Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shades of Pink

I was lucky enough to be home this week when my friend Courtney was in town for a few days. Courtney, Showcase and I lived on the same floor in our freshman year dorm and were all in the theatre program together. After spending 4 years working on cruise ships and visiting over 60 countries, Courtney came back to land, moved back to Illinois, got married, and started writing for an ABC soap opera. And then, just as she turned 29, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Yeah, at 29. What the fuck?

After going through treatment including a lumpectomy, chemo, and radiation Courtney is, thank God, cancer-free today-- though she still takes a lot of pills and jokingly refers to herself as a "walking pharmacy." I hadn't seen her since she got sick. I think the last time she was in L.A. we went to Dublin's and did some serious drinking. I had, however been following her life and experiences during treatment on her blog, Biography of Breast Cancer and she'd been reading about the derailment of my Hollywood career and subsequent immersion in poker right here.

Courtney was the same old Courtney. Loud, vivacious, opinionated, quick-witted, and full of life. Her hair was shorter and curlier as a result of falling out and growing back in corkscrews post-chemo but as blonde as I ever remembered it. Showcase and I picked her up at her hotel and we went out for Mexican food. As we drove down the 405, it was as if the years hadn't passed at all. Despite not having seen each other for ages, the three of us picked up right where we left off.

When we walked into the restaurant, Courtney cracked up when she noticed the "Fiesta for the Cure" coasters on the table. They were emblazoned with pink ribbons done in the pattern of a Mexican blanket. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month and those pink ribbons are everywhere.

"Oh my God. Fiesta for the Cure. That's almost as bad as like, those pink Kitchen Aid mixers for the Cure" she laughed.

Courtney got the 18 ounce strawberry margartita. I'm not sure if it, too was for the Cure, but it was pink and looked tasty.

Courtney's Margarita

I stuck to Diet Coke since I was driving, but did get some tasty chicken tacos that came with little chiles on top.

Chicken Tacos with Chiles

Courtney admitted that she loved the pictures of food on this here blog. I told her that it doesn't hold a candle to Pauly's Food Gallery.

Seeing someone from my past, someone I spent a lot of time with when I was first breaking into Hollywood, reminded me of just how into the whole "scene" I was back then. All those nights I spent in trendy bars and pricey sushi restaurants all in the name of schmoozing and networking had faded to the back of my memory.

"You were 22 and hot shit" Courtney reminded me. "You loved your job and everyone knew it" she said as I felt flashbacks of driving to work up Laurel Canyon, hung-the-fuck-over, after one of her legendary parties.

My how things have changed.

Courtney was in L.A. performing with Shades of Pink, a mass choir made up of breast cancer survivors that will be featured on an ABC special called "Frosted Pink." It features figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi, Sasha Cohen, Kurt Browning, Oksana Baiul, and a number of musical acts including Joss Stone, Heart, and Rascal Flatts. She wrote brilliantly and hilariously about her experience joining the choir (made up almost entirely of Jesus-loving black women) in her post Can I Get an Amen?

I miss you, Courntney. Stay healthy. And if you ever need to unload some of the more entertaining, recreational drugs in your walking pharmacy, well, you know who to call.

T-minus 24 hours until the Doc and I board a plane for Melbourne...

1 comment:

iamhoff said...

Bravo to Courtney for being a survivor! Cancer in all its ugly forms sucks ass, and I'm always glad to hear of someone who is successfully beating it down! Have fun down under!