A friend and I have a “secret handshake” joke about communities. She does not like the term. I use it all the time in our discourse just to good-naturedly annoy her.

Yeah, I’m like that sometimes. Sigh. I’m working on it. I promise.

What is a community?

When I right click on the term on my iMac, Wikipedia gives me helpful hints, as always.

The term community has two distinct commutative meanings: 1) Community can refer to a usually small, social unit of any size that shares common values. The term can also refer to the national community or international community, and 2) in biology, acommunity is a group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment.

Now, last time I checked, there were roughly seven billion people on the blue marble (and I haven’t counted the last two births in Sydney this afternoon, because, well, it’s still early morning here and that just freaks me out without enough coffee in me yet).

One birth every eight seconds.

One death every twelve seconds.

A net gain of one new soul every thirteen seconds.

There are a truckload, a big earth-moving-vehicle-kind-of-truck-load of us, on this planet. We are living interactive living organisms sharing a populated environment. But that’s not all, is it? We are so much more than that.

We sometimes form little groups, little cliques, little clubs. We have secret decoder rings so we can read each other’s messages. We have secret handshakes. We speak specialized languages that help us keep others out (admit it) as much as bring others into the fold. We wear special colors that identify us, endear us, and sometimes vilify us to others inside and outside our own circles. We meet at prescribed places and times to air our frustrations, plot our revenge, elevate our heroes, plan our celebrations, and to mourn our dead. We live and breathe together. Always, if nothing else, together.

One such group, among the myriad others, is the #bcsm group on Twitter.

This group of men and women blow me away. I have learned so much from them, and I continue to learn every day. They have enlightened me about cancer, friendship, coping, living, loving, and maintaining good mental health in the face of unimaginable stress.

They enjoy every minute of every day of their lives, because many of them know that the remaining days are already numbered. They rejoice when good news comes, and they rally, I mean rally, around one of their own when stumbles happen. When a hero among them passes away, a more loving and caring passage to the other side could not be scripted. Some of them, friends of mine, take the time to ask about me, my struggles, and my hopes and fears even as they process their latest scans or set up their next chemo appointment.





Common goals.

A common will to squeeze every drop out of life on this planet, whether that life lasts eight more months or thirty more years.

Men and women of the #bcsm community, and I use that word with the very highest respect I can muster, I salute you.

I am honored to share the planet with you, and I hope to be sharing it for many more years to come.

17 thoughts on “Community

  1. A wonderful article, describing a group of exceptional people.
    As a person who’s life has been totally changed by the effects of cancer on both friends and family, I too salute all those who share their experiences and provide mutual support through the #BCSM community.
    Thank you for highlighting their endeavours. Chris Jones (UK)


  2. I am an overly emotional blubbering fool right now. What a beautiful post. I am grateful every single day for the vision that Alicia and Jody shared… and then IMPLEMENTED. Some people talk. Others act. When you mention rallying…that got me. Having been on the receiving end of a #bcsm rally on a day I could not have felt more alone or more frightened, the group held me up and I won’t ever forget their actions. It is a special community indeed.

    Thank you for sharing it here.



  3. Scorchy,

    I don’t think you’re a woman who makes idle threats.

    Get yourself up and better and come on down. Whatever dinner you can stomach is on me.

    The sarcasm is all on you.

    Like you care what I think. 😉



  4. AnneMarie,

    You are living proof that relationships in community via social media are real, powerful, and cherished by those who have experienced them.

    I’m so glad these super people could hold you up when you felt like falling down.

    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. If means a great deal.



  5. Thank you for recognizing just how special the #BCSM Community is. Jody and Alicia started something absolutely incredible, and I’m so proud and fortunate to be a part of it. The men and women that participate in the chats and who are online every day offering advice and support are simply the best, and they have helped me in my personal and professional life more than I can ever explain. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet several of the group in person and it’s a truly magical experience. You think you can feel the love online? Imagine what it’s like in real life!!!

    I’m honored to share the planet with you as well, and I look forward to a long friendship.


  6. Hi Doc,

    Thanks for your comment. I know that many in the #BCSM community think very highly of you and value your input immensely. You are a very real person who can put tough concepts and choices into real English, and that takes smarts, skill, and talent. Plus, you have a kick*** garden. What’s not to like?


  7. So wish I could join the bcsm chat. Work interferes, but many from the community are familiar to me through the blogosphere. You’re right. You can’t find a more awesome bunch of people. Thank you for your post. I could feel the adoration and respect you have for this particular group of patients.


  8. This is my posting pseudonym (necessary for professional purposes), but I’m very proud to be a part of this community. Something was missing after all the “official” appointments were finished and I’ve developed lifelong friendships. I’ve met a few of these rock stars in real life and I’m blown away each and every time. It’s nice to see another member of the medical community that ‘gets it’. Hope we’ll continue to see you on Monday nights. : )


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