Michel Varisco

Benefitting Team Gleason

Mom, wife, artist and one of my all time favorite people, Michel Varisco, cozies up with All The Wiser on a couch in her native New Orleans. Michel walks us through the day of her husbands terminal diagnosis, finding out she was pregnant a month later and what it was like to watch a documentary about her life in a packed theater at Sundance Film Festival. She opens up about the pressure of living up to false expectations, the realities of life as a full time caretaker to her husband and newborn baby, their decision to have a second child and how her darkest days inspired her work as an artist.

In Today’s Episode

  • Learning her husband, Steve, is terminally ill  (5:16)

  • The truth about care-taking for someone you love  (13:45)

  • Having her life filmed for a feature length documentary (19:26)

  • Creating unexpected and beautiful art in the walls of a hospital (34:12)

Wise Words

  • The doctor I remember said I think five people have beaten the disease. I was confident that Steve would be one of those. (6:15)

  • I think people relate to me…. Well the morbid thing is, I think a lot of people are like, “Thank God that’s not me. I could... I think things are bad for me, but they could be that bad, you know?” (18:00)

  • I think my darkest moments were, in a way I was losing the Steve that I married. It was like I was going through the death of the man I married. (21:45)

  • I miss the ease. We could travel places in backpacks every time. Now we travel with 3 caretakers and 12 suitcases. (25:30)

  • It's always this underlying, and I'm sure people who are taking care of people with cancer, or parents or kids, anyone. I think people go through... I guess maybe that's a little bit of a survivor's guilt. You're not able to really feel or express your feelings, because there's someone who is hurting so much more than you. It's just an unfair thing. (29:11)


michel’s artwork (available for purchase on her website)