Thursday, June 29, 2017

A New Kind of Nurse is in Town!

Having a very late day. Got to work with the loveliest family. We spent an hour going over his treatment plan. The daughter was so devoted and he was adorable. I enjoy helping especially when everyone was so overwhelmed. We established a wonderful rapport, and I even got them laughing. When something funny happens during my day, I catch myself thinking that I need to remember that for Michael's character!!

It is possible we found someone to play Cooper's Dad and his son Jessie to day. Keep your fingers crossed. Now I am waiting to hear from persons that wanted to try out for Nicole, Danny, April's Mom, Jeff, and Paul. Let's get those videos in so we can lock this casting up! I am getting nurses from City of Hope to sign up for one or more Saturdays in August to be walk ons, say single line, or just st help out. Their plan is to all go out afterwards. Sounds like fun!

I am using this project to keep some of my patients busy helping me and to just get them out of the house. I'm glad to offer them the opportunity. I hope they all feel up to it.

Allen is close to getting the first film short done. It will be so great to see it posted. Timmy D makes a perfect Michael, and I think the film short will make people want to learn more about what we are up to. I came up with an idea to further promote the unique care provided by a Palliative Care team. I think we should promote that there is a new kind of nurse in town!! Wait until you see what Allen does with that idea!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Happy Anniversary

Going to try to blog while on the shuttle to the train station. Haven't tried doing this on my iPhone before, so here goes. We have been so busy viewing video auditions we've been sent. Lots of talent out there! We still have a few parts to fill, but I am hopeful. I have acquired a new appreciation for casting directors. Who knew you shouldn't cast children in roles that are genetically impossible given their supposed parents? Hasn't anyone ever heard of adoption or premarital affairs? I have a hard time   because I think in this day and age anything is possible. We are also looking at lots of production issues, there is so much to this. I just wanted to make a little movie!

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, so I took the day off from the blog. Sorry to disappoint. Allen surprised me with a necklace. He is getting very sneaky in his old age. I am so grateful for all the time and hard work he is putting into this project. Just got some bad news about a photo site we wanted to use, need to keep going and just believe!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Busy Day

Exciting day. Able to cast several needed roles. I am so impressed at all the talent out there and how supportive everyone is with this movie project. We just acquired the most perfect Anna! and I was able to get a few more people I work with to agree to take some minor  parts. It's exciting to see it all coming together and to see the persons in my script come to life and hear them say my dialogue. This is all so amazing!

I just wish we were in a position to reimburse the actors at least for gas. If the Go-Fund-Me sites work out maybe we will be able to do that in the future. In the meantime, we keep working to come up with what money we need. Our biggest expense is going to be costume rentals I think. I need three white Navy/sailor uniforms, aghhh!

We are getting deep into organizing the shoot. Things are pretty complicated. I made what I hope will be the final revisions for the script. Some names were too ethnic and limited casting possibilities, some roles were just to difficult to fill and had to be consolidated.We also made all auditions electronic. Now anyone can audition for the open parts on-line. Most people are using YouTube and sending us a private link. I hope we get all the roles filled soon. We have a tentative plan for a full review /read-thru of the script the last Saturday in July in LA.

Be sure to check out the information on the rest of our website, lots happening.

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Was able to stay cool and had a great area for actors to come to audition. A special thanks again to Jamie for letting us use her studio. The turn-out was low, but we attributed it to the heat and the distance people had to drive. We are already planning a second audition the end of July closer to LA. Even with the low turn out we had some amazing talent to consider. I think we found Dr. Olson, Kelly, and April!! We are going to make a decision soon.

The cast and crew are quickly becoming good friends. Big Jon who plays Cooper, will also be taking on the role of Assistant Director! Dean LaCrone is a fabulous Thomas Brownrigg, but we knew he would be. We are also asking Dean to take on the extra work of acting adviser and executive PA (hehe, a crew position Allen just created).

There was an amazing moment today when Megan, who was playing Kelly, Cooper's wife; Jon, who plays Cooper; and Timmy D, who plays Michael, really got into the scene they were doing together. They really captured the emotion! It was perfect! When the scene ended, there was such an energy in the room that the actors had to defuse and immediately dropped into silly comic bits that caused everyone to roar with laughter. It is surprising how similar the emotional energy is for laughing and crying.

This movie is going to be a challenge on many levels. I am so grateful for the people involved. Everyone is so committed to this project, and we are evolving into a close family.

A big hug to all!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Laughter and Friendship

The photo shoot for trailers and to provide short teasers took over 5 hours. I have a new respect for actors and film crew! The need to repeat scenes so different angles can be obtained, the equipment checks and failures that cause the scene to be repeated over and over both amazed and annoyed me. I don't know how everyone can stay so calm and the actors so willing to say the same lines over and over again. That ability is lost on me. When I am working with a dying patient there are no do-overs, no second chances to make things perfect. Maybe secretly I envy having that do-over option.

Timmy and Jon did a great job with their characters and I appreciate how important it is to them to portray their characters correctly. Even in this situation humor was helpful to diffuse the tension, help everyone relax, and helped to find the energy to keep going. It is really the same for any of us as we travel through life, and especially for the dying. Nothing forced or over the top, just a light comment that makes someone smile.

I laughed at Timmy as he had to deal with some light makeup application to cut down any glare. He told me to make him look like a princess. The comment made me laugh because Timmy's baseline is  the macho dedicated rock-and-roller. His princess request was completely out of character and may have provided a new nickname for him!

Jon was great as Cooper. He has these great facial expressions he can take on almost instantly and a great laugh. I was amazed how much he reminded me of the real person I based his character on. I recalled how blessed I was to be a part of  that patient's life. I really wanted someone to do Cooper's part justice, and I think Jon is just the man. His already established friendship with Timmy, and both of their dedication to this project will make this movie very special.

Erik worked his butt off. He was so in to doing a good job and shares lots of great ideas. I was glad he was starting to mesh well with Allen and they began to really work as a team.

My proudest moment was about Allen. I decided I wanted to write the movie script based on my book Resilient Hearts because I wanted to give Allen an opportunity to direct. Allen was so into all aspects of filming the shorts yesterday that he just seemed to glow. He was so focused and was so busy running around with all the technical things that go into filming when. I could tell he was in his glory and I know the finished product will be amazing.

Now I need to help more with obtaining funding, and finish painting the statue of Mary . This movie making stuff is not easy.  Tomorrow is the auditions!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Shooting the Trailers

First filming efforts for Resilient Hearts has begun. Hope to have trailers to post on Go-Fund-Me type sites in an effort to raise money. Timmy D and Jon are having way too much fun. I will try to post some videos of the controlled chaos. I appreciate all the hard work in this heat. Allen and Erik are focused on making this all happen. There is an amazing amount of equipment lining the halls, and I get the job of keeping an eye on everything! So far no problems.

The casting call is Sunday. I can't wait to see my characters come to life. I just hope we are as lucky as we were with Timmy and Jon.

 It all seems to be coming together. This will be amazing!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

lecture in Austin

Just wanted to provide a direct link to the lecture I gave to oncology nurse navigators last week in Austin, TX:

Seems they were very receptive to my encouragement to incorporate the protocols and philosophies adopted by palliative care providers into their newly (1996) established role. Oncology nurse navigators help patients and families get through all the appointments, tests and medications. They are there to answer questions and to act as their advocate. This role of a supportive resource mirrors closely what I do. I challenged them to stay involved when no further treatment is available. I tried to enforce how important their presence was especially to patients that continue to progress in their disease. They were very interested in the difference they could make during the final days of a patient's life. We discussed use of the CARES Tool, the need not to view death as a failure, and the importance of self-care. It would have been so helpful to have our movie Resilient Hearts to show. I look forward to the discussions it will generate and the examples of really celebrating life. The film will be a great resource.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sorry, Can't Do this Daily Thing

I cannot believe how difficult it is to blog every day. I was too exhausted from the heat and no air conditioning, so all I did yesterday once I got home is sleep. I don't think I will ever take air conditioning for granted again! Allen continued to work in the heat, and got more things organized. Our web site has more pictures and acknowledgements posted. Our crew has some great ideas for trailers to get some interest in our film project.

I spent some time reworking some dialogue, but it is reassuring to know that Allen is happy with the over-all script. Our goal is to complete this film and enter it in festivals and show it at large conferences. The marketing of the film will be addressed when we have more of it to show. Right now, I just want to focus on finishing the film. If we get offers to make a pilot we will address it then, and hopefully we will have some funding to work with. It is amazing to think how far this project could go.

Right now, I just want to give it our best effort and hope it gets people talking.
Take Care.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

No Air Conditioning

Sorry for missing a day. I spent the time trying to stay in air conditioning. The system in my home went out. Not sure what the problem is but we are on a waiting list to get it fixed. In the meantime I am pretending we are camping.

Met with some of the production crew yesterday, and are now planning to meet every Saturday until filming is complete. We have some wonderful people joining us with lots of experience. There is this amazing shared vision that seems to be guiding us, like we know we are involved with something very special. I love how the enthusiasm keeps us motivated and there is this desire to make an exceptionally crafted film to "blow everyone away", as we feel the expectation is that we will be making some basic home video.

So we are working hard to prove them wrong. Next week we plan to do a final review of the script. I am open to suggestions on how to add to the characters. There is some concern about the use of a clearly defined antagonist. I feel the loss of identity, dignity, and self-worth associated with dying; the nonacceptance of professional grieving, and the general lack of importance placed on the need for self-care provide enough antagonists for any story.

I am also wondering about the movie title. I was told resilient is to hard to spell, that it will be confused with a movie directed by Angelina Jolie called Resilience (I wish), and when you google Resilient Hearts you get links to another movie put on You Tube made about 10 years ago. I am considering Compassionate Journey, Its All About the Journey, Hearts Journey, and Making a Difference. Ultimately, we may just leave it alone and take our chances.

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Waiting in Austin

Finished my talk for the Oncology Nurse Navigator Conference. I had so much in common with these fabulous nurses. We really share a focus in Palliative Care. Our need to be a patient advocate and be sure the patient and family are educated so they can make informed decisions has drawn us even closer. I was able to emphasize the importance of good communication and continuing to advocate for the terminally ill and dying. They really understood my emphasis on "the final journey" and how as healthcare providers we must base our feelings about success of failure on how much we were able to support and comfort our patients and families, and not whether they live or die. I got to talk about Resilient Hearts and its emphasis on making what time a patient has special, and the importance of self-care and nurturing our own resiliency. Everyone was very kind, and I hope by next year to show our film, we shall see. I made a very special friend on this trip too. Hamid was my taxi driver. He shared about his family and wanted to know more about the role of a nurse practitioner. He was a lovely man, and we made a pact to get together with our spouses for dinner when ever I get back to Austin.

All and all a great adventure! Tomorrow the film production crew for Resilient Hearts will meet. I am looking forward to moving forward.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sitting at the Airport

Waiting for my flight to Austin Texas so I thought I would work on my blog. I want to thank everyone for following, I promise things will get more interesting as we get closer to actual filming.
I wanted to share an article posted by a CNN reporter, Michelle Moon on 6/14/17 at called Hospice at Age 4. Here is the direct link:

This story really emphasizes the message I hope this movie will provide such as:

  • The need to focus on the person and not their disease.
  • We must fight to make life beautiful for as long as we are allowed.
  • The terminally ill will reach a point when conquering their disease is no longer an option and their focus needs to shift to experiencing comfort and joy for the time they have left.
  • Life does not give us many do-overs. Quality end-of-life care can provide a chance to reset things in their proper order.
  • Love must be at the core of every patient care decision, and it will be love that will sustain the family's grief.
Resilient Hearts provides an insight into the importance of letting go of death as a failure and instead celebrating the person and focusing on making the time they have remaining as compassionate and as comforting as possible. when this opportunity is embraced, health care providers can better understand what a difference they can make in a patient and family's life and in the process recharge , resolve some of their own emotional baggage, and in general become a more understanding and compassionate care giver. Family members take away wonderful memories that will help sustain them through their grief and loss, and patients can experience a peaceful and loving death where they are respected, honored and truly cared about. 

I am so grateful to the cast and crew of this film for their dedication to getting the message out, and I cannot believe the actor playing Cooper (Jon) has already shaved his head!! 

You are all AMAZING!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Back for More

I am hoping to get the hang of this daily blogging, and thanks for sharing this film making journey. My husband Allen has really stepped up to get things organized. Check out his website: . I also meant to plug Erik Darling's work. He makes up the third person in our core founders making this movie happen. He does a pod cast to help patients and families learn more about medical practices. Check out
www.informedPT .com and on You Tube:  The Informed Patient Show. There is so much behind the scenes talent with this production! I will share more about some of the other key people in future blogs.

We are having our second production meeting this Saturday. Over ten people are expected to attend. I am humbled by their willingness to be involved in this project for only a listing of their name in the movie's credits and hopefully an occasional bottle of water and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! (Boy, I hope some of our potential sponsors/investors come through). Allen is organizing a teaser film clip to show on some of the funding sites to help people see the quality of work they will be providing and to promote the movie.

I wanted to share some thoughts about the characters. As a Palliative Care  nurse practitioner, I cannot say enough about how important the support of a social worker can be. We truly complement each other, and I have been lucky enough to work with some amazingly compassionate, knowledgeable, and motivated people. The character Valerie was developed to show how important the social worker's role is especially when caring for the terminally ill and dying. Valerie is a collection of the characteristics of many of the social workers I have dealt with. When casting for this role, I asked Rupinder Sidhu, an actual social worker, if she wanted to take on the role. I found as the role of Valerie evolved, I was reminded more and more of Rupinder. I love that a social worker will be playing herself, and Rupinder truly is Valerie! I told her she doesn't even need to act!

Again, I cannot believe my luck.
Well, more tomorrow.
Take care,


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Day 4

This writing every day is rough. Opted to come home after work and nap instead. The Hubby is staying busy with organizing the film production team. Everyone helping has been so amazing. I get text messages shown to me from people wanting to help out because they believe in what our movie is about. I am so hopeful viewers will get the positive message we are trying to provide.

There are so many who suffer in silence when they care for the dying, and so many of the dying feel they are asking too much of their families and friends. It's the little moments that keep us going and our ability to find humor and laughter in our lives fuels us.

I spent some time with a terminally ill patient a few days ago who shared how he hated being stared at by his family. He commented how nice it would be just to talk normally and for his family to treat him like a regular person and not a disease. It is sad he was so aware of this. He decided next time he caught someone staring he would just yell, "Boogie Boogie!!"

I am getting lots of emails letting me know about the crew that has signed up to help on the film. I want to thank all of them! Saturday the 25th we are going to audition for the remaining parts in the film. I am looking forward to seeing the characters I wrote about come to life.

That's all for now.
Thanks for following.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Day 2 of Continuous Blogging about our Movie

I am the worst at social media. I like staying in touch with friends and family, but never really got into it. This time I want to learn how to use the tools to get the word out because of this amazing project that looks like it is really going to happen.

I wrote the script for Resilient Hearts 2 years ago and was sure I could get someone interested in helping me make it into a film. The main character was patterned after a wonderful actor and singer I got to know, but I never heard back from him.(No surprise) Allen even drove to Oprah's studio in LA so I could drop off a copy of my script and a letter asking for help making the movie. I began to lose hope when we toured Universal Studios and saw a room with thousands of movie scripts stacked from the floor to the ceiling that never got looked at yet alone considered. I can't even keep track of the number of people associated in someway to the movie industry who acted interested, but never called back.

I think the "not calling back" is business practice for a polite "no thanks". The problem is the waiting, the wondering if you should try again just in case they got busy. I hate to be annoying, and I just relied on the belief that if it was meant to be it will be.

After months again of waiting for a response I finally decided to listen to Allen (the Hubby) and research what it would take to make an Indie film. By the way, I thought an Indie film was a film that was made in India! When Allen stopped laughing, he told me it  was short for an Independent Film. One where individual's get together with film making skills, no money, and agree to work their butts off.

Allen gained a lot of experience in film making over the past few years while I sat around waiting for the phone to ring. Now he has access to the needed equipment and resources to make this happen.

I met Erik Darling a LVN and Patient Care Coordinator through work. He introduced himself to me and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed about my work in Palliative Care on his pod cast. I mentioned my movie dream and he turned out have a background in film production and acting! He agreed to help and we had the beginning of our film production team.

One day, I decided I wanted to spend more time with Allen, and agreed to go with him to a fund raiser near San Diego. I am still not sure why I did it. Usually I use my time on weekends to get caught up on lecture organizing and writing projects for work, but this time I didn't.

We got to the event and Allen was off taking pictures like he was asked to do, and I just hung out at a table watching everyone in costume and starting to feel out of place. I have found I can get lots of alone time when asked what I do for a living. I tell people I work with the terminally ill and dying and they usually get pale and quiet and wander off. This time I thought I would share some of the creative things I was doing.

Two guys walked up to the table I was at and introduced themselves. One was Timmy D, and the other was Big Jon. Timmy's voice intrigued me. He shared he was a singer for the band Pullman Standard, but there was something familiar about his speaking voice that I couldn't place. All of a sudden I knew. It was Michael's voice, the main character of my screenplay. I imagined his voice and phrasing a million times in my head as I worked and re-worked the script, and now I was hearing it out loud.

Then I said something totally out of character to Timmy. "Please tell me you act." Timmy looked surprised and said acting was one of the reasons he cane to LA. I talked about the film project to him and Jon for quite awhile. They both agreed the movie needed to be made, and they were willing to help make it happen.

Since that time Timmy and Jon have been my major cheerleaders and have provided the much needed encouragement to go forward with our plans. Guess it was meant to be.

More about how we discovered that Jon was the perfect Cooper and that I actually work with the female lead Valerie and didn't realize it.

Take Care,

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Let's Get this Party Started

In 2015 I wrote a book called Resilient Hearts about a fictional Palliative Care Team.

For those of you who don't know what a Palliative Care team is, here is the short explanation: It is a healthcare team made up of individuals trained to help patients and families with any problems or issues that arise because of their hospitalization, treatment, disease, or anything that prevents them from from focusing on healing and/or overcoming their illness.

Pain management is a common focus, and so is helping patients and their families adjust to a terminal illness diagnosis and the associated necessary care they will need. All to often a Palliative Care team is called upon to comfort and support a patient who is dying and their family. Because of this a close association between Palliative Care and Hospice has occurred with other health care providers and society in general, often frightening patients and families away from the supportive services this team can  provide.

Sorry, I meant to make the defining of a Palliative Care team short, so let me continue about my book. In 2015, I wrote a reference book based on the work I did to develop a teaching tool that identified the 5 most common issues a nurse can plan to address when caring for the dying. The tool was given the acronym CARES (Comfort, Airway, Restlessness and delirium, Emotional and spiritual support, and Self-care). I confirmed content and face validity of the tool for my Translational project required to obtain a Doctorate in Nursing Practice. Basically, I was able to show the tool  was helpful and based in research.

I compiled all of my doctoral work and experience working with the dying, and wrote a reference book about the development and use of the CARES Tool that was published through Springer Publishers. The book was given the long title of: Compassionate Person -Centered Care of the Dying: An Evidence Based palliative Care Guide for Nurses. It won a Best of 2015 book award, and I actually got a residual check a few months ago!!! But, I digress....

I wanted to provide patient care examples throughout the book to emphasize the compassion and empathy provided by Palliative Care teams. I soon found there were too many stories I wanted to share, So, I started a second book called Resilient Hearts. I opted to combine several stories and tie them into a novel that followed a specific patient in detail throughout their disease course, and I interjected other cases and personal and professional issues the Palliative Care team members were dealing with. I wanted to show the compassion and playfulness common for the group and their patients, and provide realistic examples of team work and the importance of communicating.

I was proud of the end results and hoped to use the book as a teaching tool, but quickly found many people will not/could not find the time to read. I decided to write a screenplay based on the book and dreamed of having a film to use as a teaching tool that could both educate and entertain.

It is now 2017 and the script spent most of the past two years lying dormant on my hard drive. Getting the book printed was a disaster. I went with Tate Publishing. They made a lot of promises they didn't keep, and did a lousy editing job, and they closed their doors this year, before we could take any legal action. I tried to get things moving on the film, but couldn't get anyone interested, yet alone to call me back. A lot of time was wasted just waiting for responses. My husband kept bringing up the possibility of doing an independent film and plans really took off when I met the perfect actor to play Michael, the lead in the movie, and he was actually excited about the project.

You must check out Timmy D. He is the lead singer of Pullman Standard and a very funny, compassionate, articulate, self-confident, sweetheart of a guy. In other-words he is Michael. From that point forward everything seems to be falling into place.

Check out and

More later.