Feb 24th 2017 by Rishi_Vegad • 20 Questions • 3632 Points
EDIT: 3rd Remission Anniversary today! Happy anniversary to me and my lymph-nodes. Closing this officially now, thank you to everyone who asked me a question. You guys are great and you've given me the push to start writing this book. Feels weird to type that and mean it. :)
Hey guys! I am a twenty-two year old Irish woman, working as a freelance content writer. I love whiskey, sleeping, Drake and dogs. I also happen to be a stage four cancer survivor.
I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2013, which had spread and metastasized/spread in the lining of my left lung. I was 18 years old at the time and had just started my first week of university.
After a grueling course of chemotherapy, I was given my NED/remission status on February 24th 2014. I developed both depression and PTSD post-treatment, which I have since overcome.
I have always been a storyteller and writer by nature, and my goal is to write a book about my experiences with cancer and the stigma of surviving. However, I'm not quite comfortable enough with it to write about it at the moment.
The objective of this AMA is to give me a little insight into the kinds of questions people have about cancer, young people with cancer and surviving cancer. It'll also help put me on the path to finally writing my book.
I'd really like to break down the stigma and preconceptions of what it means to "survive" the shit-show of cancer. If I've learned anything from past encounters as a survivor, it's that people are misinformed and often wrong. So with that in mind, there are no stupid questions!
Ask literally anything, it doesn't matter if you think it's dumb, offensive, disgusting etc. I will answer with frank honesty.
A picture of my first ever PET scan results. All of the black is cancer, with the exception of the larger black shadow at the bottom. That's my bladder which was full of dye for the scan.
I just found out yesterday that you were a writer on INVADER ZIM! What was it like writing on that show? Love you guys and your work!
Thanks for doing this today!! Bates Motel has some really great wacky humour (which I love). For Freddie, do you feel that this has shaped your writing style in any way?
Hello, Dr. Rojas.
How do you think the Black Lives Matter movement will be viewed 25 years from now in the context of civil rights?
When you were going through chemo, did you ever act like sméagol in front of a mirror and scream "my precious"?
Yes I do - ranging from itches to electric shock-like pain - these were quite bad immediately after I lost my leg but have faded since.
It's strange and sometimes quite painful but you get used to it. I have been lucky as I know some people suffer with it a lot more.
Working around the designers and animators of Invader Zim was truly inspiring. -Frank
I don't think I would be able to have started to write without Kerry's support. I feel that doing Bates Motel and being a part of a long running tv show, showed me that writing and directing was something I really wanted to do. I always had a slightly unfocused sense of wanting to write one day in the future, but Bates Motel honed me in the sort of thing I wanted to write. --FH
Freddie has an inherent idiosyncratic and wacky sense of humor, so it would have crept into anything he would have written...including dark things. It would always infuse in his writing, the way he looked at the character of Norman...little things in scenes that are so subtle. Little touches that made the character very endearing...that's pure Freddie.-- KE
Great question. In some ways, BLM will be seen as a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement. BLM seeks racial equality and pushes back against policies that are thought to target African-Americans. In other ways, BLM might be seen divergent from the Civil Rights movement because of its focus on cultural nationalism.
Dude. So many fucking times you wouldn't believe it. My mother used to ask me to do it for people.
Other favourites included Lord Voldemort and Sinead O'Connor.
How does it feel going from playing more lighthearted fantasy stuff (Spiderwick Chronicles, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory) to someone really dark like Norman Bates?
Also, happy belated birthday fellow Februarian!
How can you compare all the good Martin Luther King did to what these people do?
Does the mirror trick that House M.D. uses in Episode "The Tyrant" work?
Or is it not something you've tried?
What are each of your personal favorite host segments?
Is the lab in good hands with Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt?
It seems like I just got into the show only like a year ago, and I have been completely into it since season 1 was released on Netflix. What is your favorite season you have done? Least favorite?
EDIT: How did it feel for you when you got to direct an episode as well?
Hi, thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. What is the best way you could describe racial equality; what does it look like, how does it impact cultural status quo, how do we go about implementing it, and is there a way to do so without "lessening the equality" of other racial groups to achieve a neutrality?
I don't know how it is in Ireland but in the US there is a certain amount of time you have to sue depending on the situation, sometimes it's years so you may be able to still. Also, sueing someone isn't always about "punishing" that person in particular, it's about setting an example and bringing to light a certain problem, in your case it's the fact that your doctor didn't take you serious because of your age. Ageism. There are many laws in place to protect elderly people from ageism but maybe not for younger people since it usually isn't an issue… Anyway, really glad you are doing well and thanks for sharing everything, it's really interesting and important.
I haven't tried it but I have heard about it - if House is doing it, I clearly need to check it out ;)
Do you plan to use your Aerospace Engineering and Rocketry experience to craft a Rocket Propelled Prosthetic?
Will you guys ever make it to seattle? And how does carolina feel about parquet floors?
Did any of the cast and crew members keep any of the props? I think one of the room keys would've been a pretty cool souvenir! :)
So, are you saying that a meritocracy would be a better way to implement a sense of cultural and societal worth? How is it possible to overcome what seems to be a natural predisposition towards forming groups and order from perceived accumulated generalities and commonalities (aka stereotypes)?
So, my best friend lost his leg from an amputation in the hospital over a year ago. He and I have always dreamed since that he can get a cool robo-leg. How did you go about getting to trial the leg? What's a general way we can go about getting him a cool prosthesis?
Frank, I have your book "Twenty Five MST3K Flims That Changed My Life in No Way Whatsoever" and enjoy it very much - so what MST3K film did change your life? (And to make it more difficult "Manos" doesn't count, because we all know you changed the course of world history by finding that stinkburger.)
Hi - awesome limb! how do you handle metal detectors etc at airports?
It's truly amazing how big the concept of riffing movies has gotten, considering it was basically nonexistent when you guys started
I believe that we are in much better shape than we were decades ago. For example, legalized segregation is thankfully a thing of the past. It is hard to find people who would say that we would be better off returning to the pre-Civil Rights era. At the same time, there are some bad developments. For example, mass incarceration mainly affects African Americans and Latinos. There is also the issue of immigration. The harsh and draconian immigration policies of the last few years have fallen mainly on Mexican and Central American migrants. So, yes, I am clearly happy that we live in a post-Civil Rights world. It is a huge improvement. At the same time, there is still a lot of work to be done.
In terms of causes, there are many. Scholars who study mass incarceration note that it stems from concerns about drugs, harsh sentencing aimed at specific populations, and the public's willingness to tolerate these policies.
I had all the classic Hodgkins symptoms as well as a few more serious ones, as the tumours grew.
- Swollen, lumpy armpits/groin.
*Night-sweats - I'd have to get up at night and change my PJs as well as the towel under me
*Sudden, inexplicable weight-loss
*Wracking, perpetual cough
*Fevers or chills
*Itchiness in my legs and arms
*Constant chest infections
*Shortness of breath when walking short distances or climbing steps
For example, legalized segregation is thankfully a thing of the past.
Not true at all - and largely thanks to the desires of blacks to be able to legally exclude other people, not the other way around.
What was the funniest moment during your ordeal with cancer?
The socket - the interface between the residual limb and the prosthesis - is the most important part, for me anyway. It's like wearing a well-fitting pair of shoes, really!
I'm mostly interested how you mentally overcome and learned to live with such great loss?
Thinking about your episode on Ed Wood (and your careers in general,) it's prettt obvious that movies as a medium are particularly special to you guys. So my question is simply- why? What is it about movies that has compelled you for all these years?
Another question for Frank in particular, are you planning on doing anymore essays or blog on a regular basis? I enjoyed your book but that old blog you had on Cinematic Titanic just sticks with me as one of my favorite things you've ever done- especially pieces like "Wonderful Horrible" or "It Was a Very Good Year." Thanks for the ama!!!
Hello Freddie, :)
Just wanted to say I'm a big fan of your work! My question is which dead Bates Motel character would you bring back to life?
Very interesting set of responses and questions...still wanted to ask if you were aware/had an opinion on the recent black british studies degree in England? Has black studies successfully dealt with the black experience in other countries as a discipline?
I'm lucky in that I had great family support, I met lots of new people - other patients that I learnt to walk with, the physios that taught me to walk again. When I returned to college and went to University, I've always had positive experiences.
The opportunities that I have now may never have come to me had I not lost my leg.
Now that there is a functioning information superhighway, is it more tempting to you today to do thorough background research on a bad movie, in order to generate riffs?
Freddie - What was the hardest scene to shoot in season 4 ?
Hello Professor Rojas,
A question for you on sociology more broadly: why do you think it is that insights from some of the 20th century's greatest economists (particularly Hayek and Mises) haven't seen a great deal of penetration into the discipline, when it seems like they would be highly relevant and informative to so many of the questions that sociologists grapple with today?
We just watch the movie. We proved on the original show that you don't need the internet to have a head full of useless information. -Frank
The hardest scene in season 4 for me was when Norma died. It was so hard but I got violently ill and couldn't go to set- I'm CONVINCED its because I couldn't stand to go see it- K
I think some of the bigger moments with Dr. Edwards were challenging. For episode 10 Kerry and I chatted for a while about that one and tracked Norman through the entire episode to make sure everything lined up. It was an internal episode for Norman. - F
since it has bluetooth, have you ever worried that your limb might get hacked?
Where should I start if I want to get into the music of Laura Nyro? And who among contemporary artists do you consider to be her equal?
Do you think intelligent prosthetics are a more viable solution than stem cell lattice and regrowth?
Never heard of it, what's it all about?
Carolina, Trace, and I talking about movies. And tangents. That's it. -Frank
A. He's really cute. B. He sees them. The women who have been drawn to him, they're all kind of emotionally damaged, and I think that he feels like this quiet, safe place for them. They feel emotionally safe with him, which is ironic, because he kills peoeple. - K
Freddie, what was your experience working with Rihanna like? Love you, Freddie!
Hello Dr. Rojas! I was reading I've Got the Light to Freedom by Charles Payne, and one thing he said really interested me. Essentially, he said that the fact that lynchings were happening all over the south in the 1950s-1960s was not unique by any manner, but what was unique was that the national news actually started covering them.
Frankly, it feels similar to what is going on now with Black people and police brutality/violence. I'm sure there's no more or less of it happening now that in the last 20 years or so, but all of a sudden people/the media care enough to pay attention.
Anyway, just curious about your thoughts. Does the media need to cover these events for them to grow into a social movement? Does social media kind of negate the "mainstream media"?
Lastly, Payne also argues that grassroots movements are really what drove the Civil Rights Movement. That these smaller movements acted as a coercive pressure on federal government. Thoughts on how that mimics today's political atmosphere?
Did you watch Breaking Bad, and if so, what did you think of it?
Oh she was wonderful. It's hard to say too much without giving away what she gets up to in Bates Motel...but she was incredibly engaged, professional and always gave absolutely everything. She threw herself into the role and made her Marion Crane unique and special with arcs back to the original performance in Psycho, but she made the character her own.
Excellent point. A major argument in research on social movements is that movements need allies in the media. This was certainly the case in the Civil Rights movement.
Well, BLM is grassroots by most accounts. We'll have to see if they develop in a way that allows them to systematically apply pressure for state and federal agencies.
I flat-out refused to watch it when I was ill because of the cancer storyline.
I started it last year and finished it about three weeks ago. I loved every minute of it and I'm sorry I didn't watch it when I was sick. Heisenberg was a bad-ass and I could have learned a lot from him, attitude-wise.
If you could customise your Linx limb in any way what would you do?
Thank you all for doing this! Love the show and I can't wait to see what's next from you both!
Norma always makes Norman eggs, bacon, and biscuits for breakfast. What's your favorite breakfast food?
I would make sure there was no paintwork and you could see all the carbon fibre - the look of that is really cool, especially for an engineering geek like me!
I'm enjoying bacon rolls back in England. It's like a bacon/sausage roll. Circular roll, bread roll, with ketchup. I like pancakes, scrambled eggs. Marmite. --FH
How does the robo-leg receive power? Battery Pack? Would be cool if it recharged it self with kinetic servos!
Freddie, in your opinion, what is the best scene between Norma and Norman?
It runs on a lithium ion battery, which I charge approx. every 3-4 days. I agree, kinetic servos would be cool!
I think there are so many. One of my favorites is when he talks about moving to hawaii and sing Pearly Shells, knowing in the back of his head htat he's going ot trun the gas on. It's creepy and heartbreaking at the same time. Writing that scene I was thinking about if you hjad a kid and you knew something terrible was happening the next dayand you had to fkill them for their own good how would you do that? He had to think about how to put her to sleep peacefully and was so well done by Freddie and Vera. - K
In the first episode of this season when Norman comes home and they're at the dining room table and you get this sense of where their relationship is at, I feel that all the stories we've had are written with such nuance and and are never long but are done so well and so fun to play with Vera. It's really sad (not to be down about it!) that we won't working in a scene like that again. - F
Would you say the interactions between Norman and Norma are emotionally taxing for you? Especially in season 5, now that all of his interactions with Norma have this undercurrent of sadness to it, since it's all in his mind.
I think all bigger scenes (which there are lots in Bates Motel) are challenging. You put real emotions into them and in some ways acting should be seen as a form of therapy, it can be very cathartic. Like after a big cry, you feel better. I get to vent my anger in Bates Motel, and then in my real life I'm endlessly happy. I never stress about anything.
Personally, I think he started to fall for her around episode 6 of the first season. When he went into his office later that season and tried to play ball with him on a criminal level and he slaps that down, at that point she already has a little pull on him. I think that's when they both allow themselves to see it. - K
- Walk down a street alone at night without putting my keys between my knuckles as a weapon
- Do the dick helicopter bc why not
- Pee standing up without soaking my thighs
- Get a blowjob because they look fun
In your picture, why are you wearing two different kinds of shoes?
Conversely, what advantages (physically) do you see being a girl instead of a guy?
Those are Air Max 1 ACGs. They come with two different coloured laces out of the box, as well as the option for them to be both white. I have approx. 50 pairs of trainers! I went through a phase of buying lots of limited edition trainers after I lost my leg because it helped me cope with people looking at me when I was out and about.
Again, completely off-topic but I did say ask anything.
We get to play with our own boobs.
According to some guys a female orgasm is way more intense and complicated - I like the complication of it.
Also very hairy backs, faces and chests just seems like an awful effort. Shaving to the knee is an effort for me alone, can't imagine having to tackle my titties and my back too.
And penises just hang there, like do they not stick to your leg or flop around a lot? Everything we have is tucked away safely. Mother nature's pocket.
How does your prosthetic limb respond to your brain commands ? Can you move it voluntarily ? What makes you say that its the most intelligent prosthetic limb ? Thanks in advance
would you try the bad stuff, like getting hit in the nuts or a boner in public?
No it doesn't, it's a passive device. It reacts to what the sensors in it see. I use my brain to make my stump move, and then the limb reacts based on the terrain it's on, the load on the front/back of the leg amongst other things.
It's the most intelligent prosthetic because it's the only limb available on the market; as it's a limb it has to deal with two joints and communicate between the two.
These questions are incredibly off topic even if they're making me giggle like a schoolgirl. But no, I would not try the bad stuff.
I only get 24 hours to play with my penis, I'm not gonna fuck that up with a kick to the sack.
What (if anything) is something you feel your prosthetic / prosthetics in general havn't quite managed just yet? Any aspects in particular that you feel there's room for significant improvement as technology advances?
So your blood test results through out the year that you felt symptoms and were called a hypochondriac never showed any signs of something being wrong? Red blood cells/ white blood cells, etc?
The main thing is having a lot of different legs for different activities. Developing one that does everything is the next step. Problems like waterproofing - a big hurdle - need to be solved; these are massive steps that will make a huge difference.
I was severely anemic and my vitamin D level dropped to 14, whereas a regular level is up around 70-75. I was dying and all she could do was tell me to get more exercise and hand me vitamins. My white blood cell count started to fluctuate too. But Hodgkins Lymphoma won't show up on any blood test, only scans, which I was never sent for despite asking.
I also had severe bowel issues at the time which she put down to IBS, and then tried to blame everything that was wrong with me on a bad diet.
It hasn't ;)
I use my waterproof limb, which is not the Linx. I've lost my leg, but now I've got more than I started with!
Have u seen that rock climbers new leg? What do u think of it ?
Do you mean Hugh Herr? His legs have powered ankles which mean he can move more efficiently. These are different to mine, but it's amazing to see someone turn their adversity into amazing technology and highlights just how engineering provides solutions to society's problems. The engineering is brilliant.