Monday, November 5, 2012

Soul Pancake Production

So, I am going to be on an online show called "My Last Days," by a production company called Soul Pancake.  And, funny story about that - I don't have a lot of Soul, being a middle-aged white chick and all, but I used to have an avatar on a TiVo forum - it was a photo of me with a pancake on my head.  (Like the old pancake bunny, remember?)  And, I was talking with Ahmed,  the assistant producer, about my interest in tech and his interest in home theater systems and I asked him if he knew about AVS Forums, and he said he did.  Well, the forum where I had the pancake bunny avatar was under the umbrella of the AVS Forums and that means we both know Mike Lang, a mod on both forums.

Small world.  It all came together, didn't it?

So, this camera crew had been out filming with me at my house, with my family and they even went with me to pick up a prescription and grabbed one of my chemo nurses and my doctor's assistant for an interview, which was a big surprise for them, I'm sure.    They had been interviewing us all day and above is a picture of what the house looked like with them here, talking to my husband.   It was an amazing experience having a crew in the house asking us questions about death, and I think it really made my family think about the experience and what it meant to them for me to have a life-limiting illness, as we say.  We have talked about it a lot but in a more practical way, and this got them to thinking about it in a new way.

I want to thank Justin Baldoni, the director, Ahmed, the Asst. Producer and the entire crew, who were so sensitive and caring while they were filming (and some who have names I can't spell so won't try).   Please note:  there was one shot when I was sound asleep in bed and had that feeling that somebody was staring at me, you know?  I starting waking thinking it was the dog then I remembered, there is a camera crew in the house.  I opened my eyes and there was a camera, inches from my face, probably capturing a slo-mo of my drooling.

The power of cancer is such that I turned over and slept a couple more hours.

So, maybe my thanks should be reserved for after I see that scene, and if you noticed the crumbling grout in the bathroom, sorry but it can't be fixed right now and who are you to judge anyway?  I have a broken refrigerator that needs to be replaced first.

They were cool people and I think they are going to handle my situation sensitively and with care.  Watch the first episode.  It's short so won't take a lot of your time but you will be amazed at the wonderful family you see and the bravery of these young people is truly inspiring.  Sadly,  Ryan is now in hospice and their family is struggling financially so if you are moved to do so, please donate to them.

I also was treated to the second episode (I will be the third) and it was so beautiful we just sat stunned for a minute when it ended.   I have no idea how they are going to make my story as touching as those other two - they are young people dying before their time, and a lot of people will see my gray hair and go, "Girl, your time was over long ago, whatchu complainin' about?"

I said yes to this because I don't say no to new experiences any more if I can physically do them.  And, it was kind of hard having a crew in the house for two full days filming every thing you do and you know what?  You really don't want to be on a reality TV show, especially if you have dogs that want to steal every scene. But, I'm glad I did it and all of these people were wonderful and made it seem easy and not like an intrusion. And, they have the magic to turn night into day, it was really amazing.

All I have to say until I see it is Justin and Emily, you are perfect for each other.  You will make beautiful babies and if one is a girl, you can give her the middle name of Ann.

Not even after me.   Everybody's middle name is Ann.  Ask around.  :)


  1. I just watched the first episode and found it very touching. Any idea when your episode will be available?

  2. They said December 2nd, or 3rd. I forget already, darn chemo-brain. The next one is very touching too, it's hard to imagine myself portrayed along those lines.

  3. Your grace is inspiring Ann. Thank you for sharing with us

  4. Hi Ann,
    I first found out about you through an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I've been following your blog ever since. I think that you are an amazing woman who's doing a lot more with her life than many of us "not-sick" people who are just going through the motions of day-to-day living. God bless you, and it pisses me off immensely that your life is being defined as well as shortened by this disease.
    Love you, girl.
    P.S. The other common middle name? Marie. I'm Anne Marie. Everyone always says, "But that's my middle name!"

  5. Hey, another Anne, with her name spelled right! And, I used to tell people I wanted my middle name to be Marie.

    I know it doesn't come across, because I write about living with cancer, and these filmy things happen because I'm living with cancer - but I am not defined by having cancer.

    I am defined as a mom. These film things are fleeting and this blog will decay after I'm gone. Blogger will make changes that my template won't support and nobody will be around to fix it - links will break, etc. But my two children? They will be out in the world, being the good people I raised them to be, and that is how I define my life.

  6. You're right. As a mother of a 27 year old son, I consider raising him to be the accomplished young man that he is as my most important achievement.

    The unfairness of it all, though, still gets to me.

  7. Dear Ann (with her name spelled an alternate way) -
    Maybe the show is called "Last Days" but you will have years to live, IMHO. Your brain and intellect seem alive and well, you are smart enough about our shared disease and have a crack medical team that I do see "years."

    So please keep up the good work in showing the rest of the people how we can rise to this occasion with hearts on our sleeves.


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