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Melanie Strong

March 23, 2016

 

 

 

I have a strong admiration for Melanie Mizenko. I first met Melanie (@TL_MMizenko & @leapoffaith_13) while we were both attending the same high school and were involved in a lot of the same performing arts activities. Our friendship grew stronger while we both attended college in different states, by keeping in touch with each other’s happenings. A more recent commonality between us, although sad since we share it, is the bond that has manifested itself during both of our fathers’ battles with cancer and now after both of their deaths. Melanie is one of the STRONGEST women I know; and I was ecstatic when she wanted to share a smile!

Here is Melanie’s #SmileStory:

 

My #SmileStory is a combination of “yippee” and “unexpected” stories.

I had just finished my chemo treatments – we’re keeping this a happy story – for the first time and something popped up in New York City that I just HAD to go see. During chemo I would sit for hours in a chair hooked up to IV meds and when I wasn’t sleeping or doodling or writing, I’d be watching Netflix. Criminal Minds and House of Cards were my two ‘shows’. I’ve watched the seasons countless times because hours in a chair go by too slow without something to do.

 

I came to idolize and model an actress in both those shows: Jayne Atkinson – she played a character in both those shows that said HBIC* but “I am woman, hear me roar,” and I needed that womanly reassurance. (*HBIC is an acronym for “Head (another term for a female dog) In Charge”)

Well, in August I found out about a festival show she was directing/acting in and KNEW it was fate I had to see her do her Broadway thing. I was just hoping I’d feel good (since chemo make me tired and grouchy) enough to go. I had my last chemo treatment on Friday, Aug. 21.

By Monday, Aug. 24, I was on a bus to New York City. I stood for an hour in the jam-packed lobby with my ticket to see this show. There were four other shows that day and we were to vote for the top two.

 

After the show, I was blessed with meeting other Jayne fans AND Jayne herself, who was incredible and incredibly warm-hearted. I couldn’t stop smiling; that was the “yippee” part.

As for the “unexpected” part, Jayne’s husband, Michel Gill (yes, he played President Garrett Walker on House of Cards), was in the audience watching the show as well. I was able to smile because I met him too.

 

Meeting Jayne was something to smile about but meeting her just as equally amazing husband was more of a reason to smile. Sure, big and little smiles are all around and finishing chemo was a big reason to smile (especially since I’m going through round two now), but getting to meet an idol, getting to meet someone who means more to me than she’ll ever know, getting to tell her (and her husband) “thank you” for playing a role I’ve watched that helped me get through chemo, was the best reason to smile.

 

Do you adore someone? For me that person is Kristin Chenoweth. Maybe one day Jayne Atkinson & Kristin Chenoweth will both share their smiles with this blog?! 

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