't we all!

I have only watched three episodes so far, so I don't know too much about the show itself, but I am falling in love with the characters. You have Kathy, who although she refuses to tell her family about her condition, realizes that she does not have a long life ahead of her. What does she do? Everything she wants to do! She goes a bit over the top....She attempts to build a pool in her front yard without permits, she cashes in her 401 because she knows she will not be alive to use it at age 65, she buys a brand new Mustang, she makes friends with her grumpy neighbor, and she is followed around by a dog who "smells cancer." Apparently Marleen's, the grumpy neighbor, husband had cancer and the dog would follow him around as well. When Marleen learns that the dog is attached to Kathy, she asks what kind of cancer Kathy has. Caught off guard, Kathy tells her. Marleen says, "Cancer is a mother fu*k*r." Well, yes, Marleen, it is! Then there is Kathy's homeless brother who is determined to save the world. He is endearing.... Kathy's son is a normal teenage boy who thinks his mother is literally bat-shit-crazy. Kathy's husband is the immature, messy, but sweet man who loves his wife. I am still in the very beginning of the series so I am curious to see how the characters grow!

I realize that some people probably find this show ridiculous...Kathy goes way over the top in her actions, but don't we all go a little crazy sometimes? I love that the writer of the show picked melanoma as the cancer since not that many people realize how serious it can be. I love that the show can make me laugh in ways that could cause a cancer free person to think I am a bit of a nut myself!  I love that I find myself relating to a lot of Kathy's emotions...

But boy...I sure am jealous over her super cute Dr. Todd! I think we should all have one.

Back to watching the show! XO!

*I watched more of the show last night. Kathy has found her desire to fight! This makes me extremely happy...Because melanoma is so tricky, she has limited options. (Obviously this show began before Yervoy and other medicines were available.) Because Kathy has had no previous treatment, she is no eligible for any of the available clinical trials. This hit VERY close to home. You can be sick but not sick enough for certain trials. Watching Kathy cry when she hears that she was rejected from a clinical trial was hard. I remember having a very similar reaction.

I have heard people complain that the show is not realistic enough, it does not show the scans, the blood work, etc. For me, that is OK because I know first hand what a cancer diagnosis consists of. I think if I saw it played out on the big screen, it would hit too close to home. I have lived the real life version...For now, I am enjoying the humor in the show, the relationships between the characters, and I am enjoying watching Kathy find her desire to fight.

Watch it! Don't give up after the first few episodes. 


Becca said...

Ya know I started watching it too and have yet to finish the first season. It IS funny in alot of parts, but I was like "Where are all the scans? Where's the surgeries? Where are the treatments?". Instead she just says, "oh stage 4 metastatic. I'm dead, oh well". I have yet to hear of one person diagnosed stage 3 or 4 that doesn't immediately want to fight like hell to stay alive. Also, the one episode where she takes off her clothes in the backyard and basks in the sun? C'mon. You and I both know she wouldn't do that. We HIDE from the sun now.

I will admit, the humor IS great, and I guess I just need to separate myself from fact vs fiction. I may go back to watching the rest of it at some point. I guess the fact that it makes us laugh is enough reason in itself. :)

Shannon Fielding said...

I love it, too. The episode where she basks in the sun bothered me a bit, too. But you'll be happy to know that Kathy does eventually decide to fight and starts treatments. She even shows her surgery scar. I also love these characters. Laura Linney is great in this.

Kate said...

Great show, I'm hooked, but I was also wanting a little reality thrown in with the humor.....she looks amazing and healthy, and we don't see the scars, the scans, the chemo, the ugliness of this disease. Laura Linney is awesome, and this is a great show, actually the only series I watch.