Sign pointing to Radiation Oncology in Specialty Clinics Building at Froedtert Hospital, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Sign pointing to Radiation Oncology in Specialty Clinics Building at Froedtert Hospital, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Another Week: Number 39

by | September 24, 2023

Logistically speaking, our pace through the cancer Habitrail has become more hurried.

Amy is on several tracks at once: chemotherapy Plan B (intrathecal thiotepa) via the shunt in her head twice a week, and preparations for Plan C (craniospinal radiation five days a week for four weeks) in case Plan B does not produce results. Plus there’s also the Taxol infusion three Mondays out of four to address a couple of previous metastases in her torso.

Plan C has a 50 percent expectation of success, and there is no Plan D.

Meanwhile, emotionally speaking, things brightened significantly this week.

For one thing, an excellent physician assistant with the Breast Care Center put Amy on olanzapine, and her daily nausea and vomiting have diminished to almost zero. Amy is eating actual food again after living on nothing but Ensure shakes for weeks. The difference is astonishing. She sent me out for breakfast cereal and frozen pizza.

Even more wonderful were the phone calls from her excellent oncologist on Tuesday and Friday reporting Amy’s second and third consecutive negative cytology results. This means that Plan C is on hold for now, and Plan B will be reduced to one treatment weekly.

All things considered, there are several variables that might account for the nearly vanished vomiting and Amy’s increased appetite. Whichever is behind it, it’s an uplifting improvement.

Thursday, we walked a mile at Pike River Pathway North. It was challenging, but she persisted.


Dark Winds: Season 1

This year, America’s streaming TV feast suddenly turned moldy in the fridge, and we have been forced to forage for anything that might still be worth consuming.

Previously, we subscribed to AMC+ where we loved shows like Killing Eve. Now certain AMC+ content — including Killing Eve — has popped up on Max, in much the way that a prior year’s designer jeans may pop up in Goodwill.

Dark Winds is a crime drama that premiered on AMC+ two Junes ago. It’s based on Tony Hillerman‘s Leaphorn and Chee novel series and stars Zahn McClarnon (Officer Big on Reservation Dogs) as Joe Leaphorn, a tribal police lieutenant in Kayenta, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation in the 1970s.

The main feature of the series is its storytelling technique, which employs a kind of graphic novel/storyboarding style from frame to frame so faithfully that you almost expect to see speech balloons. The angles, dialog, settings, and plot threads are all straight out of strip cartoons, and this machinery carries you steadily forward on a wave of mild suspense.

McClarnon is good in his laconic, Clint Eastwood-ish role. The rest of the cast is decent to serviceable, and the helpings of Native culture are simultaneously kitschy and cool.

Rainn Wilson has a small and extraneous part as a TV car dealer.


Daisy Jones & the Six

A story at The Mary Sue about a transfixing Stevie Nicks moment reminded me about this Amazon Prime Videos series that premiered back in March. Previously, the reviews made me pass on it — but now we’re foraging, so maybe it’s something?

Daisy Jones & the Six is a rock ‘n’ roll soap opera set in the Laurel Canyon era with a Josie and the Pussycats/Fleetwood Mac-ish band called “The Six” and a singer named Daisy Jones, played by Elvis Presley’s granddaughter Riley Keough.

The show ticks off assorted rock ‘n’ roll touchstones — The Troubadour, alcohol and drug abuse, a mentoring record producer, yadda yadda — while interpersonal melodramas blossom and decay and the plot grinds slowly along.

We may nibble on this one when we can’t find anything else, but it will never really hit the spot.


Theater Camp (2023)

Suddenly, Molly Gordon is in almost every show on our TV. She’s Claire in The Bear. She’s in Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. She was in Shiva Baby, noted here last week.

Now here she is in Theater Camp, which she also wrote, produced, and directed.

The movie is a comedy about a summer camp in the Adirondacks for kids who are into musical theater. The camp’s beloved founder (Amy Sedaris) is in a coma, and her staff has to soldier on without her this season.

The script is a flurry of references to the eccentricities of the behind-the-scenes world of musical theater. I’m tempted to call them inside jokes — except they’re not particularly funny. They’re just very fast. Each one occurs, gets a split second to register, and we’re on to the next one. Tina Fey’s 30 Rock series operated similarly but packed more laughs.

There are some nice moments and the story does culminate in a big, do-or-die show, but there’s too much wit and not enough character. Instead of laughing, we mostly held our breath in order to “get” all the rapid-fire implications.


Dua Lipa in Conversation With Patti Smith, Author of Just Kids

Everyone knows Dua Lipa as a world-famous pop star, but she’s also the founder of Service95, a “global editorial platform” celebrating arts, culture, activism, beauty, and what have you.

In this capacity, Lipa posted a recent conversation with Patti Smith — whom everyone knows as a rock and roll poet, but who also had an intense relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe for a couple of decades, until his death in 1989.

Smith recollected this relationship in her 2010 memoir Just Kids, a National Book Award winner and a title that Ms. Lipa has recommended and gifted repeatedly over the years.

It’s a warm and loving dialogue.



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