2022 December Christmas

December 2022

Dear Family and Friends,
Two thousand and twenty-two marked my 50th year as a professional actor. I decided to celebrate with travel. Lots of it!
My sister Jeanne met me in NYC in March for a jam-packed eight days. We met again in April in South Bend, IN, to join family members to watch our great-nephew pitch one of his last games at Notre Dame. John Michael Bertrand is now living his dream, having been recruited by the SF Giants. I got to St. Louis a few days before Jeanne arrived in late May, so I could see some of my many friends in our hometown. Once Jeanne came, we headed out shortly thereafter to Nashville, to meet my sister Cecilia and her daughter Celia. I finally understand what Nashville is all about!
In June I accompanied Tom to DC where he was invited to lobby for Patients Rising Now and bills affecting patients’ care. While he was up on the Hill, I lunched with various friends. The wraparound VA stays were to visit Tom’s family, including his sister, cousins, niece, great-nephew, accompanying in-laws and family dogs!
Our August plans were scraped as our Montana host came down with COVID.  Hope to recoup that trip in 2023. 
We did get to a long weekend in San Diego in September as I was keen to see the new musical COME FALL IN LOVE. I predict a Broadway run.
October meant Minneapolis/St. Paul and a long awaited catch up with my last remaining mentor, 96 y/o Terry Kilburn. Every minute with TK is a joy, filled with his “memory palace” stories, deep laughs and usually chocolate. Since I went to grad school there, many friends remain; foremost is my childhood and former U roommate, Mary White, who “tooled” me around much of my 6-day stay. Then I was on to Mt. Vernon, IA, where Tom and I hosted a 40th wedding anniversary/housewarming party for Jeanne and Wayno. Jeanne overhead two of her guests gush “fancy!”
I was back in St. Louis late in November as my youngest great-nephew Oliver was baptized. Was able to come in a few days early to see more of my local friends before family festivities took over.
Latest jaunt was this month. Tom and I headed to Cambria, CA for a handful of days. I finally saw a true meteor shower, got to the architect Julia Morgan tour at Hearst’s Castle, wonderful dinners out and a fairly exhaustive tour of their much celebrated Christmas Market. (travel photos/details on my Instagram #mmsnapped or personal Facebook page)
Knowing I would not be available to audition, let alone work, I did ask the good Lord to give me one job -  for my ego. I shot a commercial for Comcast Xfinity which has yet to air. I just didn’t want my 50th year to be the only year I didn’t book.  HE gets me. Then out of the blue, my old Geico spot “Aunts” was renegotiated and is currently airing. (https://auralcrave.com/en/2022/12/20/expired-the-cast-of-the-old-geico-aunts-commercial/)
Did a few other career related things: 
The podcast Jesuitical: What’s it Like Being a Catholic in Hollywood? Segment 12:38 to 40:38. https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2022/01/14/marianne-muellerleile-catholic-242205
My undergrad alum magazine did a feature on me:  "How I Got Here"  
I was the guest speaker at a local Senior Arts Center after their viewing of a feature I did called QUEEN BEES.  Just shared behind-the-scenes stories of the shoot and fielded questions.
Got a Google alert that the full 2006 show of THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Hollywood Bowl, LA Phil Orchestra w Melisssa Errico, John Schneider, Ben Platt, Marnie Nixon, Jeffrey Tambor, and me as Frau Schmidt. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIDvM3HPJQM
The link below is about THE TERMINATOR cast - where they are now. I am kindly mentioned.
Between the travel I spent my time shuttling between four dental specialists. Oh my heavens! A small fortune later my teeth look exactly as they did before I started!
My only other news is that, after 11 years of fundraising for Heifer International, I broke through 500k! So much gratitude to many of you for being one of my Heifer Team donors.
Here is some of Tom’s year of endless advocacy, interviews, zooms, presentations, lobbying, support groups, consulting, trial participation, evaluating, ETC. He’s also dealing with additional or prolonged medical issues, but it’s the chronic pain advocacy that gets him up every day to contribute in some way to that community.
1. He has agreed to be a patient consultant for Duke University for the next five years. (Still awaiting word on funding of this clinical trial.)
2. Article on Tom Chronic Pain Management Research Program (CPMRP) Consumer Peer Reviewer: Managing Chronic Pain through Support & Advocacy https://cdmrp.health.mil/cwg/stories/2022/Tom_Norris_profile
3. He is in his 8th year working for the Department of Defense under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Chronic Pain Management and Research Program (CPMRP), evaluating grant submissions to fund chronic pain medical research. (While we were in Cambria last week, he had two, 5 hr zoom meetings to wrap up this year’s work)
4. Tom has been taking certification classes to be a public speaker for patients’ advocacy under the auspices of Patients Rising and US Pain Foundation. His interest is developing in this area and he expects to be doing more of it in the future.
5. He won an essay contest sponsored by Patients Rising Now, which is why he was flown to DC to lobby before the US Congress. Although it was very physically taxing, he loved it. https://acpafacilitatorsresources.com/2022/07/10/what-does-personal-engagement-provide-for-someone-with-chronic-pain-my-thoughts-tom-norris-chronic-pain-advocate-person-with-chronic-pain/
6.  Tom was on the planning committee for the international non profit, World Patients Alliance, (https://www.worldpatientsalliance.org/) where he helped develop their first convention held this past October in Rome.
7. Tom gave testimony at a legislative meeting of the CA State Congress to help promote a bill that encourages payers to cover FDA approved non-pharmacological (Virtual Reality) alternatives to opioids. 
8. He was the guest speaker at the first company wide gathering of remote workers for Applied VR. They develop VR programs for medical use. Tom was the first chronic pain user of their VR programs to ever speak to them about their product, the good, the not so good, and suggestions for improvement.  It was a VERY enthusiastic group and a lively give and take. We loved the overnight getaway on the shores of Redondo Beach.
9. Here's a link to the Radio Health Journal segment he is in: https://radiohealthjournal.org/medicine-in-the-metaverse/. It's also available on all of the major podcast platforms (Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Play) if you search 'Radio Health Journal". 
10. Tom did an 8-hr video shoot in our home for AppliedVR. I acted as his manager, location scout, and segment advisor. Tom had them donate his stipend to Heifer through my fundraising page.  You know how much I loved that!
11. Tom accepted a new job offered to him through his consulting work for Cedars Sinai. He is now a Patient Advisor and member of the National Institute of Health’s HEAL Community Partner Committee!!! https://heal.nih.gov/
12.  He is an active participant of the National Academy of Medicine’s (NAM) work on a Person-Centered Chronic Pain Journey Map. https://nam.edu/programs/action-collaborative-on-countering-the-u-s-opioid-epidemic/chronic-pain-journey-map/
13.  He continues his work as a Patient Advisor/Advocate for the American Psychological Association (APA) Guideline Panel for Treatment of Musculoskeletal Pain in Adults. https://www.apa.org/about/offices/directorates/chronic-pain-panel
14. He is involved either as a consultant or a participant in several chronic pain studies. Most of this work is done with Cedars but one is done through UCLA.
15. He was recently interviewed about the use of Virtual Reality as a tool for chronic pain management for the Voice of America.
16. On Dec 1, Tom spoke at the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) public meeting support of the AppliedVR request for a unique HCPCS code to recognize VR treatment for chronic pain management, specifically to  identify the use of a product outside of the healthcare practitioners’ care setting.
17.  Tom has continued his individual, nationwide, chronic pain support groups via Zoom and telephone.  He now has more than 400 people interested in this support.  His biggest emphasis this year has been to train others to facilitate these groups to ensure that this support is continued and expanded.  He has established a new “youth-oriented” chronic pain support group and a “caregiver” support group.  He has also helped to establish two other chronic pain support groups throughout the US. 
One of the reasons Tom is so pursued is that the medical researchers who are studying chronic pain have never had an actual chronic pain sufferer (with his resume) on their research team. It has been a game changer for them.  They constantly recommend him to other researchers.
Tom has had a great time board and bagging his comics as he relives some of his favorites. He also remains a voracious consumer of all things Sci Fi, Fantasy and Egyptology.
Yes, there have been loads of mundane, annoying, frustrating events throughout the year, same as we all experience, but there’s no point in reliving them.
And we play gin rummy almost every night after dinner, through the David Muir Evening News,  and Jeopardy. The big news is that for the first time in our 36-year relationship, Tom won his first 10,000 point round. I think it was an anomaly. He’s determined to prove me wrong.
Merry Christmas and many blessings throughout the coming year,
Marianne and Tom
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