Melissa Meets Portugal. The Man

May 31, 2018

2017 was a very bad year. At only 33 years old, I was diagnosed with Stage 3b Triple Positive breast cancer – an aggressive form of cancer. I was only six months into my new marriage and should have been enthralled in that blissful, honeymoon period. Instead, my new husband and I were staring at an oncologist as she delivered the bad news. She would be one of the many faces delivering sad news as my journey into recovery progressed. From conversations around infertility to hair loss, chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation –  the year seemed to move in slow motion. I missed the carefree, fun life I had planned for myself, with babies and travel and happiness. I struggled day to day to find a new “normal” in the world of cancer I had been thrust into. I yearned for the person I had been only a short time ago.

On the monthly route to and from chemotherapy, there was one thing that put a little perk back in my step: the infectious jingle of a new song on the radio by Portugal. The Man titled “Feel It Still”. Whenever that song came on – and it never failed to come on during our trips – no matter how tired or beat I felt, I managed to shake all I could muster and dance in the car. Sometimes it was only head bopping while other times I could move my whole upper body. I danced and smiled. It was therefore no hard decision of who I would request to see when I applied to Do It For The Love. I needed to see Portugal. The Man.

I was overjoyed when I received the email that my application had been accepted and the beautiful, giving people of Do It For The Love were working on securing tickets for me. I marked the calendar in big, bold words the date of the concert and counted down the days. Unlike last year’s siege of bad news, Do It For The Love was generous with the good news. Not only were they able to grant my husband and I tickets to the show, but I was also allowed to bring two friends and … drumroll … we were going to get a meet and greet with the band! I was over the moon.

The night of the show will go down as one of my all-time favorite experiences. I proudly donned my Do It For The Love t-shirt and temporary tattoos and headed on down to the Fox Theater in Pomona, California. The meet and greet was more than any of us could have imagined. We were brought into the green room and introduced to the whole band. We were then invited to relax with them until the show started. Once show time came, the band let us stay backstage to watch the show! I danced and danced and smiled so much I was surprised I did not develop permanent laugh lines. For one night I felt joyful, light, youthful, and free again – without a care in the world other than finding the beat to dance to.

Years ago I was able to see Michael Franti play in Reno, Nevada. I briefly met his lovely fiancée – now wife – in front of the venue when she accidentally dropped the flower crown in her hair. Later, during the show, my roommate threw his hat up to Michael, and Michael placed it on his head. He wore it the rest of his show and was thoughtful enough to make sure my roommate got it back. I could tell then they were both lovely people. After learning of their organization, my heart grew three times bigger. Thank you Do It For The Love for helping this gal get some of her mojo back. Xoxoxo.