BWW Blog: Natalie Toro - Going Out on a Limb

BWW Blog: Natalie Toro - Going Out on a Limb

I'm not sure if it's Kosher to write about this subject, but the pang in my stomach is telling me to go ahead. I'm going to open up a can of worms. Obviously, my personal life is private, but is it? And why should it be when all of us go through some of the same things?

I have been pretty honest with my feelings here. So today, as I sit at The Memorial Sloan- Kettering Hospital in NYC while my mom is injected with Chemotherapy, it has me asking so many questions.

Why is it that SO many people have some kind of cancer? What is cancer and where did it come from? I certainly didn't expect to be spending hours and hours here on the East Side of Manhattan. There was never any cancer in my family not even in the outer circles of my ancestry. I mean, like going way back. Did it even exist back then? I'm sure if I Google it, there would be some sort of crazy answer we never knew about. Maybe somebody has proof that a dinosaur even had it. My main question is why? Why does it exist? And why is it running amuck amongst millions of people just in one year?

People a generation before me didn't have to start taking care of their parents until they were very elderly. As I speak to more and more people about this, I am finding out my peers are taking care of their parents already, parents that are 60 years old! And even little children have it. Why is this happening? Has the food and drug administration done something to our food and water?

You might have seen documentaries about how food is processed and how our meat and poultry farms are so sick. They pump and force-feed our animals with so many hormones and antibiotics. The amount of chemicals that are in our foods, household products and our skin care products are literally poison to the body. There are some countries that won't even trade with us cause of our toxic ingredients. And do you think those "X"s in the sky are because the pilots want you to see their artwork?

So, what is making us so sick? If you dig deeper than mainstream media to find the real truth, you'll find an abundance of information that is hidden from all of us. Sickness and disease is a huge moneymaking venture. It's incredible. We see it everyday. I see it every time I come to Sloan. I cannot believe how many people walk down these corridors. It's like a car wash. And you know, NO ONE is here for a COLD. It's overwhelming to watch. It's with a heavy heart that I sit in the waiting room with so many sick people of all ages.

I have spoken to several people that have come thru this hospital for one type of cancer or another; most said that their experience here was wonderful, that you will be taken care of by the staff. I was so happy to hear that. It's so hard to not have any fear of the unknown. But with tender, loving care, you just might get through the worst of it, right?
We have not reached the worst yet and hoping that the worst never comes. But our experience so far has not been with tender, loving care. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm the one that expects the type of kindness that I give. Maybe it's just our section of the hospital. I don't know? I'm new to all of this.

Imagine the Doctors and their staff with a gentle "coldness." It's so gentle that unless you are sensitive to people like I am, you might miss it. They are definitely doing their job. Yeah, it's obvious. My mom is reacting to the very aggressive treatment very well so far. So grateful for that. In fact, her hair fell out just after treatment number one. We joke all the time about her being bald. Like I tell her to stop using my curling iron. We keep my home a very happy one. She has moved in with me in my apartment and we are
co-existing very nicely.

But when we go in for treatments, we both get an ache deep within us. I mean, it's hard enough to go to these treatments, but it's even harder to know that it can be a disaster for your psyche, especially hers when there is a chill in the air by most of the people who work there. We had three treatments already. The first one was really amazing. Maybe cause it was the first time; they walk you through the process and the nurse we had from the Doctors office had been checking in on us all day. And I thought, all right! This is going exactly like all my friends had said.

The second and third time was not so good. There was a frenzy that made us crazy. If the appointment is at 2PM, why do we have to wait till 4:30 before they start? Why is 'my time" not so important? We lost that "first time only we are going to treat you right kind of feeling." We were forgotten, lost in the abyss. They forgot her lunch that everybody gets, forgot the appointment schedule that they are supposed to give me, forgot to fill a prescription of a pill that she needed and forgot to give her certain medication that is so important during the treatment. We were just forgotten, felt invisible while a sea of people where going in and out of the treatment rooms. It gives you some sort of clue when we are always the last one's there. We close the place. The Hospital cleaning staff is already cleaning the rooms. Most of the nurses have gone home. There is a ghostly silence in the waiting area.

I am not one to complain much, but I am going through a very different experience than my normal routine. My eyes have opened up so much since this whole thing started. I am learning that expectations will give you disappointment. It's making me deal with the world of Doctors, Nurses, hospitals and disease on a daily basis. Funny how, when they are exposed to my world of entertainment, it's their weekend, their time for escape and their time to laugh. It's a "feel good" feeling.

So for me, the most important lesson is that no matter what, it's my job to keep my mother in the best spirits I know how, no matter who gets in the way. We have a ways to go with her treatments and if this is what I have to expect every time we enter the hospital, then we shall go in doing a tap dance. If you want to know the whole story, visit my mom's website: www.giveforward.com/welovelucy

For everyone out there who is taking care of a parent or loved one, no matter what your profession, we are all in this together!

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Guest Blogger: Natalie Toro Broadway: Madame DeFarge: A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Eponine: LES MISERABLES, Sally: A CHRISTMAS CAROL; Off-Broadway: Senora Espejo: ZAPATA! La Bruja: THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD, Ginger: ZOMBIE PROM, Maria: THE AUDIENCE, Flora: MAGPIE; National Tours: Camila: IN THE HEIGHTS, Mary Magdalene: JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, Eva Peron: EVITA (Jeff Award nomination) Grizabella: CATS, and Rosalia: WEST SIDE STORY; Regional: Serena: EVERYTHING’S DUCKY, Tina McCoy: THE FIX, Renee: FRANCES OF GUERNICA, Mrs. Johnstone: BLOOD BROTHERS, The Narrator: ZORBA.

TV/Film: Elementary, Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, CECILIA’S BIRTHDAY, animated feature SANTA BABY for FOX, Linda in ELEVEN; Solo artist at Carnegie Hall, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland, the Kentucky and Buffalo Symphony Orchestras. Her One Woman Extravaganza, The Broken Road (Baggage Limit 50 Pounds), premiered in Hollywood to critical acclaim. Natalie’s self-titled CD, Natalie Toro, was released to National and International acclaim. Her new Christmas single and video, Just In Time For Christmas, was just released December 15, 2012. www.natalietoro.com


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