Author Archives: Aliza's Brain Trust

Here's what's up with me: somewhat… It's a Dr. Sketchy's Boston session featur…

Here’s what’s up with me: somewhat…
It’s a Dr. Sketchy’s Boston session featuring… YOU!

July 13th, 2:30-5:30pm Great Scott

What does that mean? It means our artists get to be the models!

This special session functions as a fundraiser for Aliza’s Brain Trust – drawing starts, per usual at 2:30 and runs to 5:30. If you’ve never modeled before but would like to hop in for a pose or two, show up at 2pm and sign up with Allix & Chelsea.

We’ll have props and some fun costume pieces on hand for you to play with plus some familiar friends of Dr. Sketchy’s on hand to give you some pointers.

We’ll let friends of Sketchy’s and community members take the short poses and have the pros hop in for the longer sets.

All of the money raised from doors and the tip bucket will go directly to Aliza Shapiro’s recovery fund!

So spread the word, bring some friends, and get ready to have some fun! Continue reading

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Here's what's up with me: March 25: The surgeons realized that one of the scalp…

Here’s what’s up with me:

March 25: The surgeons realized that one of the scalp stretching devices was not in a great place. Scheduled surgery for three days later. A bit of a surprise.

March 28: Had surgery to move one of the scalp stretching devices and put a smaller one in a better place. The surgery was pretty quick, and I had a very light kind of anesthesia which I was able to wake up from almost immediately. I liked that anesthesia a lot and hope they can use it in the future.

I went home the same day. Things were a little confusing with my release and medication and the pharmacy, but thanks to my great friends everything got worked out. Luckily, I only needed the pain medication for a couple of days and then I felt a lot better.

April 16: I went to the surgeon to have the stitches removed, but there’s one little spot that wasn’t quite healed, so they left the stitches in there. I’m having them out next week.

Next week, they’re planning to inflate both of the expanders. Then they’ll keep inflating them weekly or every other week for a while.

I’m getting back to doing my physical therapy with two people who come to my house. My right arm is almost useless, and my right leg is very weak. Let’s hope that once my head is put back together things will start to get better.

I’m also back to my speech therapy. My speech therapist is very good. Since the two strokes and the infection, my aphasia has gotten much worse, but I’m still working hard and hopeful that things will get better.

Don’t forget about Dr. Sketchy’s every second Sunday at Great Scott in Allston. Here’s the Truth Serum group: and the Dr. Sketchy’s Boston new Facebook page:

It’s been great to see friends and I’ve been able to get out a bit. If you want to hang out, please call me!

(ghostwritten by Andrea)
2014.04.27 Continue reading

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Aliza’s Brain Trust’s Facebook Wall 2014-04-28 21:20:22

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Hi Everyone, Recap/ Update: February 20: surgery to insert scalp stretching dev…

Hi Everyone,
Recap/ Update:

February 20: surgery to insert scalp stretching devices.

February 22: home from hospital with brain drains and pee purse in tow.

March 14: moved into new apartment on Wyman Street in Jamaica Plain and put a lot of my stuff in storage.

March 19: turned in the keys to my Dorchester place. Best wishes to my landlords after 14/15 excellent years.

I’ve been slacking off on my PT/ OT/ speech therapy exercises as I set up my new place.

March 25: surgeon removed my scalp stitches but said additional surgery is needed to adjust scalp stretching devices. Argh.

March 28: surgery to remove top scalp stretching device and replace it with a smaller one more appropriately placed. Take 2!?

Stay tuned!

(ghostwriting by Emily)
2014.03.27 Continue reading

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Hey Everybody! I'm going in for scalp surgery in the morning. Two days in the h…

Hey Everybody!

I’m going in for scalp surgery in the morning. Two days in the hospital (supposedly), and then back home. Wish me luck! oh yeah…

Dr. Sketchy’s happens the second Sunday of every month. See below!

xo aliza (ghost writing by emily) 2014.02.20 Continue reading

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Hi Everyone, please help me out by spreading the word!!! forward this message…

Hi Everyone,

please help me out by spreading the word!!! forward this message to your networks and friends as widely as possible.

if there is anyone out there who has one or two (or three?) rooms and can rent to me please get in touch at i have one cat. my landlords are selling my building and i need a new place as soon as possible. i need to be close to the T, preferably the red or orange line in boston, cambridge, or somerville.

meanwhile, i have some surgeries coming up but of course there are complications.

the first one is to stretch the skin on my scalp. they have to make room for the new bone flap. this surgery was scheduled for the 22nd but they had to postpone (because of a blister!!) and it hasn’t been rescheduled. this is causing a lot of grief.

the surgery to put the actual bone flap back in hasn’t been scheduled yet, because they have to wait until the skin is stretched enough to put it back in.

the surgeons think it will be several weeks between the stretching procedure and the bone flap procedure. this is complicated for me because while they are stretching my scalp, i will not be able to wear my helmet and so i shouldn’t really leave the house. once they start the stretching process, i have to go back every two weeks so they can increase the pressure under my skin.

ok that’s it for now. i will keep you posted on the surgeries. once the procedures start i will not be able to move until at least april and probably more like may or june.

xo aliza

(ghost writing by dora) Continue reading

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**Housing Help Needed!** After 15 years or so in a great apartment in Dorcheste…

**Housing Help Needed!** After 15 years or so in a great apartment in Dorchester, Aliza needs to find a new place to live! If you know of a room or apartment that is inexpensive (around $600/mo), close to the train, and cat-friendly (1 lovely feline)… Continue reading

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Hi everyone. I have an update on Aliza's health. She was supposed to be having s…

Hi everyone. I have an update on Aliza’s health. She was supposed to be having surgery tomorrow, but there was a last minute setback. The doctors say she does not have enough skin on her scalp to allow them to replace her “bone flap” as planned. So now they say they need to stretch the skin. They will do this with two implants on the “good side” of her head (I think both side are pretty awesome, all things considered) that will be gradually filled with more saline over the course of a few months–they’re not sure exactly how long it will take. She will have a surgery to put in the implants some time in the next 4-6 weeks. What a fucking bummer, especially as our hope was that putting the skull piece back on would help her aphasia and arm and leg problems immensely. Aliza is really struggling with these problems right now, so this is hugely frustrating to her and all of us who love her.

If you want to help out, please consider making a donation at or call Aliza and let her know if you can help out with chores, etc.

Susanna Continue reading

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As many of you know, Aliza is back in a difficult place with ongoing complicatio…

As many of you know, Aliza is back in a difficult place with ongoing complications from her stroke. In late July, the day after that last TraniWreck show (which she felt so great about and grateful for–thanks to all who performed and watched!) she developed an infection and as a result had to have her skull prosthesis removed. As a result of that surgery, a lot of her post-stroke symptoms have come back: her aphasia is pretty bad and she’s having a hard time using her right arm, leg and foot. Talking and walking are difficult again.

This is, needless to say, a huge bummer. Aliza is now facing the same intense symptoms she had in the wake of her first and second strokes. We all know Aliza is incredibly strong and a major trooper, but this third round of heavy-duty symptoms is a physical and an emotional challenge.

I’m writing because Aliza needs your help again. You’re included on this email because you offered support and assistance to her in the past. It can be hard for friends and family to face this kind of repeated illness, but the fact is that Aliza needs a lot of support right now—both logistical and emotional. I know that she would deeply appreciate your presence in her life at this point.

Some ways to help include:

-Just checking in. We know Aliza is a very social person, and right now she’s fairly home-bound. Letting her know you’re thinking about her—through Facebook comments, phone calls, letters, etc. —would do a lot to buoy her spirits. Some of you live far away, so this is an easy option to reach out. Please know, however, that she might not be able to respond to all comments or always pick up the phone (aphasia makes this really hard at times) . But rest assured your words mean a lot to her.

-Visiting. Making a plan to spend some time with Aliza can help lift her spirits. Also, if you’re willing to help out around the house or with errands, that would be a huge help. Aliza’s mobility and her energy are pretty limited right now, so things like washing dishes, doing laundry, etc. go a long way toward helping make her daily life tolerable, and hopefully help her not to overexert herself. To set up a visit, just call Aliza. Calling between 10-6ish is best, as talking on the phone gets harder in the afternoon/evening.

-Food. Preparing food is really difficult as Aliza’s can’t use her right arm. If you can make extra and drop something off for her, or find some other creative way to help nourish her body, that would be amazing. Aliza can’t have any gluten, including wheat, oats, barley, rye, I think that’s it, but if in doubt please check with her. Also she is mostly vegetarian, although she does eat fish. As with visiting, just call Aliza to figure out a drop-off or ask questions . Calling between 10 and 6 is best, as talking on the phone gets harder in the afternoon/evening.

Dora in particular has been working with Aliza to build sustainable support systems (in-home professional support, transportation, etc) but the fact is that community support will be essential to Aliza’s emotional and physical health for the next several months as she weathers another difficult period. If you can help in any way I know it will make a real difference to her well-being.

Please spread the word if you know of other people who care about Aliza and would like to help!


Susanna and Dora Continue reading

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Hi Everyone, I wanted to give you an update on everything that happened over t…

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to give you an update on everything that happened over the last two weeks. It’s been intense!

Friday (7/26/13): 2nd anniversary TraniWreck: Old + Now show. It was so amazing. It was so much fun, the performers were great, and the crowd was good too.

Saturday (7/27/13): I woke up with a headache & drove myself to the hospital (my roommate drove the car back to the house). I called Dora and she came down to the hospital to meet me.

They did a bunch of tests and decided it was probably an infection, the same problem as when I went in back in May. In June I went back for a checkup and it was getting better, but this time it was worse.

Sunday (7/28/13): They decided to do emergency surgery that night. They took out the peice of my skull they replaced last year so I have to wear a helmet again.

Monday – Thursday: I was at MGH recovering from the surgery while they figured out what bacteria were causing the infection and what antibiotic to use.

Friday Aug 2: Released home with a picc line to continue IV antibiotics for 5 weeks.

It’s hell and I don’t have the mouth to speak. It is lost but maybe it will come back.

(Theadora and Susanna) Continue reading

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