Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Checks and Balances

My absolute first blog post was about finally feeling "old" when I had to get my first mammogram. Well, I had my second today and can tell you I feel a lot younger than I did before the first. Yes, reality bites and the machine presses and pinches in all the wrong places, but there is nothing like knowing I have done what I can to protect myself from an awful Kancerous invader. In response to the exam, I decided to take myself out to dinner before heading off to a community band rehearsal. I promise to get to that later, but the rest of the day must be discussed first.

As the story has it, my exam was held at St. Joseph's Center for Breast Health and Diagnosis in Orange, California. It is a beautiful office and Kancer angels are present in every facet of an office visit. One stood out today because her own mother succumbed to Breast Kancer in 2012. I was stunned by the fact she continues her work, regardless of her mother's health outcome.

At one point, her phone went off during my appointment and she couldn't apologize enough. I reassured her by telling her it happens to the best of us, and with the magic she and others perform every day in those exam rooms, a simple ringtone was nothing for me to be upset about. Also, as she moved me about, she apologized for any pain or discomfort and I quickly let her know these pains are so small compared to the arduous journey so many Kancer patients face. I told her I was simply grateful to be checked and then she shared about her mother. We shared notes of understanding and appreciation for preventive care and I was allowed to go on with my day.

Health? Check!

Long ago, I learned from a friend it is good to care for yourself after major health exams like this. She usually blocked out an entire day for self-care. Although I couldn't do that today, I really did have a couple of hours to spend after the exam, so I went on to the city center of Orange. I'd planned on a coffee shop named Kimmie's, but they had closed for the day. I decided on a The Haven Gastropub that advertised "gourmet comfort food". What better place after the squashing??

I let my senses do the ordering and my favorites popped up:
House-made potato chips for an appetizer and a Pear Cider to start-
Pan grilled scallops with grilled split Brussels sprouts-
House-made donuts with both whiskey caramel and chocolate sauces-
and French pressed coffee from the Portola Coffee Lab

Man. I was in heaven! What a treat! I left smiling and savoring every taste memory!


On to band rehearsal....
I've picked up the clarinet to get back into playing music. Ugh. I realized it had to be done when I played for the Kindergarten kids at our school back in December. Boy, I was rusty! I still am, but hopefully the trip down memory lanes will help me get back to it.

Rehearsal was in Anaheim Hills, yet another reason to spend a little more time at dinner in Orange. Traffic can be a real bear in California, especially at the time I planned to travel. But I digress....
I got there pretty early and found the band room after watching a few people headed in that direction. A friend from school told me about this band and I met her a bit closer to the start of rehearsal. I met a few new people and will have to ask their names again next week, but all told, it was a very friendly group.

What happened next was just crazy. I felt like I was in a time warp where all of the bands I'd played in before came crashing toward me and through the clarinet like a mash-up of times and places. I could sense the Municipal Band in Allentown, Pennsylvania and then on stage in Chicago at the Band Directors National Conference with the Medalist Concert Band, and then on to outdoor concerts all over Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The truth is, I have played in so many different groups of varying ability levels and commitment, that I hope to have struck a balance with this one.

I had a moment of "zen", if it might be called that.

It was the first time in ever that I allowed myself to just play and not be stressed about the perfection and competition that I couldn't listen and enjoy the efforts of those around me. Even the tuba player, a kindly grandpa type of guy, encouraged me and thought he heard all of my notes from across the room (and above his tuba, of course!). This band seems to be a balance of the things I love about making music. I made a decision, after fumbling through the first number, to just be in the "now" and to celebrate the fact I am starting anew, once again.


I appreciate the gift of life I have been given and intend to celebrate by drinking it in a little more each day.

Cheers, to good health, delightful food, and the simple joy of music!

No comments: