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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

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In Movies & TV

The lovely and talented Nikol Hasler.

Former "Midwest Teen Sex Show" host rises to life's challenges


(page 2)


OMC: When did you move to Los Angeles? Why?

NH: I moved to LA two-and-a-half years ago because Comedy Central hired us to turn MTSS into a pilot. It was amazing! I got to produce a television pilot from the ground up. We got to cast it, write it, work with a few of my comedy heros, go on tech scouts, go scout locations, meet with wardrobe and create a show. It was a really special time. And once I was in LA, I began to feel at ease with who I have always been. However good or bad it may be, this city embraces me.

People have this vision of LA, and what's funny about that vision is that it was manufactured in LA. This is where movies and TV shows are made, after all. But, what's missing about LA in all of that is how beautiful it really is. The hiking is incredible, the ocean is beautiful and the people are pretty damn kind. I get accused, from time to time, of having adapted too much to the LA way of thinking. Usually it's when I say something online that comes off as scandalous, like making a joke about a party I was at. Then people back home get out of sorts and worry about the kind of life I'm living, and I ask what the hell the big deal is. I suppose, I have always been the person I am now, and back in Wisconsin, I was always worried about people thinking I was a bad person or a bad mother. Out here, I've relaxed so much.

OMC: When did you find out you had cancer? What made you think something was "wrong"?

NH: A year and a half ago, the initial thought was that the cancer was in my spleen. It seemed like all I had to do was have that removed and, no big deal. Good as new. I think, at the time I was drenched in cold sweat at night, extremely tired and couldn't shake a cold. Back in the end of November, at a check up, the blood work came back and showed the elevated markers I was hoping to avoid. I have Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

OMC: How are you treating it? How do you feel?

NH: I'm over half way through the chemo and radiation for it, and it's kind of starting to kick my ass a bit. The hardest part is not having a car, and not just because of the treatments. On my "energetic" days I need to get groceries, do laundry, catch up on errands and chores. Not having a car makes it – obviously – more difficult. I feel pretty terrible most of the time. I'm tired, but I can't sleep because of the prednisone. Most nights I lay awake, freezing cold, with a lot of joint pain. Also, I'm pukey, but gaining weight and not able to get to the gym. It's pretty lame.

OMC: Does cancer bring life clarity? Does it bring out the best in people? Is this a load of crap?

NH: There's no magic thing that happens when your cells start mutating and you're sitting in a chair with chemicals coursing through your body, feeling like a blanket from the blanket warmer is the best thing you've got going right that second. People have all been really great to me about it, and they've been understanding. In fact, I'm really grateful at how many of my friends have been cool about this. I was really afraid they were going to look at me the way you look at people when they're sick. I really am staying positive most of the time. But sometimes, I'm a total whiny baby about this.

OMC: What is your prognosis? You gonna beat this? What is the worst part of cancer?

NH: I'm going to beat this, of course. Even if they'd told me I had a year to live, I think I would beat this. I'm pretty damn tough. The worst part has been realizing how many other people are also going through this or have. You don't know, really, until you're there, how all consuming this is. And it really bugs me to consider how very many people get cancer every year.

OMC: What are you working on now? What do you still want to accomplish in the near future and the long term future?

NH: Right now I am trying to focus on my documentary about kids aging out of the foster care system. It's difficult, because what we really need is funding. So, we're trying to get a preview shot and spending a lot of time applying for grants and looking for investors. In the future, I'd love to secure myself as a documentary film maker. I think I have a lot to share, and so many things that I want to show people.

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