October 8, 2013

EXPOSED - The filming of Ticked Off

so the airing of Ticked Off: They Mystery of Lyme Disease is a mere 2 days away now. 

the day before yesterday, i stumbled upon an archived journal entry about our first day of filming...it was a fully written entry - the pictures that went with the story were even uploaded but i never published it. 

because by the end of that first day of filming, i was raw. 

the film crew were wonderful. they were respectful. they didn't overly pry. and we even shared a good many laughs. but every time you tell your story, a part of you re-lives the pain, the suffering, the abandonment, the rejection, the horror
that is hard.
really, really hard. 

i felt exposed. i felt vulnerable. and back then, i guess i just didn't have the gumption to make that all public.

and ok, honest to goodness, i will be completely transparent here - posting the story meant revealing i had (have) superficial worries about my hair and certain camera angles...and i have to admit, i was embarrassed to admit that.

i'm putting it out there now.
why not?
some of it is funny. at least i think so. some of it made me laugh when i read it.

november 29,2012 was the first day of what ended up being three days of filming.

just before we left for our appointments with DR H, the film crew came to our hotel.

the reason they came to the hotel was two-fold.
one to have a bit of a meet and greet.
the other to film us getting ready to drive to DR H's office. 
it was awkward. quiet. weird. unnerving.
suppose those feelings are to be expected when total strangers walk into your space, camera in tow and begin to capture your every move.

The Crew from Merit Motion Pictures

what does one do when a film crew is with you?
why, of course, the most important thing to do is to act natural...which naturally feels like about the most unnatural thing to do.

do you look at the camera? or not? do we talk? do we not? and if so, what on earth do we talk about? 
the weather? 
ha ha.
for the most part, we all sat around in awkward silence.
the kids quietly played minecraft on the laptop.
the camera man zoomed in on them.
initially, they sat there stoically solemn.
then suddenly, they evolved into animated, amped up, hyperactive goofballs.
parker moved around the most he has in about 3 months. so much for representing the worst of what this disease can do. nothing like a little nervous energy to get one moving. 

natural? not remotely.
finally, the time to leave was upon us.
however, i needed to take my next dose of meds first.
i walked into our hotel kitchen.
camera guy follows.
sound guy too.
they are behind me, i thought.
that means one thing.
a butt shot. any woman's worst nightmare.

i was still pre-occupied with that thought as i nervously poured a glass of water and retrieved my pills
suddenly a boom mike is dangling above my head.
self consciously i gulped down a handful of pills.
move on to mixing the homeopathic tinctures i'm on.
those were the longest 15 drops i've dispensed in my life.

finally, it was time to leave for DR Hs.

avery went to put on her shoes. 
the camera guy followed her, still filming.

she looked up at the camera.
cue eye roll.
cue melodramatic forehead slap.
cue exasperated sigh followed by,

"you're going to film me tying my shoes? are you serious? really? how is that newsworthy?" 

they then filmed us leaving the hotel. 
wanted to even capture us walking out of the door of our hotel room and getting into our vehicle.
just act natural. umm. yeah. okay.
it was the most awkward exit of our lives.
we marched out stiff as soldiers on parade.
hup, two, three, four, down the side walk towards the parking lot we woodenly marched.
kids in front. graham and i tailing behind.
camera filming us from behind.
("oh no, please, not another behind shot!" i silently screamed in my head)

at the corner of the hotel, the sidewalk separates into two walkways. we went down one, they whipped down the other, by-passing us so that they could now film our approach to the car. 

do you smile?
look somber?
i'm sure graham and the kids looked like deer caught in headlights
i, on the other hand, was just so grateful to not have a camera focused on my hind quarters, that i'm pretty sure i looked woozy with relief.

graham opened the car door for me.
like i've said, we were behaving in the most unusual manner.
off we zoomed to DR H's office
a 25 minute drive.
black suv in hot pursuit the entire time.
filming from behind
zooming up beside us camera hanging out the window

avery ducked every time they came along side of us.
the rest of us, sat stiffly in the car.
should we talk? 
do we just face forward? 
well, clearly, that would be advisable. 
after all, forward facing whilst operating a vehicle is a smart move.

speaking of forward facing...  
my hair was sprayed so stiff that even when i turned my head to the side, my hair remained forward facing.
no flowing locks here. 
no doubt about it, i had major helmet head going on.

beyond my coif being a fire hazard, i will admit the whole hair thing hit a bit of a frenzied crescendo in the week leading up to this. i should probably back track a bit here.
you may recall i am a newly minted blonde...having made the jump from living as a brunette for nearly a decade.

for the filming i was neither.

i was no longer brunette.
i was not a blonde
i was somewhere in that awkward in between stage.

i had begun the transformation in august 2012 - not knowing that we would be filmed for this only a mere 3 months down the road. 

going from black to blonde proved to be a long, somewhat terrifying process to undergo. it meant enduring the 'awkward day-glo orange' phase. 
naturally, i was in that day-glo phase when the cameras started rolling.

no. it was more like multiple shades of day-glo orange.
it was a virtual psychedelic rainbow of sunset hues.
sunsets are a thing of beauty...but they belong on the horizon not as a face framing halo.

in an effort to keep reflections on this experience authentic, i won't lie - despite the fact that i am a bit ashamed about it... in the week leading up to the filming, i will admit i had some minor major moments of freaking out over my hair.
i spent an inordinate amount of time pre-occupied with it. 
and visited 2 hairdressers. 
much to my relief, the second hairdresser was able to tone it down.

embarrassed to expose that truth...yet, i'm betting some folks are still gaping at the above photo and will understand i had cause for angst... and several rounds of bleach. even my husband suggested i should "do something" with my hair.

DR H looking all spiffy

we finally arrived at DR Hs office.
much to my relief, he was there and fully prepared to appear on camera.
he'd clearly put effort into his appearance. those that know DR H will understand how completely uncharacteristic this is.

his clothes were ironed.
his hair was brushed.
i'd hazard a guess that it had even been recently trimmed.

clearly i'm not the only one who had thought about physical presentation... and he's a man. 
justifying myself here.

in the spirit of keeping it real, i might as well address the issue of clothing. or may i say, the minor wardrobe malfunction i am terrified may have been caught on camera. i must say that i tried on a few outfits before i picked out what i would wear. but in all honesty, i did not give my wardrobe choice a whole lot of thought...after all, the battle with my psychedelic hair color took up most of my energy.

so the clothing choice.
that i may come regret. 
in fact, i already have.

i wore jeans, a cardigan and scarf
pretty basic and neutral attire.

the entire crew piled into DR H's tiny exam room and filmed our appointments. 
DR H. me. parker. graham. and the 4 men tv crew. camera. boom mike.

the room got really warm really fast.

when it came time for my exam, i shed my cardigan and scarf. 
neurological work-ups are a bit of a work out in that they require movement. arms out. arms up. bend this way. bend that way. jump up. squat down. 

i was bending into a squat when it suddenly hit me
my jeans are a wee bit a whole lot lower than my natural waist line
panic washed over me in a nano second.

heaven help me, i think my underpants are showing!

somehow, every unflattering picture i've ever seen printed in grocery store tabloid magazine flashed through my shellacked head. i could barely focus on dr h's directions after that...

i was just thinking the worst was behind me, when DR H proceeded to give my belly a thorough palpitation and extensive exam.
my BARE belly.
i nearly died as the reality of the situation washed over me...there is a massive camera inches away from my gut.

i am an exposed specimen.
(the following day, i made them promise not to use that footage.)

after our appointments, they did a 30 some minute interview with DR H.

i have such gratitude for our doc...his wisdom, his dedication, his (stupid) sense of humor and his willingness to put himself out there. in his profession that is incredibly risky. i have no idea what they asked him. we had to sit in the iv clinic area of the office and were not privy to what was said. darn.

by the end of the day. i was hooped. we had spent just over 5 hours filming. TV stuff aside, it's a long day to begin with. our appointments with DR H are intense and require my full attention. it takes an inordinate amount of energy to remain focused and try to process all the stuff we cover.
add to that, a camera and 4 people shadowing you and it was entirely overwhelming.

once we got back to the hotel the stress of the day hit me. 
and hit me hard. 

panic and anxiety rolled over me and knocked the breath out of me.
my body was buzzing and my head was fuzzy.
my heart skipped beats in my chest
a surreal mirage of the day's events shifted into my mind's eye
they replayed in my head;
a never ending circuit looping thru my bleary mind

what have we gotten ourselves into?
i kept asking myself over and over
i don't want to do this.
it's too much. way too much.

why did we ever agree to do this?
i can't handle this.
i feel so completely exposed. 
i wanted to run and hide. 
i felt myself near the brink of total hysteria.

why did i ever agree to do this?
i threw the covers over my head.
a desperately futile attempt to shut it all out.
the continuous noise in my head just roared on.
i was absolutely reeling.

i felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.

i. feel. exposed. exponentially.

back to the present
so that was how i felt way back in november 2012
i find i am nearing that state of mind again
how i felt then is how i feel today
the thoughts are back
haunting me late into slumberless nights

why did we do this?
because this isn't about us.
it's about so. much. more.
it's about saving lives and fighting for change.

i feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. our story is but a drop in the ocean that is wide and deep and overflowing with the suffering of lyme.

this i know.

we must keep telling our story
every. single. one. of us. 
we must raise our collective voices and tell our stories a thousand and one times over or however long it takes until change occurs.

until canadians can walk into any doctor's office, obtain a clinical diagnosis of lyme and be given adequate antibiotic treatment.

until canadians with chronic lyme are treated with compassion, dignity and respect and prescribed long term antibiotic treatment in their own country.

until there is a cure for chronic lyme.

we must tell our stories
until the truth about lyme prevails
the corruption is exposed

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Aw, thank you for sharing this! I have to admit, I thought you and your family were beautiful when I was watching the show.