Chemo Style! Part 5


In the world of film and television production, there is a special name for the last shot of the day. This magic moment is called The Martini. Everyone looks forward to it, waiting anxiously until a crew member finally shouts “The martini is up!” and everyone steps up their game to make the last shot perfect so they can go home.

We’ve been referring to my last treatment as The Martini for awhile. Peter, my boyfriend who makes his living behind the camera, was the one who coined it’s use in my situation and it seemed very fitting. We were finally going to be done with this! It was time to step up, take my final bow and say “that’s a wrap!” No more nausea, no more aches and sleepless nights, no more peeling feet and sore heels. I just had to get through one more “shot”. But as fate would have it, my martini turned into quite the dramatic final scene.

I bounded into the treatment room with so much energy I was practically levitating. I greeted each nurse with a fervent smile and a chipper “Hello!” which was code for “You’ve been great but I never want to see you again!”. I chatted excitedly with them, barely minding the horrible prick of the I.V. I had both my mom and Peter with me this time, a first, since his work schedule had kept him from coming to the previous treatments. We were all wearing the shirts he made us for Christmas, emblazoned with a smiley face sporting a crossed out left eye. He designed them as a humorous nod to my doomed left breast, that even though it’s marked for demolition, it won’t disrupt my happiness. It’s become my trademark symbol throughout all this and it makes me happy during the times I should be crumbling. It was a hilarious sight, seeing all of us in our matching shirts. So much so that it made me believe this could actually be a twisted kind of fun!

I handled my pre-meds like a champ, probably subconsciously trying to impress Peter with how hardcore I was. “Look how calmly and nonchalantly I can handle poison coursing through my veins,” my body language implied. And then the chemo started it’s drip. It was not two minutes later that my face turned bright red, my chest tightened and my throat closed up. If you ever want to make a mother shout and 7 nurses swarm, I could give you some tips. They stopped the drip and gave me more pre-meds as I sulked, embarrassed that my carefree facade was shattered. Even when you think you’ve got it handled with 5 treatments under your belt, cancer quickly reminds you that you are not in charge of this. Not yet at least.

Fortunately, once the reaction was under control, the rest of the treatment was uneventful. We met up with my dad after work  (wearing his smiley shirt of course!) at our favorite healthy spot, True Food. I ordered my usual green veggie juice and four martini glasses. It was time for a toast. “To chemo! The shittiest thing I ever put my body through. I can only hope my cancer hates you as much as I do. And to you, cancer, I hope you didn’t have plans to stick around. Your performance has been life-altering. I laughed, I cried, it was worse than Cats. But the martini is up and this is your last closeup.”




29 thoughts on “Chemo Style! Part 5

  1. I was just thinking about you … and how I hadn’t seen a blogpost in awhile. How happy I am to see you toasting your ‘martini’. Only good things ahead for you … ONLY good things! You are truly an inspiration.

  2. Praying this is the last you will have to deal with this! You are a fighter! I miss you on the stage! Will look forward to seeing you back sometime in NYC!!

  3. Congratulations on finishing with your chemo! May it have given your cancer the swift and thorough kicking to the curb it deserves!

  4. There’s so much I’d like to say to you about how you’ve handled all of this, and your willingness to share your experience in such an open and honest way. But all I can muster up is:


  5. CHEERS KRYSTA!!! I raise my glass to you and greatly admire your courage…you are a true inspiration and a heck of a good writer too! Wishing you good health and much, much happiness. xox

  6. Congratulations! I cannot imagine cancer having the cojones and unmitigated gall of hanging around after you just KO’d it.

    The only thing better than that concoction you described would be a classic Irish coffee from the Buena Vista in San Francisco. Since I just arrived in Baghdad by the Bay, I will have one for you!

  7. I’m so incredibly proud of you. I look up to you so much. You are strong, talented, funny, and beautiful. You handled chemo so well and I love you ♥

  8. Hi Krysta!
    Love this blog post!
    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Carlos and I send a hug full of love and positive vibes!

  9. Congratulations! Your earned that martini and a whole lot more! Thank you for all of your positive blogs – you are an inspiration. I pray that the cancer will be denied any reruns! Hope to see you soon in films, stage or tv.

  10. I love this! I have loved all of your entries, but I think this was my favorite because as a reader I feel your relief and sense of accomplishment. And also, Peter is the best boyfriend ever. Those shirts…are you kidding me??! Amazing. Um, and your parents are adorable. Proud of you, Krysta. Keep kicking ass.

  11. So glad to hear your chemo treatments are done. I love your family picture (I know your dad). It brought tears to my eyes & a smile on my face.

  12. Hi Krysta!!
    I’ve been a huge fan of yours ever since you were on Smash! I watched some videos of you, Jeremy Jordan, and Andy Mientus from the “This Will Be Our Year” concert and was in awe of your performance. You are an inspiration to so many people(especially me) and I enjoyed reading all of your blog posts. Can’t wait to see the good things that the future has in store for you!

  13. Mucho congrats. What a champ you are. I am 5 months past my own “Martini”, six months post surgery and am enjoying reading your post in Italy (watching the sunset and my hair grow back). Stay strong! Truly the worst is behind you.

  14. Hi Krysta,

    So happy to hear that the chemo part is done, loved seeing the pics of your parents they look great and so do you. Give your parents a big hello hugs from us. Continued prayers and positive energy coming your way.

    Love Dawne and family.

  15. Krysta,
    Once again, you are the epitome of fierceness and grace!!! My thoughts are with you as you move forward into perfect HEALTH!! I cannot wait to have you back on the boards…on TV…in the movies!!! Love and strength to you and your family!

    Warmest regards,
    Cydney Halpin

  16. Krysta,
    I have admired your work on TV and as a Broadway performer (I saw you as Vanessa in In the Heights — you were just fantastic, a great dancer, beautiful, so obvious why Usnavi would like you!), Wednesday in The Addams Family), and have been following your blog with empathy, hope and awe. Loved your photo as the can-do WWII woman! Your attitude and courage are stunning. Can’t wait to see the next chapter. Will keep following you and look forward to your next Broadway show!! ps love the pic of you with your parents and body friend. What an amazing crew!!

  17. Beautiful Krysta,
    You are courage defined!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your journey, you are a warrior. Sending you much love and healing light!!!! xo nova

  18. Congratulations Krysta! You are an inspiration to anyone who reads this, meets you, has the fortune to see you smile or hear you sing. Colin and I are sending so much love to you!

  19. After a year of basically obsessing over your voice and talent, I finally found out that you have been going through this huge ordeal.
    You handle yourself on stage (and in any Youtube clips I could track down of you!) with grace and beauty, and it seems that you do the same through any situation (even one as difficult as this).

    You are a true inspiration and I pray that you get better and come out of this even stronger than you already were!

    Just wanted you to know you were an inspiration to me long before your battle with cancer.
    Stay strong!

  20. Krysta,

    I saw your performance tonight in Spring Awakening and thought your energy was incredible. That was BEFORE I realized that your bald head was from chemo. I thought it was part of the show. I was wondering, having been through breast cancer twice, myself, what it was like for you to shave your head for a show. Then I found out at the Q&A that you had indeed had cancer. Now I realize you are still in chemo and had your last treatment only a few days ago. I have absolutely no idea how you did it! I was diagnosed the last time in graduate school and somehow managed to graduate on time, but in a million years, I could never have gotten through a single performance. Your courage and drive are a testament to your incredible strength. Props to you, my friend. This cancer had no chance. You are fierce!

    1. Also saw you this past weekend in Spring Awakening. You were amazing. Thank you for your honesty and for your talent and for your strength. Hope all goes well for you in the future.

  21. Krysta, you are one of my favorite actresses and I was crestfallen to hear the news of your diagnosis. I do know how it feels to have your martini and know you’ve finally completed chemo. I had nine treatments for non Hodgkin lymphoma, but only ended up losing part of my armpit (where the cancerous lymph node was residing) and managed to pass my sophomore year of high school with my valedictorian status still intact. Life after chemo is awesome, and if my boring life in rural Indiana can resume so quickly, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next for someone as fierce as you.

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