On our super awesome mom/daughter 30th birthday extravaganza, we got the amazing, once in a lifetime, finally achieved a 10 year dream, opportunity to attend a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But before I go on, there is some back history you need to know to fully grasp and appreciate the magnitude of how special this day was.
I’ve been an Ellen fan….forever! I used to watch the sitcom as a young teen religiously. To this day I remember loving the fact that they often referenced The Commish in their jokes, which was another of my favorite TV shows. I remember being so disappointed when it was abruptly cancelled. It was the first time in my young sheltered Utah life that I wondered why anyone would care that much about someone’s else sexual orientation was. Ellen’s coming out patterned the way I would view and support the LGBT community throughout my young years and still today. The Ellen DeGeneres Show started during a trying time in my life. I was a young newlywed, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted in life while trying to support my husband and the married lifestyle. We were both in college and I just couldn’t find my place in school….or in the world. I had trouble relating to other young married students and my old single friends. And my beloved Rosie O’Donnell Show had just been cancelled. So Ellen came just when I needed her the most!
10 years ago I decided I needed to go to a taping of her show in LA. I thought it would be simple enough to get tickets, so when I only got stand by tickets the first time I flew to LA anyway. I was 6 months pregnant with my oldest son. I did not get in. But that began years of submitting for tickets, sometimes flying out for standbys and never even getting in the riff raff room. And as many of you know, 6 years ago getting tickets to a taping took on a whole new meaning when she actually saved my life. And I’m not speaking figuratively here! Back in 2010 Ellen did an interview with Maura Tierney about her battle with Breast Cancer. She was younger than the typical age and didn’t have a family history and I was taken back by that. 2 years later, in 2012, I remembered that interview when I found a lump in my left breast. I had initially been told not to worry about it, but I couldn’t shake the memory of that interview and insisted on a mammogram. I was soon diagnosed with a rare, very rapidly growing tumor. I had just turned 31 years old. It was a battle that took 3 surgeries, including a mastectomy and complete reconstruction, but I’m healthy today still. And even more importantly little Micah Andrew, who was born after this whole ordeal, is a healthy vibrant 3 1/2 year old. So not only do I have Ellen and Maura Tierney to thank for my life, but for Micah’s too.
So obviously getting to an Ellen taping was very important to me after that. It was discouraging to never get there, especially when I would fly all the way to LA just for a chance. And it wasn’t cheap either. I have sold my blood plasma and saved the earnings all year every time just for the chance. But I was bound and determined that someday it would happen. And with this year being that my mom and sisters were coming along, I wanted it more than ever. I prayed every night for months just begging for the opportunity. But with our trip rapidly approaching, I knew I didn’t get them again. And I was crushed.
But that’s when a small miracle happened. Just days before we were scheduled to leave, I got those tickets. How was a combination of inspiration, great timing, and pure dumb luck. I found someone to help me, and I will not disclose their name or how they did it. I promised to protect their identity and I intend to always do that. But not only did they secure us tickets, but they were VIP!!
We showed up at the studio a little earlier than the time we were given because the day before we had gotten a little bit of a late start to Universal Studios and we didn’t want to risk that happening again. And I’m so glad we did, because they were actually ahead of schedule. The studio was across the street from where we lined up, so we all crossed together with security guards. I felt very important, even though they were doing it for everyone! We waited in a long hall with pictures of Ellen and all her guests hanging on the walls. I was able to point out every picture and not only say what season it was but add an extra little tidbit of what happened during the interview. Then they led us into the riff raff room and Ellen Shop. Which is where I got my official Ellen pop figure! Side note: my sons fell in love with the pop figures when we went to comic con last month. They asked if we could collect them, which I agreed on IF the first one I ever bought was the Ellen one. So now they are very excited to start our collection! Anyway, we waited downstairs from the actual studio for what felt like forever. But in true Amy fashion I chatted with anyone who would listen to me and that passed the time!
Then it was the time! We headed into the studio and we were very excited to be placed right in the front row center! It was SO cool!! Once everyone was seated the warm up guy came out and got everyone dancing. I joked to Kirsten that I was glad there was a bar in front of us so I could show off my twerking moves! That was hilarious until Ellen came out and I was so excited I almost fell over the bar onto all the unsuspecting producers! When she came out we could tell there was something wrong right away. She then proceeded to talk about how she had hurt her back again and we could tell she was in a lot of pain. I felt so bad for her. especially when the musical group Old Dominion came out to perform. They had a stool for Ellen to sit on by the producers, and she tried to sit comfortably on it during the entire performance. She finally gave up. But she shrugged it off as best as she could, even when she nearly got run down by a game contestant. I admired her endurance so much. The guests that day were Keira Knightly and Katherine Hahn. I LOVE Katherine Hahn so I was excited! Especially after it was revealed she was promoting a movie she did about infertility. Having gone through 8 years of infertility before having Ben, I felt instantly even more in love with her! The prize for the day was a $350 voucher to a country music festival in LA next spring and a copy of the CD. But the staff asked us not to accept the voucher if we didn’t think we’d come back for it so they could give it to somebody who could use it. So we just took the CD. But the person who helped us get the tickets gave us free mugs, so I was happy! And afterward I told my whole story to the warm up guy, who patiently listened and then gave me a free tshirt!
It was such a great day and such a dream come true to finally be there seeing the person who saved my life….. in person! I will eternally be grateful to the person who made this happen for us. They have no idea what a gift and a blessing they gave us that day, they helped my dream come true. And thanks to Ellen and her wonderful staff for making it a day to remember!