Several people have asked me to recap Dr. Oz today because Big Ang is on the show. I really hate the way Dr. Oz seems to exploit these types of situations; however, I really do want to see for myself how Ang is doing.
Angela’s cancer diagnosis was first made in March of 2015. God, I already don’t want to watch this. After surgery for throat cancer, and cancer in her left lung, she was pronounced cancer free just last October.
Big Ang walks out to a very warm response from the audience. She immediately grins at Dr. Oz and tells him he is very handsome with a big smile on her face. Dr. Oz asks what he should call her, Big Ang or Angela. She said, “Angela” so Angela it is.
Angela has a much raspier voice that usual. She says she started to cry when she watched the introduction backstage. Dr. Oz asks his first dumb questions, “Why?” Angela (I’m having to get used to that name) says because it is shocking what happened to her. First she thought she was cancer free and was going to have a big celebration and then a month later, I was stage four. Angela is teary-eyed and looks terrified.
Dr. Oz asks her if right in this moment she is feeling okay. She says “sometimes.” She has lots of sel-comforting gestures going on. She appears incredibly anxious and this is hard to watch.
Dr. Oz asks, When you are not okay, what are you feeling?” Angela says, “depressed.” She starts to cry and so are people in the audience. I could not be in this audience. Dr. Oz does not break the silence. She’s looking at him like, let’s get on with this and nothing is happening. Eventually, Angela says that sometimes she things she is going to be fine and sometimes she doesn’t think she is. She’s up and down.
Angela says one day she was perfectly fine thinking she had strep throat and the next thing I know I have stage two throat cancer. And so, okay we remove it…
Dr. Oz interrupts. He says she had a ten hour operation for that. Ang says two times. First they did the left side and then they did the right side. She makes slashing movements with her finger from her ear to the center of her throat on both sides.
Dr. Oz says, “When you first heard the word ‘cancer…” Ang jumps in with “I thought that was it. I was done. I said, ‘oh cancer, I’m gonna die, everybody dies from cancer.’ You know, you hear cancer and right away you think you’re gonna die. but they did the surgery. Ten hours. Only one week after I was diagnosed. One week! It was like right away. It (the tumor) was blocking my airway. They couldn’t even intubate me because the tumor was so big. It took two hours for them to get the pipe (intubation tube) down. And I was awake the whole time when they were trying to do it. It was the worst. Then ten hours. They remove all the lymph nodes and the tumor that one time. Then two months later they give me the second surgery and do the left side and remove all the lymph nodes. And then they said I had no cancer.”
Dr. Oz stops to talk about the cancer being caused by And’s forty year smoking habit. She says the day she was diagnosed she threw her cigarettes away on the way out of the hospital.
Angela had no chemotherapy after her throat surgery. She says they said all the lymph nodes were clear. She says then they found stage one lung cancer on the left lung and it had to be removed right away. A week later she is in another operating room. September was three operations back to back to back. They removed half of the left lung. They said they couldn’t take any chances and they are going to take the lymph nodes. On October 2nd they tell her she is cancer free. They told her she beat it twice. She thought, “What’s the odds of that? Oh God, I’m a lucky person.” She celebrates with a big birthday party celebrating the fact she is cancer free. When she goes in for her three month checkup, she notices that everyone is acting weird. They’re usually so friendly. She always tells the doctor he looks handsome (not Dr. Oz doesn’t feel special anymore) and he was not acting like himself. He just says they have to wait for the other Dr. to come. She said she knew something was up. She thinks he felt bad and didn’t want to tell her that now they’ve found stage four lung and brain cancer. She was by herself at the appointment. They didn’t know how to tell her. She was completely devastated. She couldn’t hear what they were saying. I couldn’t understand. It was like I was deaf.
They told her, ” You have stage four lung and brain cancer. We don’t know how this happened.” Um, I don’t know how it happened either. Again, it sure seems like the missed something.
Dr. Oz asks if they gave her a prognosis. She said, ” No they said like …we’ll have to…we’re sorry we don’t know… but now you’ll have to go to another doctor.” They listed all the types of doctors she needed to see and she was overwhelmed by it all.
Dr. Oz asks now that she has processed it have they told her what they are predicting is going to happen to her. She says they told her she had a 30% chance (she doesn’t say of what, but most likely she means surviving) and she says that she has six grand children. She has one last Tuesday. She says her kids are very needy. They need her. Dr. Oz clarifies that the 30% chance is of survival. She says, “yeah.” She says she can’t believe what she is hearing.
Angela has started chemo and she had radiation to her brain. She says she already has four big bald spots in her hair all in four weeks all this is happening. Ang seems, justifiably, very overwhelmed by the speed at which this is all occurring.
Dr. Oz asks what is she doing to cope with all of this. She says she tries to stay positive. She looks at her kids and her grandkids and she knows how much they need her. She says, “My kids, my daughter lives with me with her kids and her husband so I’m very close to my grandchildren. My son’s kids always sleep over.” She breaks down crying again. They go to break.
After the break, we see Angela and her sister going to her fourth round of chemo. Ang had a consultation with her doctor. He didn’t like the way she was breathing and ordered a CAT scan of her chest. She says she could tell he didn’t like what he saw on the report. He says the tumor is not shrinking, and even worse news, it’s growing.
Back in the studio, Ang says of the latest news, “Every day it’s just something worse. Instead of it getting better, it’s getting worse.”
Dr. Oz says he has been speaking with her doctors. Since the chemotherapy isn’t working they are going to switch her to immunotherapy. Ang says they just told her that today and she is starting it on Tuesday (probably today). He explains to Angela that immunotherapy is a new treatment designed to amp up her own immune system to fight off the cancer. She says she doesn’t like the chemo because it gives her rashes and sores all in her mouth. She puts the cream on every day but it doesn’t help much. Your hair falls out, you get sores all over your face. She says she can’t believe what she looks like. Dr. Oz says he thinks she’s a very beautiful woman and her face lights up and for a moment we see the Big Ang we all know and love.
In the third segment, doctor Oz talks to her family. Ang says she has great family support. She says that they take time out of their busy schedule to take her to appointments even though they have large families of their own and she is very grateful. Dr. Oz brings up Neil. Big Ang says she felt he never stepped up to the plate, so she is done with it. She would rather be by herself. She was taking care of everything in the marriage anyway, so she’d rather be alone. I’d like to just say that her perception of the Neil situation may be a bit clouded. We certainly saw him supporting her on both Mob Wives and Couples Therapy and Big Ang was often treating him very badly in response. It’s possible that Neil is the scapegoat where Angela is placing all of her anger from her diagnosis. And that’s understandable. Or maybe Neil is a jerk. I certainly don’t know any more than what we have all seen on TV.
They show a filming of a family dinner. Angela said when she had to cut her hair short for chemo, he sister cut hers short too. Her kids and her grand kids and her entire family are adorable. Heartbreakingly adorable.
Dr. Oz ends the final segment offering to extend his medical connections to her.
I certainly hope this new immunotherapy brings quick and lasting results.
In should go without saying, but sadly, it must be said. Assholish comments will result in permanent banishment.