Beauty Found and Shared

I did not know or even follow Lisa Bonchek Adams as well as most other breast cancer bloggers I follow/interact with. So while her death saddened me, my reaction has skewed more toward first anger, and now strengthened resolve. Anger that her message of not losing a battle seems to be lost on so many, that so many articles and even comments and tweets have relied on that stupid battle cliché. Strengthened resolve to speak up and out more in criticizing euphemisms, to be brutally honest in communicating to any and every person that death is a potential result of cancer. No matter how unpleasant it is to say the D words (death, die, died), my conviction is stronger than ever that using those words is a crucial part in moving the conversation about cancer forward.

I’ll write more posts about all of those topics later. Today I am going to do what Adams always advised her followers to do—the finding beauty and sharing it thing.

I admit, not being a sentimental type, I kind of blew off her tweet exhorting folks to find and share beauty. I’m not one for the inspirational quotes. I am a sarcastic curmudgeon, and like snarky quips and memes. But I will take a break from my natural state, just for this moment.

Yesterday was an awesome day for me. In spite of still so many posts about Adams on social media, while I was out in the world, everything just worked so well! Just a few days ago, my beach town had suffered yet another ice and snow storm with freezing temperatures that road crews and residents are simply not equipped to handle. I was frustrated at having to walk dogs while slipping and sliding on ice. But yesterday the warm hints of spring finally took root. Snow melted rapidly. So many neighbors were out and about: walking, playing ball with their kids, or just driving with the windows down.

Pond Still Frozen

I’m not a fan of springtime, I’m allergic to every plant, ever. But nothing is in bloom just yet, so I was able to walk outside without discomfort. I’ve mentioned before that I live in a beach resort area. Warmer weather brings the tourists and traffic snarls (until a brief shining moment on Labor Day). But they had not yet arrived as of yesterday. Sure the ticks bearing Lyme Disease are waking up, the mosquitos (our regions unofficial “bird”) are going to stir. The next few months will heat up and all these irritations—bugs, pollen, traffic—will make me (and other locals) grumble.

But yesterday, this one day, was perfect.

There were other things, silly things, that made the day awesome: I finished appointments early, I found a grocery item the first place I looked (living in rural areas means some healthy foods are hard to come by—Whole Foods is over 2 hours away). No, these aren’t big things; no one announced a cure for cancer and I did not win the lottery. But the day just “clicked” for me.

It may not seem like a big deal to anyone reading this. But, for me, it was a good day (again, cue the phone to start playing Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day”). So I’m sharing it.

Curmudgeoning will resume on this blog soon I’m sure.

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5 AM

When people go on about “gifts” from cancer, I roll my eyes. More like curses, I think. One such curse is some occasional insomnia for me. You know, that wake up at 3 in the morning thing. Start worrying about stuff, mostly cancer, and cannot get back to sleep. This happened to me this morning. I did the one thing you’re not supposed to do–got out my phone and started goofing around, which pretty much guarantees I won’t get back to sleep.

So I got up at 5 AM, turned on the TV to see if I could find a nice boring infomercial that would lull me back to sleep. Instead I found delight: Foo Fighters on “Austin City Limits” on PBS!!

Let me back up a little bit. I knew the Foos were going to be on ACL, and knew that it was supposed to broadcast on PBS on Feb 7. PBS always gives a date and a time for programs with the note to check local listings. I LOVE living in Maryland, except for the state’s PBS station, MPT. MPT NEVER complies with the times/days PBS advertises. Well, of course, “Downton Abbey” is on at the same time as it is on other PBS stations, but I am sooooo over that show. When the Ken Burns cancer film shows in most areas of the US, I will likely not see it until a day or so after, and I will have to really look to see when it will screen on MPT. I’d checked my local listings last night, and ACL was not listed. It did not occur to me to check 5 frickin’ AM the next day for it. It was pure luck I had a sleepless night and got up to channel surf. Who the hell watches a show of raucous music at 5 AM? Well, me. With such recent artists featured on ACL—Nine Inch Nails, Beck, freakin’ Nick Cave—5 AM is NOT the time slot I thought to research.

All griping about my local PBS aside, what a wonderful morning. Yes, I am tired today—maybe I can grab a nap later. Yeah, waking up in the middle of the night sucks, worrying about cancer in such a way it prevents sleep sucks, but what a great outcome today! Today is great! (Cue Ice Cube’s “Today Was A Good Day” in the background.) I saw an awesome show, I was reminded of the power of live performances. Also, BTW, anyone who does not love Gary Clark, Jr. (the Foos special guest) is wrong!!!

So oh no, what??!!! I have to thank CANCER for the GIFT of insomnia??!!! Weeeeellll, I’m not gonna go THAT far. But I concede that the series of events led me to getting up early, and totally enjoying it.

Anyone who has read my older posts, the music related ones, knows that I 1) am a big rock and Grohl fan and 2) do not believe in having heroes. On the latter point—it isn’t fair to dehumanize someone with hero worship, they are merely fallible humans. That said, I will admit to being extremely grateful, indebted even, to Dave Grohl and his various music affiliations. Nirvana, Foo Fighters, wacky collaborations with Jack Black, any of those combinations have been a source of comfort in my post-cancer life. Of course I could’ve faced my post-treatment depression without him. But it’s been a hell of a lot easier with the existence of Dave Grohl.

In Grohl I trust.

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