Tonight I'm channeling Youffraita with her Monday Night at the Theater series--hoping she doesn't find her name mentioned in vain--in connection with thanking our bodies for what DOES work (rather than what goes wrong).
A little snippet of a song with "thank you" as the motif surfaced in my brain the other day. I let it simmer for a while, and eventually the full association appeared. In 1968 a musical named "Maggie Flynn" had a very short Broadway run; I think I might have seen a pre-Broadway production here in Detroit that season with my mother, who was a big Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones fan. (I hasten to add, for their singing!) One way or another, she wound up with the original cast recording and played it at home till it wore out.
The plot, about the romantic complications of an Irishwoman running an orphanage for African-American children in New York City in 1863, is pretty contrived. In terms of staging, it was really not a forward-thinking concept in the days of "Hair." But some of the tunes are charming even after all this time, and among the very young performers in the children's chorus was Giancarlo Esposito, of all people. Who knew? Such a talented man now, it shouldn't really surprise me. Irene Cara and Stephanie Mills were also among the children in this show, a little less of a surprise given the careers they have had since.
If you follow this link and have Spotify, you can play the whole song. Most of the concept did stick with me, all these years later--showing, perhaps, how powerful a mnemonic music can be, along with how impressionable young ears can be.
Some of the lyrics:
Thank your ears for hearing music--and jokes that are funny....In my last MNCC diary, I wrote about cancer-related fatigue. If that isn't a prime example of a reason to be frustrated with my body, I don't know what is. Just that after-effect alone dominates my life far more than I like, keeping the reminder of my cancer ordeal very fresh in my awareness. And in other diaries, I've complained about non-cancer-related problems, like arthritis. (I laugh at myself a little for thinking that cancer should be my get-out-of-other-ailments card.)
Thank your hands for tying shoes, playing ball, reaching for the stars.
Most of all, thank yourselves for being what you are.
It seems only fair to give the other side of the story, so to speak, equal time.
I'll start with the fatigue. As pressing as it is, I do get some relief when I rest. That's not nothing, even if I wish it were a little more something.
And then, strength. Most of the time, I either have the muscle strength to do what I need to do, or I can get help. I count myself fortunate on both those grounds.
The kind of cancer and cancer treatment I had did not leave me with other debilitating conditions. I don't have to deal with bowel obstructions, which are not rare for women who've had endometrial cancer and then radiation therapy (which I did not have). The neuropathy I suffered in my feet went away after a few months of intensive acupuncture. Even my hair grew back, less gray and more luxurious than it was before.
And otherwise, most systems work pretty well. I can walk and hike and enjoy the outdoors. I can smell and taste and see and hear and feel just about as well as ever. I'm thinking about getting a new bike, and the idea is not out of the question; in other words, my balance is still adequate. I can put out bursts of energy and get things done. I have no pain on a regular basis, not at all. I have just about the same flexibility as I used to have, pre-cancer. There are some ways in which I probably sing better than I did before, now that I have had a really emphatic reminder about how everything is connected.
I can get out to see people and take part in organizing for various projects. I can GOTV, in short stints.
I am not terribly solicitous about my poor, taken-for-granted body, but perhaps I should be. Well, no "perhaps" about it. I'm feeling lucky to be here, and my body's own resilience deserves some credit for that.
What would you like to thank your body for? And, as always, please consider this diary to be an Open Thread.
Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7:30-8:30 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.