01x04 - Love Your Tumour

Now, stop whatever else you're doing and turn these changes around.

You quit your job?


What colour are Tom's eyes?


Did you two break up?


This extension for Tom Chisolm is no longer active.

I'm moving in with Ariel.

Are you in love with her?


I heard you went boxing?

Oh, you read my column.

What are you guys looking at?

Looks like we're not alone.

Okay, I'll go to the shrink, but only if you promise to come with me.

Of course.


Is that a boy or a girl?

Mom, he's just a friend from triathlon.

If that biopsy confirms the scan, I maybe have a year.

How am I supposed to use that time?

(Piano music)


One day earlier.

Found you!

You have 10 seconds to stop me from releasing the virus.


What kind of hide-and-seek is this?

Romy edition. More of a pandemic thing.

I don't like her playing violent games.

Not even imaginary ones.

I didn't.

I still wound up with a healthy contempt for authority.

I'd listen to that story.

So are your parents coming tonight?

I have a feeling they weren't invited.

Anyone for more wine?

I'll take some.

Yeah? Red or white?

Oliver. Hello.

Uh, relax. I'm just kidding.

(Small laugh)

So how's school?


Little tip.

Stay in the middle if you can. If you're too far behind or too far ahead, they're all over you.

Yeah, let's not tell your Mom about this?


Hey, do you know how I can get this to vibrate on silent?


It's been a week. Think they're going to call with your results tomorrow? (Vibrating)

I hope they do.

And I also hope they don't.

(Sigh) Thanks.

Talking to Matthew was like talking to Dad.

Hey, where's Maggie?

I should go.

♪ Wake up, look around ♪
♪ and feel the perfume of the world ♪
♪ Then walk and tell your friends ♪

(Cell ding)

♪ Hey, hey, whoa, whoa ♪
♪ tomorrow's shiny, happy dreamers ♪



♪ Hey, hey, whoa, whoa ♪
♪ tomorrow's shiny, happy dreamers ♪
♪ I'll stay for today You're supposed to be making salad.

Let's do it here.

On the floor?


After dinner. I don't want the fish to burn.

(Music plays)

♪ Hey, hey, whoa, whoa ♪

(dog barking)

Well, the advice I give my pre-op patients coping with uncertainty is always the same...

Yeah, but I'm not waiting for a bypass.


Your patients have hope that you'll be able to fix them.

Natalie, you're allowed to hope.

I was looking into...

Stem cell transplants?

No, that's still too experimental and there's a risk of major side-effects, and you're not there yet.

(Knocking) Come in.

Dishes are done, Abby's down for the count and Oliver took the girls to that movie.

Thank you.

We just need one more minute.

Yeah, okay.

So can you sleep?

I can take something.




What are you doing?


Offering Jim's fancy stereo to the raccoons.

Why now?

Because he loves it and since he's gone, I don't have to listen to the stupid Eagles on it anymore.

Isn't this stuff worth a lot of money?

You should see the money the lawyers are finding.

Although Jim won't have it for very long, because I plan on fighting him for every penny.

Are you sure that's the best use of your energy, D?

Yes. (Laughing)

What are you doing up?

(Sighing): I took a pill and it didn't work.

No, I can't mix it with that.

Oh, believe me. A little cut of bourbon will do wonders.


Fine. Wait here, I bought you something.

Hmm... (High-pitched): Presents.

I know you're going nuts waiting for your results, so why not start taking action?

(Short laugh)

"Love Your Tumour."

It's a more holistic approach to your illness.

Yoga, diet, colonics, acupuncture...

Yeah, thanks.

I'd rather have the bourbon.

(Theme music)

(Throat clearing)

Did you fall asleep in Abby's bed?

I lie with her for even a second...

I'm out like a light.

Go back to sleep.


Last time your sister was sick, remember we discussed being there for her kids?

You mean having them live with us, if...

Yeah, yeah. If it came to that.

What, are you saying you don't want to offer that anymore?

Of course I do. I, I wondered if we should remind her we will.

Oh, no, no. It's too soon.

I want to make sure she knows we're there...

She knows, believe me.

Honey, as a mother I can tell you, it would give her peace of mind.

Nic. Leave it, for now.


'K. Fine.

It's a little early for that, no?

I'm having breakfast with Mom.


Want me to see if I can scrounge up some heroin?

(Sighing): What?

When we lived in New York, before Tom dragged me to LA, one year the Guggenheim brought in a bunch of Kandinskys.

He paints these circles. Circles and circles and circles.

You remind me of one of his circles.

Why, because I have the mysterious allure of abstract art?

He called them "stable but unstable."

Weightless. Drifting away.

Yeah, I think you need to ease up on the hallucinogens.

(Heavy breathing)


(Indistinct conversation)


Romy: It's an $88 billion industry about labeling people defective, which is probably creating the zombie apocalypse by pumping us full of drugs.

Romy I'm trusting you not to let the shrink lobotomize me.

The man you're seeing is a psychologist and that means he can't prescribe drugs.

It wasn't that long ago that psychology was based on measuring skulls.

That was around 200 years ago.

Yeah, but in the grand scheme of the universe that's like yesterday.

Be ready at 1:45, OK?

Bye, Mom.

See ya.

(Phone ringing)

Got a sec?

Yeah, sure.

What's up?

Uh, listen. People read you, which is good for the section, which is good for me.


Lately, uh, you've been...

All over the place?

Renouncing everything one week...

I know, I'm sorry... and then the next week, recycling a column from last year...

It's fine. Writers get restless.

But if you want to find, uh, a more permanent way to change things up, we can always talk about it.

Wow. Um, can I think about that?

Yeah, absolutely.


(Office chatter) (Sigh)

I know you're really busy, so I just wrote it myself.

"Maggie is bright and hardworking."

As in, wears bright clothes and works hard to do as little as possible?

I realize that I quit suddenly, but...

I was in the middle of a trial when you walked out the door without notice.

I got someone from the pool to cover for me.

Aren't you being a little bit vindictive here?

I mean, I worked for you for almost a year.

If I did write a letter, here's what I would want it to say: "Margaret Lawson worked for me for a total of eight months.

"Merely adequate, she was more interested in her dinner plans "than in the well being of the client.

It was clear that this was just a job for her."

Any time I offered you anything beyond dictation, you shot me down.

You make an effort two, maybe three times and because I don't do cartwheels of gratitude, you quit? Where do you get your sense of entitlement?

What are you even about, except yourself?

So I won't be recommending you to anyone else.

(Indistinct instructions)


(Phone ringing)


Andrew Wallace.


[Hey. Let's have lunch.]

Oh, I... I have to get Romy to the therapist by 2.

Okay. Well, then, brunch.

Aren't you supposed to be managing the education of my children?

No, I don't care about your children.

I'm at a conference.

I can't stop thinking about you.

(Gunshots and radio chatter)

You're not going to class?

This prof puts his lectures up online.

(Buzzing and ringing)



Soroya said that you were looking for me?

[Uh, yeah.]

Where are you calling me from?

My desk.

I'm sneaking some down time between patients.

But you're on your cell?

Yeah, why? Is the sound choppy?

No, no. I, I...

I just wondered if you felt like grilling that tenderloin for supper tonight.

Yeah, sure, if you make the potatoes I love.

Yeah, I don't think I have the right ingredients.

Well, then, we will improvise. I will pick up a nice red on my way home, okay?

Okay, bye.

Yeah, bye. Love you.

Well, it sounds like a good problem to have.

When I started the column, I was immersed in my kids.

So it just kind of made sense, writing about parenting.

Do you want to branch out?

I know I should want to.

You should? Why should you?

I don't know.

Do something... important.

More productive.

Well, you're talking to a guy who has his masters in poetry.

Oh, yeah?

Yeah, and who was stupid enough to try to foist that. on his high school students.

The romantics, of all things.

Hmm... didn't take?


I went into administration.

And gave up something you loved.


There's always new things to love.


(Laughing): What?

Was it that bad?

For a poet, yes.

Think I can walk it back?


Do you remember any poems?

Oh, um...

"The question, o me!

"So sad, recurring...

"what good amid these, o me, o life?

"The answer.

"That you are here... That life exists.

"The powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse."

It's Whitman.

It's only part of it and I probably messed it up, but...

No, you didn't.

(Knocking) Yep?

They said I could just come in.

Hey. Shouldn't you be in school?

I'm only skipping ethics. And actually, this is an ethical matter.

Or moral. I don't really remember the difference.

I need a favour.

Okay, what's going on?

I want to go on the pill and I don't want Mom to know, so I thought you could help me out.

Just last year, this girl I know went to her doctor and he gave her a hard time... So I...

So you thought that I would just hand them over.

I thought... You might be cool.


Or maybe even impressed I was asking.


Just help me understand, here...


Have you already been sexually active? This is a question I would ask any patient your age who wanted the pill, Emma.


Is this about that... the boy, the one who didn't like you before?

There is no way that's a question you would ask any patient.

I just... has he been with other girls?

Because you do know the pill doesn't protect against STIs, right?

Look, it probably won't ever happen, Okay?


But just in case, I want to be prepared.

Well, if you think you like him, and if you're feeling insecure...

Are you going to help me or not?

No. I'm sorry.

It wouldn't be right of me to prescribe anything to you, because you're my niece.

Then why didn't you just say that in the beginning and spare me the humiliation?



How long are you staying?

Haven't decided.

Tom's going to miss you.

These chairs have been on their last leg for, like, 20 years.

Oh, take me shopping for some new ones, then.

Dad would lose his mind, wasting money on furniture.

(Laughing) Actually, he never liked these chairs.

My mother bought them and they hated each other.

They did?

Mm-hmm. Because he wouldn't go to confession.

She thought we couldn't trust him. She begged me not to marry him.

Why are you telling me this?

(Phone ringing)


[Is this Mrs. Janine Lawson?]

Yes, it is.

[I'm calling from the office Of Cutler/Evans in Los Angeles. You left a message for Tom Chisolm in our general mailbox.]

Uh, yes, over a week ago.

[I'm sorry it took so long to return your call.]

Did I have the wrong number?

[No, Mr. Chisolm passed away.]


[Two months ago. If you're in the market for real estate in the area, I can pass your information to another agent in our office.]

No, no, that's fine.

Thank you. Thanks for the call.



(Vibrating) You want that?

Oh, yeah. Thanks.

Hi, this is Natalie Lawson.

[Natalie. It's Sophia, from Dr. Basra's office.]

Hi, Sophia.

Dr. Basra would like you to come in, to discuss the results of your biopsy.

Yeah, Okay. When?

How's this afternoon? She's had a cancellation at 2:30.

Of course, I'll make that work. Thanks!

See you then.

Back to reality?

(Whispering): Yeah.

(Phone ringing)

What already?!

Matthew: [So you have been screening my calls.]

[Is everything OK?]

Yeah, peachy. You?

Hey your sister's been calling you too. I have patients waiting for me right now.

Are you just calling to berate me, or is there something actually going on?

[Look. Natalie needs]

Your help, right now.

Can you manage that?

[That depends.]

Can you manage to stop patronizing me for, like, five seconds?

Are you going to be there, or not?


Where is she?

Where's Mom?

She, uh, got tied up with something important.

Huh. Is that a direct quote?

Romy! Romy. Wait.

She didn't say that, I did. She sent me a text full of typos.

"Emergency appointment. Plz tell r so soppy."

See? Obviously she meant "sorry."

Well, whatever. She said she'd be here today and if she can't be bothered to drive me, I can't be bothered to go.

You're right. She shouldn't have stood you up.

That was wrong of her.

But your Mom doesn't take this stuff lightly, you know that.

She'd be here if she could. And me, I'd just be at Maggie's apartment staring at the wall.

Who does that? Someone who could use his own shrink?

As it happens, I've had several and it's really not so bad.

Not as bad as the trouble I'll be in if I don't get you to this appointment.

Come on.

Tom died?

Two months ago.

How did he die?

The woman from the office didn't say.

What were you calling him up for, anyway?

I just, I just called to invite him up here.

Well, Oliver wouldn't have liked that.

You shouldn't just wade in.

But I did!

So now we know.

It's completely ridiculous.

He talks about him like he's still alive.

He was sitting right next to me when I found out.

You didn't say anything?

How could I?



You're relieved. No!

Not that he died.

Tom's too old for Oliver, OK? Is it wrong for me to say that now?

Yes. It is.

And if that's how you feel, no wonder he doesn't want us to know.

I don't have great news for you.

The biopsy was positive.

It was. Yes.

OK. What now?

What we're typically looking for when treating stage 4 renal cell carcinoma is a drug that contains the least amount of toxicity, which also offers us the most to gain.

And when you say gain, do...

I'm prescribing a targeted inhibitor called Sunitinib.

We can expect it to contain progression, to slow the cancer, but not to reverse it.

So this drug will...

Not fix me, but it might buy me time.

(Exhale) That's the idea.

(Sob) (Whispering): Maggie!


I... would this...

Make me feel sick, or...

No. The side effects are relatively mild.

Fatigue, some nausea, you may get rashes.

I'm recommending four weeks on, then two weeks off.

Then you'll come back for more bloodwork and imaging.

And your initial time frame, that still holds?

Maybe a year, maybe a little more?

Start the meds. (Sniffle)

We'll take things six weeks at a time.

You can put your bag down.

We're only talking today, Romy. Just meet-and-greet kind of thing.

Oh, yeah. I have a doctorate in adolescent psychology.

Like my own teen years weren't hard enough, now I get to stay that age for a living.

I know you've been kidnapped. Dragged here against your will by your mother and your principal and all these concerned, well-meaning adults, just huddling and scheming and wondering what to do with you.

Know this.

I'm not here to report back to those people.

I'm here for you. And everything you say, or don't say, stays in this room.

Alright, I get it. Now, listen.

Simply being here today means your first session's been wildly successful.

No matter what else happens in the next...

37 minutes.

You mean, even if we sit here in silence?

It's your dime.


Come on, we have to go.

I know I was completely useless in there.

Yeah, what was that?

Brought you here to help me.

I'm just having a...

Bad day.

And yes, I appreciate the irony of that statement.

I'll try to do better.

I promise.

Thank you.

Well, I gotta say, I'm impressed with your resolve.

That's our time.

But I have to come back, right?

Well, your principal and your mother are going to want to know how many sessions I recommend.

Until I've been normalized.

All we're doing here is just offering you a chance to talk.

Since I'm your prisoner, would you like to check my work?


I am rotten at math, so I'll have to assume you're not intentionally flunking this time.

I skipped a grade, you know.

I'm almost two years younger than some of those kids.

And is bringing your marks down supposed to solve that problem?

Because there are more functional ways to fit in, you know.

Oh, hello.

Was that...?

Jim's baseball?

Signed by the 1994 expos? Yes, it was.



I had to buy some new shears and some leaf bags.

On the corkboard. I'll get you some cash.

How much did you sell the ball for?

$5. Plus all the pain it will cost Jim.

Fantastic deal, when you think about it.

Who's "N"?

What's that? N who?

The N who had the biopsy.

Nobody you know.

N is Natalie.

It's my mother, isn't it?

Is her cancer back?

Sit down.

Danielle, don't even think of lying to me.

Just sit down, Okay?

Good news: I'm not insane.

Luke, this is my uncle, Oliver.

My mom's too busy and important to be here today.

It's a little more complicated than that.

Can we go now?


Romy, it's been my pleasure.

Oliver, nice to meet you.

Yeah, you too.

Is she going to die?

I told you, she's...

She's waiting for her biopsy results.

Danielle. Is she going to die?


What should I do?

Oh, nothing yet.

Nothing, and you can't say anything to her.

She made me promise. You understand?

You've been estranged from Oliver these last few years?

Well, we speak once a month.

You know... birthdays, Christmas Eve...

But it never gets much past the weather.

Some children prefer their independence.

We just found out his boyfriend died.

The man he's lived with for years.

He kept it from us.

Do you think that's normal?

It's surprising, but it may be the way Oliver needs to grieve.

You knew my son was gay even though we never discussed it.

What would you have said to me if I came to you 15 years ago, after I learned about his homosexuality?

I'd have told you to love him, and that God is good for everyone.

And I'd have reminded you that while his choices don't correspond to some interpretations of scripture, they're his choices.

Do you know what we said to him?

After he came out?

That we needed time to accept it, but that we'd love him anyway.

That was fair.

No. No child needs to hear from his parents that they are doing him the favour of loving him.

You're taking too much on yourself.

Oliver was always a challenge.

Remember when he broke into his school and the police brought him home in the middle of the night?

My son, so brilliant and proud, wanted no part of our tolerance.

So he rebelled and he removed us from his life.

And I'm angry at myself for letting him.

And I'm angry at you for letting me.

You want to do something?

Go bowling? Mini-golf?

Don't you have anywhere else to be?

Not really.

Emma says I have no social skills.

Well, good thing you're in therapy, then.

How'd it go in there, anyway?

I told him what he wanted to hear.

Which was?

I don't know, that I needed help fitting in.

Is that the truth?

Does it matter?

He could think he fixed me and then I could stop going.

Or you could try being completely honest with him.

Is that a strategy that's ever worked for you?

Shut up. Go easy on her.

Well, the therapist says I'm cured and we should all move on with our lives.

Honey, I am so sorry.

I'm going to take you to every other session.

(Voice breaking): I promise, OK?

Thank you for taking her.

Do you think they connected?

Give it time.

How was... your afternoon?

No surprises.



Hey! Does Danielle have you doing yard work still?

Yeah. But I thought I'd have dinner at home tonight.

Ah! That's great.

I've missed you.

Remember, it takes, like, seven days to kick in.

And you're sure it'll work?

Yeah, yeah, it's the lowest amount of hormones, but it should do the trick. And read all of the side effects, so nothing surprises you.

Before you run out, give me a call and we'll go to the clinic.

Thanks for this. And, obviously, please don't tell Mom.

No, totally. No, it's better if she doesn't know. But you will be careful and use a condom anyway and...

Only do this if you really want to, OK?

If you have any questions...

(Phone beep) Anything at all, you know where I am.

You gotta go now.

Hey, texty. Not at the table.

Don't you not live here anymore?



Cause any problems and Mom will have you committed.

You're only being committed because you worry everyone.

Oh, stop it. Nobody is being committed.

(Phone ding)

So, em. This Jayden, is he your boyfriend?

I don't know.



(Phone ding)

What is her problem?

(Doorbell ringing)

I will love every one of my stupid tumours, if you think it'll help.

I'll run a triathlon with my daughter, if it'll do any good. And I will read any book you want me to.

Because I'm ready to face this, D.

Okay. Later.


Simon asked me to marry him tonight.

Wow, um... he gave you a ring?

Yeah, he just said it when I came home.

Not right now, but he wants us to think about it seriously.


I think it was because of you.

After the other night, I think he might have felt a bit threatened.

Do you want to marry him?

I know I should.

Well, then, you probably shouldn't be here.

I know, but I like it.

Being with you. More than I thought I would.

You mind if I ask why?

Because you don't care about all the trivial sh1t that seems to worry everybody else.

It's liberating.

Come on.

I'm really sorry about this.

She doesn't know you know?

Look, I realize this isn't what you want, but I need to be there for her.

You're doing the right thing.

Hey, have you seen the phone bill? It was here this morning.

Actually, I opened it.


But there's only our phones on that bill, so I'm wondering who this belongs to.

So what is that?

You tell me.

Oh, was that, um...


In the sofa.


And locked.

Yeah. I bought this for Emma.

Her birthday's coming up and I was programming it last night. After you went up, I fell asleep watching TV. I guess I must have dropped it.

Except it rang this morning from a blocked number.


I don't know why I locked it. Force of habit, I guess.

But, see? Look.

No other calls on the log.

Nicole, Natalie knows about this.

Oh, you told her.

Hey, come on. What did you think it was?

I didn't know.

But it's demeaning being kept in the dark. Why can't you see that?

I do, I do. Look, I should have told you.

And you're right, we should talk to my sister, because...

Those kids are coming to us.

Our lives are going to change.

And I'll be the one driving carpools and making dinner while you're out working...

No, no, no, come on.

I promise you, we're going to do this together, Okay?

(Doorbell rings)


Two years ago, I had cancer.

And now it's back. And...

I maybe have a year to live.

It was horrible and unfair of me not to tell you this until now.

And I honestly don't know what I was thinking, letting things go as far as I did.

But what happened between us... it was clearly a mistake.

And I wanted you to know.

I'm really sorry.

♪ We're getting older ♪
♪ Our hearts heavier ♪