In early February, I was asked if I would be willing to be in a TV commercial that highlighted cancer services at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJ) in New Brunswick, NJ. I had both of my surgeries for ovarian cancer at RWJ and Nick had had his appendix and hernia surgery there. Needless to say I am a fan of the hospital and its' staff. But I was still a bit unsure of whether or not I should participate. I spoke to Nick, Terry and Matt about the opportunity and since they were ok with it I decided to say yes.
A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Barbara about my experience at RWJ as a cancer patient and given an appointment time. In follow-up e-mails I was given tips on what to bring( three tops, no solid black or white or tiny patterns) and do ( style my hair but no makeup) the day of the filming. The day of my appointment was Thursday, March 21st at 11am.
I picked out a teal blouse to wear to the hospital and then a blue blouse, teal and blue patterned blouse and light green boat collar knit top to wear over black slacks for the filming. The teal blouse I wore was one of the first teal pieces of clothing I bought after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer and only wear it for teal events.
I valeted the car at the hospital and was greeted by Melissa, RWJ's Marketing Manager. She introduced me to Barbara and Lauri who worked with the production company. I admit I was nervous as they took me in the room they were using to prepare the patients for their time in front of the camera. I had only been on TV once before years ago. I had a bit of a cold and was not sure how I would look or sound. After looking at the tops I brought Melissa and Barbara decided that the teal shirt I was wearing was perfect. Then a young lady (whose name I wish I could remember) started to check my hair and apply makeup. She was very friendly. We chatted about the special effects makeup she has done which I found fascinating.
Then it was time for my part to be filmed. I was lead out into the lobby , mic'ed up and shown a seat in front of the camera. Lights - Action - Camera. I started with repeating two lines until I got the right tempo, facial expression and tone. I slowly become more comfortable with reading the lines in front of the camera. Then the interview part started and Xander, the director, asked me to tell my story. I did fine telling the details of my story. After all I do tell it a lot. But then he asked me how did I find the strength to go through what I did and what motivated me. I told him about the support my family had provided and then I started to tear up and had to stop. I was relating to him how my son was a sophomore in college when I was first diagnosed and how I never thought I would see him graduate college and here he is today working on his PhD. Barbara came over with a tissue and patted my eyes. We didn't want my mascara to run. I took a deep breath and continued. Then I remembered that my daughter had been born at the hospital when it was Middlesex General hospital and I was lucky to be alive for her wedding and the birth of my first grandson. After a few more of those initial lines with some word changes I was done. When I finished I was emotionally drained. Maybe it was because I wasn't just talking about my stage of cancer and type of surgery. But rather, I was relating how the hospital and my gynecologic oncologists (gyn-onc) helped me live. A recent study reported at the SGO's Annual Meeting reported that many women with ovarian cancer receive inadequate care and do not have surgery done by Gynecologic Oncologists. I am so happy that I was referred to my Gyn-Oncs Dr Rodriguez and Dr Gibbon for surgery at RWJ.
I headed back to the room and the two patients there asked how it went. I told them it was good until I started crying. The woman said she cried too on camera and that made me feel better. She was a cancer patient who had gone through a bone marrow transplant and couldn't say enough good things about her experiences art RWJ. We agreed that it was about time that our local "best" hospital started sharing the good things it does with the public and how people in NJ don't have to travel far to have excellent care.
Now I have to wait to see the finished product but I 'm glad that I could be part of something that will highlight this wonderful hospital.
Every Day is a Blessing!