Jonathan Light

Writer. Director. Producer.

Author: jmlight (page 2 of 5)

I’ve been doing this for two months?

So I wrote an update a week ago, and my chemo brain prevented me from actually posting it, and I only just found out it was missing when I went to write something new today…so forgive the delay..

The last cycle was actually fine. The best post-chemo week I’ve had in a whole two months.  Not even a joke – I felt pretty good for almost the full two weeks. Still fatigued (of course) – but I walked 20 blocks last week and didn’t collapse, I had a huge Rosh Hashanah meal and didn’t feel like I had to s’lichot it back up, and I haven’t really lost any more hair (although I did give myself quite a bit of a mow just to avoid shedding everywhere…)

Which brings me to this past week, and more good news: I had the traditional Yom Kippur PET scan on Wednesday, and – in a nutshell – this s**t is working. The doc said the results were better than he expected, and the lymph nodes have really shrunk. Of course I asked if that meant I could stop the treatment early. He just laughed and laughed.

Then I had chemo Number 5 yesterday, and today I’m feeling spent, but not terrible. So all in all, I have been so terribly lucky with all this. I see other patients here who are enduring so much, and I almost feel guilty that I can’t share their pain.

The chemo has just become a part of my life that I have to endure – like a really annoying bi-weekly gig for terrible clients who fill my arteries with poison and make me sick. It feels like I’ve been doing this since I was 10, but at the same time just started it last week – it’s surreal how it just becomes part of your schedule and routine, even if you don’t really ever get used to it.

Let me wrap this up by imploring anyone who might even be considering it: please don’t vote for Trump. He is just horrible. It’s a shame that this isn’t just self-evident to everyone, but it’s really  scary that it’s even close. I made a dumb joke during the debates about him causing me cancer all over again, but then I realized that this might actually be true – my symptoms started around the time he sealed up the nomination, and that just can’t be a coincidence. A lot of people are saying it, believe me.

All my love to everybody – please keep in touch.

Sautéed Cardboard with A Cardboard Coulis Over a Bed of Cardboard

That’s what’s on the menu as of last night. They try to warn you about the possibility that your taste buds will be decimated, but it’s not good this round.

I can basically only taste really salty things and sriracha, and the latter makes me sick. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. BUT the good news is it should be short-lived…hopefully by next week I’ll be back to my normal, eat-everything self.

Other than that, things went fine at chemo number 4 yesterday. I have an appointment with the doctor on Monday for a quarter-cycle checkup and I’ll have another PET scan next week so we’ll see just how effective it’s been. The doc is pretty sure I’m doing fine, and his optimism is contagious, so as long as this thing is going away, I’ll deal with having everything taste like a Cardboard Special with Cardboard Slaw and Cardboard Dressing on Rye Cardboard.

And besides, it just means there more for this guy to eat:



I know I promised to keep these to a minimum, but climbing mountains is the perfect metaphor for anything in life, so I can’t resist…

There are sections of long climbs that have easy, gentle terrain – the climbing is not too difficult, you can move un-roped, it’s generally secure, and you feel that things are going fine.

But you also have a view of the massive headwall that looms in the distance, growing bigger and bigger as you approach…in the back of your mind, you know you’ll have to tackle that soon, and endure several days of agony. But beyond THAT is more easy, fun climbing…it’s a wonderful cycle.

Well that’s generally where I am right now. I will reach that headwall this coming Thursday, and the days after that will be a bit a’ rough, but for now the climbing is pretty easy and I’m moving well. It’s been a good couple of days in the mountains.



Nausea sucks

And not even just the thing – even the word sucks. Who came up with that word? I feel slightly nauseous and then just saying the word out loud makes me feel even more nauseous. It’s one of those words that looks and sounds EXACTLY like what it is, isn’t it?

Fun grammatical fact: the correct word to convey the state-of-being of nausea is actually “nauseated” – so I should have written “I feel nauseated.” But now I’m even more nauseated, because I just realized I’m being THAT guy. Sometimes you just gotta let these things slide.

Other than that, I’m doing well enough after my third treatment on Thursday. The last two days have been not the best – I’m fatigued and feeling really “off” – but I’m functional enough. There’s some soreness from the magical white-blood cell shot Neulasta [see our ad on the Sunday morning shows!] but that should pass soon as well. Hopefully the next 13 days will be uneventful – each day farther away from the chemo day is better, so I just have to hang on until the next one.

The nurses were very happy to see me with all my hair, but they were skeptical that it would last much longer. I explained to them that very few things on this planet can conquer my Jew-Fro, so we’ll see who wins this battle.

And, as always, if for some reason this isn’t a detailed enough update for you, please call/write/whatever. It’s been wonderful to hear from everybody, and the support and outreach has been just epic. I’m very, very grateful.






Mid-Cycle Respite

First of all, my neighbors – the exquisite collection of families that make up Harvard Terrace – have been delivering meals to us, unannounced and unsolicited, and I just feel they need a special mention so that whoever’s reading this knows just how wonderful people can be – and in the NJ suburbs no less.

So to everyone who was all, “how can you move out of NYC?” I ask you: would this have happened in a co-op in Brooklyn? No. They probably would have been worried that a cancer patient in their building would bring their share value down. [Zing. Unfair, I know…]

As for me, I’m actually doing surprisingly well, to the point where I feel a bit guilty for not being more sick so I can feel worthy of all this help and support. The only major side effect is being tired all the time, but I also have a two-year-old so that would happen anyway.

I do wish I was able to pick him up as much as I used to, and he is sometimes a little confused about why I can’t run around with him – but – again – this is hopefully all just temporary.

Next chemo treatment is this coming Thursday, so I have a few days of being fine before I re-enter the Post-Chemo Two-to-Three-Day Window of Gloom and Nausea. But – again – if this pattern holds, and if this is as bad as it gets for the next five months, I’ll be very happy.

As for the biggest question, of course: hair loss has been minimal, just some strands coming out in the shower every day. Nothing my Jew-fro can’t vanquish so far.

And I’ve decided that I really like writing blog posts because – unlike in screenwriting  – you don’t have to come up with a satisfying ending.


Post-Chemo #2

Chemo was last Thursday, and somehow, I’m really doing fine. The weekend was a bit of a struggle, but it was a busy family weekend so I probably pushed a little harder than I would have.

I feel weak and a little queasy all the time, but for the most part I’ve been very lucky. If I felt like this just because I was sick, nobody would care since it would probably be gone in a few days.  But if this is the worst it gets for the next six months, I’ll be very happy.

Although there were a few strands of hair on my pillow…………..[ominous music]. Rachel is dreading that part of it, since she only loves me for my hair, but I’ll actually feel a bit cheated if I don’t get to see what I’d look like completely bald.

Since I won’t be able to climb…

Might as well make room for the next generation.


Not a cancer blog

This is NOT a cancer blog. I do not set out to motivate everyone with my positive attitude or any perceived fortitude in the face of this thing – although if that is a byproduct of my writing, I’d be very happy.

And please don’t take that as a criticism of any other kinds of writing from people going through this…  I only submit this disclaimer because I don’t think anything I write could be as motivational or inspiring as some other essays and blogs I’ve read. So if you want to be inspired by real strength in the face of adversity, please go here.  Or especially here…this is an essay by an old high school friend whose story is everything all at once. (Ed. – it is no longer available, because this one was written by Elisabeth Finch, who was – in 2022 – found to have been faking her cancer. Just wild. But she’s still such a good writer…

For my purposes, I figured that since my website was already up and running, it would be a good, non-Facebook place to post updates on things as they progress during my treatment – a place where friends, family and weird stalkers with a disturbing interest in strangers’ chemotherapy treatments can check in and get updates.

Mostly, though, I’m doing this so I don’t have to write the same email seven hundred and forty-eight times. I mean, seriously. There are a LOT of you. When did I get so many friends? I’m so confused.

So please visit here whenever you’d like for updates and the occasional Deep Thought during those times when I’m hopped up on Percocet. BUT please don’t take this to mean that I don’t want you to call, write and/or visit. I have loved hearing from everyone and it really, really helps. As I’ve said to many people, cancer is a GREAT opportunity to really connect with people in ones life, so might as well take advantage of it.

And though you will hear this from me a lot, I can’t help but repeat it over and over: thank you all so, so very much. The outpouring of support and offers to help and exclamations of “what the hell did you have to go and LYMPHOMA for?” have been overwhelmingly touching, and I am so very grateful. So many people go through this type of thing without a fraction of the love I’ve felt over the last few weeks, and I am incredibly lucky to have all of you in my life.

Yes, even you, Stranger Who Found Me on LinkedIn because you need a videographer for your son’s bar mitzvah. (Also, sorry, I don’t do them.)

SO…the update: My second chemo treatment is tomorrow (Thursday) and I fully expect hair to start showing up on my pillow within the next week. Although – who knows? The thing about chemotherapy is everyone is different, and no one can tell you what will happen.

My doctor – who is awesome – remains very confident that I’ll have a relatively OK time with this, and the bottom line is that my Hodgkins symptoms (which were pretty debilitating) have completely subsided after just one treatment, which is the most important thing. So if I’m lucky, the next six months will consist of mostly normal days punctuated by a few days of feeling slightly rundown after chemo every two weeks. Piece of cake, I hope.

And that’s the latest. I’ve been feeling OK so far, and I’m prepared for whatever may happen in the coming months. I’m sticking to the mantra I’ve always had, which is there is literally nothing in life that is so bad that it can’t be made worse by something else. This helps me keep perspective, which in turn has made room in my brain for some awesomely dark cancer jokes.

Stay tuned for further updates…

Producing things with cameras and stuff

My 2¢:

If you want to make things that have either audio and/or visual components, and you want these things to be good and quality and professional looking, and if you want the process of creating said audio/visual things to be fun and creative and lively and successful, then for the LOVE of GOD treat your crew right.

And if you don’t have a crew, then get one.  Nothing you do will be as good as it would be if you bring in a crew.  And nothing will be more fun and rewarding than being on a set – no matter how small – and creating something with a crew of people who like you and (for the most part) trust you.  But this will only happen if you respect them and put their happiness on a high position of importance on your importance flowchart.

The Fox and the Dog

The Quick Brown Fox jumped over the Lazy Dog.

He didn’t really realize he was fast, or even brown for that matter. And if you were to ask the dog, he would be quite offended if you were to call him lazy. Even though he was.

He was getting quite sick of it, actually – this stupid fox, who was quite quick (and brown) always jumping over him. His pathetic attempts to thwart the Quick Brown Fox’s repeated jumps over him were compromised, however, on account of his laziness. Continue reading

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