Cimzia! A Schweenie in a Silent Film Production

Cimzia! Movie Poster

Below is a short video demonstrating a little of my experience with colitis, meeting with doctors, and being treated with Cimzia, an injectable biologic medication.  (Don’t worry if you’re squeamish, no needles are actually seen in the film).  The video stars a few of my biggest chronic illness supporters, my dog, my cat, and my Hot Hugs Lamb.  This trio helps me cope with my chronic pain and conditions on a daily basis.  Be sure to check out the Bonus Features following the film.  Enjoy!

Bonus Features

Interviews:

Schweenie Eleanor Roosevelt with Doggles. Headshot with Eleanor's signature.

“Since the day I was born, it seems like the spotlight has been on me.  My mom, Tosha, is always telling me to make sure I use my power for good.  So, I created ‘A Schweenie in a Silent Film Production’ to put the spotlight on causes that need a louder voice.  ‘Cimzia!’ is our first film and seemed like a natural place to start as I watch my mom live with the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and a lack of effective treatments everyday.

In general, the symptoms of IBD are not considered “sexy” or polite conversation, so they are frequently ignored in the media.  Most celebrities with the disease won’t speak about it for fear of decreasing their sex-appeal and therefore their employment options.  Within the general population, those with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Indeterminate Colitis, and other chronic illnesses also often feel that they need to hide their symptoms.  It is my hope that ‘Cimzia!’ helps people like my mom come out of hiding.”

Kitty Detorit's Head Shot & Signature

“Normally I don’t believe in working with the canine species, but this cause is one near and dear to my heart.  My goal in making this film, was not only to offer my human mom a place to tell part of her story, but to spread some awareness about IBD and invisible illness.  Much of what those with chronic conditions deal with on a daily basis is unknown to most of the people in their lives, causing them to feel isolated and alone.  I want others like Tosha to know that they are not alone.  I want the general public to know that you can’t just tell by looking at someone what they might be dealing with.  And I want the world to know that a lot more research needs to happen to advance treatment options for digestive diseases.”

Hot Hugs Microwavable Lamb. Headshot style with Roobie's signature.

“Usually I prefer to take a silent role, offering my support with warm comforting hugs to ease emotional and physical pain. However, when ‘A Schweenie in a Silent Film Production’ sent me the script for this film, I knew it was time to take a more vocal role.  Sounds funny doesn’t it, taking a vocal role in a silent film?  But this project does raise a voice for those with these chronic illnesses and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.  Plus the cat told me she wouldn’t let the dog eat me during filming.  That sealed the deal.”

Close-up shot of Tosha's eye. Head-shot style with Tosha's signature.

“Going from not being able to say the word ‘diarrhea’ to medical providers and never using the phrase, ‘I’m sick,’ even when in the hospital having a total colectomy, to having a film announce my symptoms to the world has been a strange journey.  I am honored that ‘A Schweenie in a Silent Film Production’ wanted to tell my story and I hope that it helps others with chronic illnesses to be more willing to discuss their symptoms and experiences, and encourages them to keep pushing for better treatment options.”

Bonus Featurettes:

Thank you to Jackie from Blood, Poop, & Tears for sharing this documentary about a woman with UC who decides to have a total colectomy and ultimately an internal pouch.

I believe domestic animals have a natural instinct to care.  However, it is not just humans that need caring.  Watch this video of a dog who becomes a caregiver for a blind dog.  Ultimately they save each other – the best possible outcome for a Spoonie-Dish relationship.

Bottled Time Chronic Illness Terms. Spoonie - person with chronic illness, pain, or disability (esp. invisible); Dish - A Spoonie's spouse or partner; Normie - The average person not affected by chronic illness. "Spoonie" is from The Spoon Theory ButYouDontLookSick.com

More for You:

Other Voices Being Raised:

  • Misky is a kitty living in Spain.  There she takes care of her mum Nuria, a Spoonie with Lupus.  Misky is a great multi-tasker.  Recently, while carefully caring for her mum, she also wrote a post for Nuria’s blog Lupie Cave.  Check out My Health Mascot to read Misky’s story, and look around the rest of the blog to see how Nuria is stepping out of hiding and speaking up about her Lupie life.
  • Cary is an ostomate with chronic illness who runs the blog Rollin Without a Colon.  CATharsis is a post written by him about how his cats helped him move to a place of healing.  Danusia is his Dish & Soulet.  She is the one who rescued the cats in her attempt to rescue Cary and to evolve her Spoonie-Dish relationship.  She guest-authored the post 3 Cats & Some Ink discussing these topics.  Being a Dish is not easy and I am very glad to see one step up and talk about the correlating emotional stresses.
  • Charis runs the blog Full Frontal Ostomy.  She is hugely dedicated to raising awareness within and outside the ostomy community and recently did an interview with WEGO Health.  Check out her post, Loud and Proud with an Ostomy.  As she says in the interview, “It’s not what you see. It’s how you see it.”
  • Deb runs a blog called Living in Stigma which seeks to put an end to mental illness stigma through education.  Migraines More Likely for People with Celiac Disease discusses research about migraines, Celiac, and other digestive disorders.  Be sure to check out some of her other posts.  As she writes, “Many people living with mental illness say the stigma they face is often worse than the illness itself.”

Related Posts from This Site:

What do you think? Share your thoughts on the film or raise your voice and add your own story! I want to hear from you! Please comment below or join in the discussion on Facebook!

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19 thoughts on “Cimzia! A Schweenie in a Silent Film Production

  1. What a fantastic way to raise awareness!! This video just got me to my knees, Tosha.
    Seriously, I don’t know how you do it, but everytime I read your blog I end up with a smile. And this makes me realize that we may not have happy stories to tell, but that it is up to us to give them that “smiley twist”.
    Learning so much from you!
    Kisses from Spain & thanks for helping Misky become a Hollywood star! 😉
    Xxx

    • I love Misky and am very happy to help promote her! 🙂

      Much of what we Spoonies deal with on a daily basis isn’t pretty. I do find how we retell ourselves the story can greatly affect our outlook on our situations and life in general. This doesn’t mean I never feel down about these things. I very much do. But, if I can take a deep breath and find something to laugh about, I find life a nicer place to be. I don’t always succeed with this, but I’m trying!

      I love your phrase “smiley twist.” I don’t know if you’ve ever had an opportunity in Spain to see the show 30 Rock with Tina Fey, but I love her character Liz Lemon (my dog was almost named after her!). She often says, “Twist!” when there’s a plot change. Now when I’m feeling low I’m going to say to myself “Smiley Twist!” and try to come up with a better way to tell myself the story. Thank you! As you can see, I’m also learning from you.

    • Thanks Beth! These posts are very cathartic for me, but I do always feel a bit vulnerable sharing them with the world. And as they take so many of my spoons (this one took me over a month), supportive comments like yours validate not only my efforts, but in a sense my life’s work and my day’s purpose.

  2. I totally wanted to watch this movie because it sounds awesome, but I have to admit the word “injectable” almost scared me away. Yes, as a spoonie, I am no stranger to getting stuck with needles. YES, I still cry like an infant every single time! Luckily there were no needles, and I liked that a lot!

    My only problem with the film was the type-casting of the cat as “evil.” This kind of prejudice is so harmful to cats in everyday society. Other than that, I fully support your message! Glad to see animals helping to spread awareness! 😛

    • I didn’t even think about the fact that the word “injectable” might scare some people away. While I don’t enjoy giving myself injections, the idea of needles is no longer stomach flipping for me. And administering my own injections every 2 weeks, means I spend a lot of time looking at needles. I forget this isn’t normal for everyone! Thanks for the heads up- I added a disclaimer.

      And thanks for the wonderful comments! As for the cat, she told me to tell you that she chose that role. She said it’s a lot harder to play a type-casted role and show depth of character. She feels she pulled it off well and is hoping for an Emmy. In her words, “Raising awareness, showing support, and winning an Emmy? Now that’s a purrrfect day.”

  3. Pingback: A must See & Hear blockbuster film by my friend Tosha. See & Hear it! | Rollin With Outta Colon

  4. Tosha! Buddha, you’ve got talent! WoW!! What a visual, auditory, spiritual, inspirational work. Seriously, the film blew me away! The soundtrack and sound effects, the living captions, the seamless architecture of video, the joyful spin on inscrutable chronic illnesses … You have an exceptional, peerless voice as a Health Advocate and blog creator.

    In my imagined world, I’d give you endless spoons so you could be free to create at the speed of your mind, not the reluctant speed of your body. Scratch that. As long as its *my* imagined world, I’d give us all perfect health! Regardless, more valuable than speed is the time to think, and think you have.

    I am so honored to be your friend and so PROUD of you. I can’t wait for Danuta to see this and my excitement led me to post it on my site. I know a month seems like a long time for a short film, but often, like now, there’s this time parallel in your post to my writing: I just don’t have the time to compose anything shorter. So thanks for your perseverance — I benefitted tremendously and I’m confident many others will too.

    All my best,
    Cary~

    • “Buddha, you’ve got talent!” Love it. Thank you for the very kind words. As someone who runs a To See & Hear page, your review of a video holds some weight. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I hope Danusia did too. And like you said, I hope it touches others as well.

    • Your writing offers a candid and insightful window into the mind and life of a Spoonie. The added benefit of hearing a Dish perspective and reading about your hero cats, who essentially rescued you and your Dish, excelled the two linked posts to the top of my list of favorites. Thank you for sharing!

      P.S. For the movie I used iMovie on my Mac. The pictures were a combination of many apps & software including FX Studio, Adobe, & LINE. I think I’m a photo editing program hoarder.

  5. Dear Tosha,

    After living with a Spoonie, I have added insight and understanding of what it means to be truly human. Much of my past experiences and temperament gave me the ability to empathize, but being a Dish challenged me deeply. You are correct, the cats rescued me! They gave me buoyancy and a purpose. Their love helped me continue in “dishing” out support and patience.

    Wishing you a little peace and kindness,

    Danuta

    • Thank you Danuta. My little Schweenie Eleanor was recently spayed. Watching her in pain and not being able to do anything but be there next to her, feeling myself suffer with each of her whimpers, feeling frustrated that I could not do anything, and running low on patience when I felt there was no more support I could give yet she was still looking to me for “something,” I asked my Dish if this is what he went through after each surgery with me. He told me it was everyday for everyday he sees me suffer, and he reminded me that I am the one that often tells him that just being there is “something.” You dishes certainly do have a lot to fit on your plate. My wise dish told me that’s why you are “dishes” and not “spoons.” I am very grateful for you dishes. And I know it is not just the things mentioned here, but much more that you carry. Thank you.
      Namaste

      • Dear Tosha,

        Thank you for your insightful and lovely comments. I am not a Dish because I want a prize, praise, payment. I do, however, take tremendous joy in being recognized. The simple, yet powerful mention of my ( and all Dishes ) carrying more than they speak of, is so valuable. Thank you for your gift of seeing that the Dish may also have struggles.

        Sincerely,

        Danuta

  6. Dear Tosha,
    What you are doing here is absolutely amazing. I’m sure it will be a great help to alot of people. The subjects are so hard to discuss but there are so many that are suffering silently and even if they only feel not so very alone, then you have acomplished much. God bless you honey, you are such a talented and special person….truly a gift from God!! love ya tosha

  7. Pingback: 8000 Feet of Free Fall: Update on My Crazy Chronic Life « Bottled Time – Living, Loving, Laughing, Learning, and Growing through Chronic Illness and Pain

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