----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ ----------------------------------------------- */ The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire: Happenstance

The Fabulous Adventures of Astera: Writer/Actress for Hire

Meet Astera (aka: me), a star in her own mind. Our plucky little heroine has embarked on not one but two difficult, low-paying career paths: writing and acting. Witness the menial jobs! The unreasonable demands! The quirky friends and family! And the glimmer of success just ahead! Through it all, Astera maintains her core beliefs: 1) She is destined to be fabulous 2) Everything is more fun with a cocktail.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Today, I was set to do a phone interview with an architect for an article that I’m writing about cancer center design. I never expected that phone conversation to brighten my mood and give me so much to think about, but it did. The architect was so passionate about his work, and he was able to articulate his ideas so clearly. Also, he is a cancer survivor, like me, so we talked about how important it is for medical facilities to become less scary and more nurturing. And that’s what he does in his work.

We veered off the subject a bit to talk about our cancer experiences. I don’t have too many cancer survivors to talk to, especially ones who are about my age, and it’s nice to be able to swap “war stories” sometimes. I know that my husband and my dad would like to forget all about the “dark period,” but cancer had a big effect on my life, and I think that sometimes it’s good to talk about it. You never know what you might learn from other survivors. For instance, this architect told me that he’s a workaholic stress case most of the time, but he drinks two cups of green tea a day, and he says that has helped him feel a lot stronger and more energetic. I am going to try it, because I could definitely use some more energy!

I’m glad to know that there are people like him out there, trying to make cancer treatments just a little more comfortable for patients. There’s a whole philosophy associated with the work he does, and it can apply to any project, really. It’s called “Double Green Design.” He has worked on projects that incorporate gardens and courtyards for patients to use, along with decent cafeterias and comfortable lounges. He talked about “architecture of emotion,” where designing a building isn’t just about functionality. It’s also about how the space makes people feel.

Now, cancer centers are designing chemotherapy suites that overlook gardens or streams and allow patients to have total privacy or to chat with others, if they feel like it. In some cases, patients can even sit outside in a courtyard with their IV poles. And the treatment areas are starting to use natural daylight, not ugly overhead lighting. When I went in for chemo, I got to spend eight hours on a little bed in a small room with harsh fluorescent lights and one grimy window. A nice view sure would have helped my mood!

Anyway, doing this interview with a total stranger got rid of my blues for awhile. He’s actually designing all these cool centers, and I’m just writing about them, but although I’m not doing as much as he is, I feel like at least I am helping by getting this new information out there. I realized how nice it is to be writing about something that I actually care about. Sometimes, the oddest things will cheer you up. Thank you, KMD!


  • At 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Perhaps KMD would like to know what a difference your and his discussion made on your mood and what you think of his work. If I were KMD and had such an effect on a person who just interviewed me over the phone, I sure as heck would like to know that I made a difference in my interviewer's mood, evanescent as that difference may be.


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