“Chasing Life” recap (1.18): A is for Anxiety

Previously on Chasing Life, April and Leo decided to go on a break because they might not have anything besides the cancer in common, Sara kissed her office neighbor, Brenna and Greer started to rekindle their friendship, and April got a nosebleed and freaked out that her cancer was back.

April is pacing around the hospital waiting room, wondering if it’s possible for things to change so quickly, but she supposes that’s how cancer happens, not at all and then all of a sudden. Dr. Hamburg comes out and says that her blood test came back relatively normal, that the nosebleed was probably just dry air and stress, and that she’s 99% sure that April is just fine. Everyone takes this as good news, except April, who only heard that there is a 1% chance everything is not fine at all.

CHASING LIFE 118-1“I’m a journalist, bad news is kinda my thing.”

In her cancer support group, April says that she hates not being able to trust her body anymore, but that she’s grateful she’s still able to trust in somebodies instead, giving a pointed glare at the late-coming Leo who had decidedly NOT been someone she can trust lately.

Brenna comes home from school to find her newest sister doing laundry, all happy to see her.

CHASING LIFE 118-2 I’m really starting to love this crazy bitch.

Natalie tries the big sister role on for size and asks Brenna how her day at school went and Brenna tells her school is school and her torture isn’t over because Sara is hosting a college prep info sesh at her house later that night. Natalie suggests going out in JP (that’s Boston talk for Jamaica Plain…a place that was not cool to hang out in when I was growing up, but is apparently the place to be now) but Brenna says her mom would freak. Though she’s grateful her mom isn’t anywhere near as intense as Greer’s parents. At the mention of the blonde beauty, Natalie perks up, hoping that the Grenna ship is sailing once more, but Brenna says they’re just friends. No matter, Natalie had a plan for that scenario too and shows Brenna a top she thinks will be perfect for a night out on the town for a couple of single sisters.

Unfortunately, Sara is not a big fan of aforementioned top.

CHASING LIFE 118-3Crop tops, the parents’ nightmare.

Brenna is embarrassed to be caught by her mother and goes to change and Sara says she thinks that’s best since the college prep class will start soon. Natalie jokes that if she wore that top, she’d get into any college she wanted, but Sara is far from amused. And probably wishing she just let Brenna hang out with Greer instead of leaving her free to be influenced by Natalie.

At the college prep info sesh, the life coach asks them about having a GPA over 3.8, at least 4 AP classes, and some volunteering experience, and Ford surprisingly raises her hand for all three things.

CHASING LIFE 118-4Can you picture her teaching inner city kids to knit?!

When Sara sees that Brenna didn’t raise her hand for a single one, she starts to panic. When the instructor says that the parents should know what their kids are doing at all times, since one mistake in their junior year could ruin their entire lives, Sara panics even more. And as someone who went to a private college preparatory high school, I can tell you that this is not too far off from real life. The pressure is legit.

Across town, April is trying to vent to Beth, but her boss keeps her too busy to fully disengage from her phone. Speaking of which, she also invited Graham to hang out because she no longer has time to see both her boyfriend and her best friend at the same time. Graham comes with flowers that used to be Dom’s and, as though that wasn’t enough to shake April up a little bit, confirms her fears that the 99% chance of being okay wasn’t a sure enough statistic to hang her hat on.

This sets off April’s anxiety. The potential for her cancer to come back haunts her every thought, and she can’t sleep all night. As soon as the clock strikes eight (OK, digitally changes to eight), she calls Dr. Hamburg and asks about a bruise she found on her arm, asking her if it’s a cancer bruise. Dr. Hamburg isn’t worried about her bruise being a cancer bruise, but she IS worried about her stress levels giving her a heart attack, so she tells April to focus on controlling her anxiety, starting with exercise.

CHASING LIFE 118-5And maybe a quick hair-brushing session.

I’m not sure that was the best idea, though, because it results in April talking about her mother’s sex life. It toes the line between a sweet bonding moment and an uncomfortable conversation.  

At work, Raquel tells April that she owes her for saving her life and gives her a stack of articles to edit, including one about the dangers of microwaves, which does literally nothing for April’s anxiety. Which is why I don’t watch the evening news, because that’s exactly the kind of news it reports. “How what you’re holding in your hand right now could kill you! Tonight at 11.”

Back at Casa Carver, Sara confesses to Emma that she’s worried about Brenna, but Emma says that Sara should let her make her own mistakes; Sara wasn’t exactly the model teenager either but she managed to survive to adulthood. And raise two humans at that. Sara wants to be comforted by this, but isn’t, especially when Brenna comes downstairs with Natalie, both of them dressed to the nines.

CHASING LIFE 118-6Nothing suspicious here.

When Sara asks where they’re headed, Brenna lies (poorly) and says they’re going to The Charles for dinner, and Sara grabs Grandma and says they were going to, despite the fact that Emma had just been chopping vegetables for dinner.

When they get to The Charles, Natalie is bummed they have to bail on their friends, but Brenna asks her to just go along with it. It’s trivia night, so the girls giggle over silly things like Uranus, and instead of seeing it as sisters learning how to be sisters—one who’s never had a sister before, and the other who’s never had a sister this close in age—Sara sees it as Natalie dumbing her daughter down. Sara scoffs about girls who pretend to be dumb to look cool and Natalie feels the sting of that burn.

CHASING LIFE 118-7Way harsh, Sara.

April goes to her friend’s bat mitzvah and when she hears that her friend used to be super anxious before she found God and religion, she asks the rabbi for guidance. She explains that she looked for God when she was in the hospital, and even went to the chapel for help, but He was nowhere to be found. The rabbi asks her if she found any help when she went to the chapel, any comfort, and when April says she did, the rabbi suggests maybe that was God being there for her after all. He also tells her that what she’s looking for is a way to connect to God, and that she should figure out if that’s what she really wants before leaping into religion. Religion and spirituality are two very separate things, and converting to Judaism or Catholicism on a whim isn’t going to solve her problems.

The bat mitzvah girl finds April in her tailspin and gives her a pot cookie to take the edge off – medical marijuana of course. April is confused, because she just heard her friend say God calmed her anxiety, and her friend says that God and weed are not mutually exclusive.