Best songs for cancer treatment appointments

I write this one with several newly diagnosed friends on my heart and mind.

To borrow from a prior blog post I wrote about that time when I was living it, my prayer is that they feel Love in the Waiting.

Because waiting is agony.

Waiting for pathology reports and clarity on next steps. Chemo or radiation? Which one? Both? And for how long?

Waiting to start neoadjuvant chemotherapy (and as with all chemo, by “waiting” what you’re actually doing is privately counting down the days in fear and dread, because no one knows what to do with a cancer patient who shows raw emotion. You’re supposed to be strong and brave, so that’s what you portray).

Waiting for enough information to move beyond these awful, and honest, inner talk tracks such as:

“My life is indefinitely on hold. Hurry up test results and pathology reports! I want to plan for vacations and holidays!”

And also this:

“How bad is it? Do I need to be making different kinds of plans? Oh gosh, I should burn those old diaries – I’d die if anybody found them. I need to clean out all the closets and … ” [searches until she reaches the End of the Internet, still no closer to a comforting answer]. It’s an unavoidable thought, and also entirely human.

Note to patients, caregivers and friends – give the person fighting this disease the judgment free space to work through the darker emotions. Nothing about living with cancer is linear, and it’s all messy.

Processing new and sobering information … waiting for life-altering news … remembering other people’s horror stories you didn’t even realize you’d forgotten until this moment … wondering if treatment is actually anything like what they portray in TV and movies … worrying about how you will provide for your family through everything … thinking through your social circles and pondering who will start pulling away from you socially … thinking about how this will impact your marriage and what it will do to your kids … reading about treatment toxicity risks … trying to make decisions that feel impossible and overwhelming.

While outwardly you only let a socially acceptable level of vulnerability rise to the surface. For me, the healthiest way to endure such times is through some good old fashioned quiet time. Just me, my thoughts, and a lovely playlist to match the mood.

I named this one Goodbye Cancer (curating it throughout treatment). It’s a mix of uplift, distraction, empowerment, and reflection. Just what I needed while in the infusion chair. Below is a 20-song sample (too long to post the whole thing).

Which brings me to another topic for another blog post.

Don’t assume everyone going through chemo wants company. I was quite content to be by myself during that time – in fact, I strongly preferred it. Not that I had any other choice (thanks, Covid), but even if I had, the idea of having to be “on” for another person, the thought of someone observing and assessing every expression and thing I said or did, whether out of genuine concern or not – exhausting. NO THANK YOU, (shouty capitals on purpose).

Alright, without further ado, the list! Hope it reminds you of songs you forgot you loved, or inspires you to create your own, whether for yourself or someone you care for who’s deep in this cancer fight.

Sending you all love and light,


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