Kat Cressida on Struggles with CancerReported on Wednesday, June 26th 2019
Voice actor Kat Cressida, best known for roles such as Dee Dee in Dexter's Lab and Bloody Mary in The Wolf Among Us, spoke to PopCulture.com about a rare form of cancer she faced that nearly ended her voiceover career, and the effect it had on her life.
7 years ago a cyst in her left cheek turned out to be dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, a form of cancer with only one case per million a year. While usually benign, the especially rare part of the body for it to manifest created very real concerns about how it could be surgically treated without permanent side effects. Following the surgery, Cressida was "left post-surgery with eight weeks of daily radiation to undergo, devastating pain and the emotionally crushing disfigurement that swelled the left side of her head to the point she was advised not to look in mirrors by her caretakers".
The article further describes that "That period of her life [...] was 'just pure survival', as she struggled with pain, panic attacks, the "darkness" of wondering if she would ever be able to rejoin what was once her life, and if it was worth suffering through all of it at all."
"At those moments, I definitely had the general mantra, 'Well, I didn't get this far to just get this far," she explained to the site. "So there’s really no option but to keep taking baby steps forward. And baby steps became the comforting part of it. ...You just have to get through this particular moment and breathing, taking big bites of oxygen is how I remember thinking of it.”
Not helping Cressida's already dark and tough case was the difficulty of dealing with the US health care system. Her facial reconstruction surgery wasn't deemed a "medical necessity" and caused her to rack up enormous costs in medical bills, only aided by the generosity of people around her.
"It doesn't feel like [the movies] in real life. There was no moment of beautiful lighting and a beautiful soundtrack. You feel very alone in it. [...] I never wanted to play the, 'I'm sick!' card, because that's not how I saw myself. It was a lonely isolated journey for so long, and one I wanted to keep secret for fear of everything. ... Talking about it was impossible just a few years ago."
She was also moved by the impact of telling her story at this year's TEDxUCLA, making her realize the importance of letting these struggles be known.
“I'm sure at the very least it feels good to be doing something with all that mess other than it being an anecdote. Like it's actually going to turn into something of value to people who are going through whatever scariness or pain or grief or loss … it’s a good feeling to know that maybe it will."
"It’s like any recovery very from grief of loss or deep trauma. Some days it's like, 'Wow, I'm me again,' and it’s almost like it never happened. And there are some days where you're back in the middle of it. And it’s cyclical."
To read Popculture's original article, hit the link below.