One-woman musical looks back with laughter at a tough call
January 9, 2013
She calls herself special.
In 2011, Eva Moon’s mother had tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene. That twist of DNA means there was a 50-50 chance she and her two sisters had the gene, which skyrockets a person’s chances for developing ovarian and breast cancer.
All three got tested. Sister negative, other sister negative, Eva positive.
“I’m the special one,” Moon, an actress and singer from Redmond, said with a laugh.
About 1 million people in the U.S. carry a known BRCA mutation, said Anna Satusek Kuwada, outreach coordinator for FORCE, a support group for people with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. So Moon – and Satusek Kuwada — are indeed special.
To combat the odds of getting breast cancer, Moon started making plans for surgery right away.
The surgery – surgeries, actually a hysterectomy and mastectomy— were daunting. If she were to forgo the procedures, her odds of getting cancer were nearly 90 percent.
“I had friends who tried to talk me out of them. ‘You still have a 13 percent chance of not getting cancer,” said Moon, who created a one-woman musical comedy about her journey called “The Mutant Diaries: Unzipping my Genes.”
“My response was , ‘would you fly on a plane that had a 13 percent chance of not crashing?’ I was very confident I was doing the right thing,” she said.
The hysterectomy required little second-guessing. Both mom (uterine) and grandma (ovarian) had fought battles with the Big C. Grandma had lost hers and mom would fight one more year until ultimately succumbing in 2012.
The mastectomy was a different story. It cut, she said, to the core of feeling like a woman.
“It was a bigger thing to give up for me,” she said. “But I didn’t want to wait until after I had cancer.”
Besides, during this time, she was watching her mother die of cancer. This only made her resolution stronger to have the surgeries.
“You just do what you have to do,” she said, adding that every human has to face challenges.
In a way, the show itself was a challenge. She had the mastectomy in February, 2012, reconstructive surgery in May, and then in late summer, she decided to write a song about it.
“It was called “Ta-ta, tatas,” she said. She played it for a friend who suggested she do a show. Within a week, she had a draft of it, with nine songs and a monologue.
“It came out really fast,” she said. “It must have been needed to come out.” She did not want to write one at first, thinking that repeating her story over and over might keep her stuck in her past pain.
“It hasn’t been the case at all,” she said. Instead, she’s planning to take her show overseas, with one night scheduled for London in the summer of 2013 and two nights, Jan. 18 and 19 scheduled for North Bend’s Valley Center Stage.
“I’m so glad I wrote it,” she said. “Every word of the show is the absolute truth.”
The show, she said, is anything but a downer.
Satusek Kuwada agreed, calling the show brave and beautiful.
“It has the potential to not only provide a voice for the thousands of women like us living with a BRCA mutation, but to educate and make aware a much larger audience,” Satusek Kuwada wrote in an email.
The show, she said, carries a message to people that they can overcome these challenges.
“There are so many women out there for whom this is still in front of them or some other challenge they face, it doesn’t even have to be cancer,” she said. “I have an opportunity to stand on a stage and tell people that you can get through hard things and you’ll still be yourself. You will still be whole in some way. You have a wonderful life ahead of you, even if you can’t see it.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
The Mutant Diaries:
Unzipping My Genes
- A one-woman musical written and performed by Eva Moon
- 8 p.m. Jan. 18-19, Valley Center Stage, 119 W. North Bend Way, 831-5667.
- Tickets are $12.50 and $10 for senior citizens.