Southfield resident shares journey with brain tumor in one-man show

By: Mike Koury | Southfield Sun | Published September 22, 2021

 Eric Goldstein

Eric Goldstein

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SOUTHFIELD — A Southfield resident diagnosed with a brain tumor last year has created a one-man show revolving around his journey with cancer.

More than a year after a cancer diagnosis, Eric Goldstein made a one-man show titled “Here We Go,” which will premiere on YouTube on Saturday, Oct. 2.

In April 2020, Goldstein was having trouble reading a script while working on a play for the Rosedale Community Players. He sought treatment for his vision, but what he learned was that he had glioblastoma, an aggressive brain tumor.

Goldstein’s life transformed overnight. The assistant city attorney for Livonia and an avid worker in the realm of community theater, he suddenly had to confront his mortality.

“I’m living with the awareness that my life is profoundly shortened, and I don’t get to know how much,” he said. “Maybe just under half the people who get this tumor, they die within the year. I’m 15 months in now. … If I’m interpreting everything right, if I can get to three years, the chances of my living longer improve, and I have anecdotal information of people making it for years.

“The particular brain tumor that I have is very significantly life-shortening,” he added. “It’s insidious. … It’s the Tasmanian Devil of brain tumors.”

Goldstein underwent surgery to remove the tumor. It took several weeks before he would recover, but one thing that did not get better was his vision, as the surgeon had to do more damage to the ​​occipital lobe of the brain to remove the tumor. It was a move Goldstein, of course, supported.

“It doesn’t leave me blind,” he said. “It takes me a lot longer to read and write, and it wears me out. Full vision, you don’t realize how much your peripheral vision is helping you read.”

In the months following his surgery, Goldstein spoke to a friend and co-worker in the theater, Sean Paraventi. During the thick of the COVID-19 lockdown, Paraventi heard his friend discuss his cancer, his time in treatment and how he was feeling about everything.

Paraventi was the one who suggested that Goldstein should write his thoughts down and make a show.

“Eric is a storyteller and an educator,” he said. “Those two things were kind of coming together in our phone conversations, because he was telling me a lot of what he was going through from the heart, but he was also teaching me a lot. He’s a heck of a storyteller, and he has a heck of a story to tell, and I think it would be beneficial to him and others.”

Goldstein would spend the next year working on the show, which he said covers a lot of different territory through guideposts provided by the discovery of his brain tumor, his response to it and how he lives with it now.

Goldstein’s goal with “Here We Go” was to confront the reality of morality, but he didn’t want to beat the audience over the head with blatant statements and become too preachy. More than anything, he wants the audience to hear what he has to say and come to their own conclusions.

“It’s about me, but it’s about all of us,” he said of the show. “Not just those of us who are watching the show and are present, but all of us who came before and all of us who are coming after. These are things I’m trying to project with to show these universal things, but through the vehicle of talking about the perspectives I’ve gained about living on the precipice of death.”

Paraventi was able to help give suggestions to Goldstein throughout the writing process. While he’s seen a rehearsal of the show and taken part in Zoom readings, Paraventi has yet to see the final recorded product. From what he has read and seen, Goldstein’s show was inspiring, and Paraventi is excited to see him release it.

“It’s educational, it’s inspiring and it’s heartfelt,” said Paraventi. “A lot of times I feel like when someone is going through illness, disease, people don’t want to talk about it. They’re uncomfortable to talk about it. Eric has kind of let those guards down and put it all out there.”

Goldstein called the creation of the show a therapeutic process for him.

“I think it’s gonna be a potential benefit to people of good health with expectations of long lives. A piano could fall on your head the next day, so who knows how long their lives are gonna be, but I think it’s a benefit to them as it could be a benefit to other people with serious terminal or serious cancers or illnesses like mine,” he said. “There’s reasons for writing it that are personal; there’s reasons for wanting to share it that … this is a good thing to do.”

“Here We Go” will air online on the show’s YouTube page at 7 p.m. Oct. 2. It can be found at www.youtube.com, search “Eric Goldstein Here We Go.”

As the show will premiere for free online, Goldstein is asking people to donate to the Henry Ford Hermelin Brain Tumor Center and its organization, Game On Cancer, where he spent time as a patient.

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