Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Feeling Betrayed By My Body

Thank you to everyone for their love and well wishes as I went through surgery in late November. It was quite an experience spending my first ever time in a hospital overnight (why don’t they let you sleep when you’re in the hospital?!) I’ve been healing very nicely from the surgery. I have three incisions - one in the arm pit, one in the side, and one in the back, through which the surgeon used instruments to remove one of the tumors from my lung. That tumor was sent for testing, the results of which I should receive sometime this week. Once the results are received, we’ll know what kind of treatments will be possible to try to stop the cancer.

For those who have asked, if you’re looking for ways to help or support me, you can find information here: https://www.erincronicals.com/2018/11/how-you-can-help.html

I do have one major side effect that has made things very difficult for me. As many of you know, I am a singer and this cancer has caused me to lose my singing voice. The cancer and subsequent surgery have caused a lot of mucus to get created, and it’s particularly nasty and thick. For some reason, it likes to hang out on my vocal cords and no amount of water, steroids, antibiotics, steaming, supplements, clearing of the throat, etc, make it budge. The result is me sounding like a frog (no joke) when I try to sing. It’s baffling doctors and it has caused me to have to forgo the one piece of personal expression that means the most to me.

What’s it been like to have lost my singing voice? A betrayal ... I feel betrayed by my body. I’m left feeling a sort of despair I have never felt before. Part of the despair is deep sadness for time I’m losing performing this holiday season (I’ve had to back out of 4 performances) while also losing an important thing that makes me feel happy. I feel like I’ve let down the producers in my life because I’ve had to back out of projects that for which they counted on me. Each time I see videos of friends singing I ache to be able to join them, and then feel despair that I can’t. Part of the despair is a crippling fear that my voice will never get better. (I have been having vocal problems since August due to the pneumonia that I am still dealing with.) I’m also filled with anger - it just doesn’t seem fair that I’ve had to go through this for so long... and then I become angry at myself for being so self-involved to despair so much. It leaves me feeling defeated, which is not common for me.

I have to mention how difficult it is for me to share so vulnerably. So many people see me as strong and capable, and I want to be that for people. I don’t want people to think I’m complaining or that I’m giving up. But if I only shared on the days when I feel invincible, you’ll never really know what it’s like to live with Stage IV cancer. And that feels even more disingenuous.

So that’s what it’s like to be me right now, for better or for worse. I have much happier moments when I’m not thinking about singing, but my heart aches when I remember that my voice isn’t working the way I want it to. When I got to my oncologist next week I’ll ask for a referral to a voice ENT and hopefully she/he will be able to address the issue. My goal is to have everything back in working order by December 16 (the next time I’m scheduled to sing.) In the meantime, it’s back to supplements, steaming, water and hopeful thinking.

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As a reminder, if you’re looking for ways to help or support me, you can find information here: https://www.erincronicals.com/2018/11/how-you-can-help.html


Erin Cronican is a breast cancer survivor, whose career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit www.erincronican.com.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

How You Can Help



So many wonderful people have asked me what they can do to help as I navigate this devastating diagnosis. So I’ve put together this list of things that I will need as I head into treatment. 

Donations:

You can donate via my Go Fund Me account here: https://www.gofundme.com/erin-cronican

I will be using any money raised to help with lost wages as I go through treatment and to handle any medical expenses that might not be covered. It will also relieve some of the pressure off Brandon from having to carry so much while I’m in treatment.


I also have a jewelry-maker and artist friend who is donating 10% of anything she sells to my fund. If you'd like to buy anything, visit JaneGordon.com, find the item you want then email jane@janegordon.com or call 212-688-8600 and let her know you're my friend and she'll arrange for the donation. She's also offered  concierge service to help you select gifts, of online shopping is not your thing. :)


Gifts:

• Gift Certificates for massage therapy, facials, pampering
• Amazon gift cards (to buy products that will help with my treatment)
• Starbucks gift cards (because I will never give up on caffeine)
• Anything you think might brighten my day (I love handmade/artisan stuff - Etsy, etc)


My address:

165 E 87th Street #3FW
New York, NY 10128




Mail & Email:

I love getting cards and things in the mail, so anything you want to send would be appreciated.

I also appreciate cute animal videos that make me laugh, which you can email to erin@erincronican.com or text to 917-574-0417.



Thank you so much for helping me manage this diagnosis with grace, ease, and a little bit of fun. It means the world to me.



Erin Cronican is a breast cancer survivor, whose career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit www.erincronican.com.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Yes, I have Stage IV Breast Cancer

The diagnosis has hit me like a ton of bricks.

Breast cancer has come back and has spread to my lungs. This is called Stage IV Breast Cancer, with metastasis (“mets”) to the lungs. Quoting Margaret Edson from the play, WIT - “Stage IV - there is no Stage V.”

So what does this mean? In the short term, it means I will be on some cocktail of chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and/or immunotherapy for the rest of my life. In the long term, my life is not going to be that long. People with my kind of cancer tend to survive 3-5 years.


Yep. 3-5 years. That’s all the doctor’s say I have left to live.

The hope is that treatment will shrink the tumors and keep them from spreading for as many years as possible. I’m young and relatively healthy, so I should be able to tolerate treatment well. And the hope is that I’ll have enough energy to continue to do what I love doing - performing, producing and teaching.

But I have to be honest - it’s very hard to see the positives when I know disease is cutting everything short. I know it’s early - I only just found out yesterday - so it’s natural to feel upset. And I’m sure that the anxiety and depression will lift to reveal more purpose and direction than I had before the diagnosis.

But right now... I’m just angry. And scared. And so, so sad. And no amount of “Kum-ba-yah” makes me feel any better. It makes me feel alone. Alone because I am one of the few who knows how I’m going to die and what the relative time frame is, and that’s an isolating feeling. I also feel guilty about the impact this is having on my family and close friends, so I’m fighting the urge to pull away as to protect them. To protect YOU.

Not to mention the impact my bank account. That’s terrifying.

I have all the feels.

For those of you who know me, you know I won’t allow myself to feel this way for long. But I thought it was important to let you know the truth of what it’s like for me. Because that kind of honesty provides me a sort of catharsis in this crazy situation.

It fucking sucks.



Erin Cronican is a breast cancer survivor, whose career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has toured nationally with plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. For more information, please visit www.erincronican.com.


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