Published by Melissa Dawn Brown
Melissa Dawn Brown = A freelance superhero + possibility creator. I am a professionally trained actor and writer: spending most of my thirty-seven years travelling around the world— veraciously discovering what life means for me. (Embellished with two or three episodes of ‘fighting for my life’ that have kept mortality in check.) My first catharsis punctuated the summer between high school and university: In the early hours of one hot July morning, my family and I were propelled into the underside of a tractor trailer transport that blocked the entire westbound lanes of the 401. When I woke up— and could recall anything— they recounted a fantastical tale about all that had happened and all that things that had been broken (and fixed) inside me thus far. I was the proud new owner of a traumatic brain injury; bringing a colourful collection of cognitive deficits into my being. Accompanied by a fractured and dislocated spine and shredded insides, courtesy of the seatbelt that had saved my life, all the pieces of my life had sort of been put back together but nothing ever worked the same again. Following my requisite year of recovery, I spent five years of theatre school— with a reduced course-load and support from special needs— learning how to perform as a top scholar who was learning to masterfully portray the human condition while accommodating all that had befallen me. Graduating with honours, I spent the better part of a decade in Toronto, pursuing a career as an actor… and then? I woke up one morning with what felt like laryngitis. Twelve different doctors and more diagnostics than all my fingers and toes resulted in my twenty-ninth Christmas present, diagnosis: Cancer. Papillary Carcinoma a.k.a. Thyroid Cancer was what all my fuss was about. I spent all my time, leading up to my ‘big 3-0’ that February, waiting for my surgery date— they could never get the cancer out fast enough for me! Following my thyroidectomy, radioactive iodine ablation and thirty radiation treatments: I am happy to report that I am now six years with no evidence of disease. I don’t miss my life in Toronto that much… and I’ve managed to live a fairly decent life without my thyroid… But, the only thing that gets me weepy at times is the fact that my ugly tumour had them remove the brains behind one of my vocal chords. I woke up with only half my voice… and that, for me, felt as close to dead as I ever care to feel. I had to go back to the drawing board of my so called life: ’I’m not finished yet,’ is the mantra that kept playing on my heartstrings. My story is TOO BIG not to shout it from the battlements!! (Yes. This is where the superhero bit comes in.) I am currently working on a project called My Superhero Survival Guide: depicting an imaginative, visual journey through the scary world of cancer, its diagnosis, treatment, recovery and the conscious choice that is survival. Relocating to Ottawa for treatment, I have found a dazzling new creative possibility: working with Harmony Music Studios — Ottawa. My vocal training (pre-Cancer), combined with determination (Post) has unleashed innovative and constructive ways of communicating with rising talent. My goal is to help expand their own awareness, giving themselves permission to sculpt quality and texture: building their own unique sound. My background in creative writing, theatre and poetry have made me a sought after lyricist— an essential part of HMS’s creative production team! Sharing my adaptive, creative approach to dealing with life— with all her hiccups (big or small)—is how I further the SELF-MADE SUPERHERO way of being. “Own your POWER… It’s SUPER and it can take you to duh moon, Alice!”— farther than you’ve ever even thought was possible!