What Would Your Chemo Song Be?

I took the advice of a friend. I grabbed every email, text and offer of support from friends here in Doha and made a little Facebook group. I’d spent a couple of days running into people and repeating the same information again and again and it was bringing me down. Not the catching up with the friends bit, just the constant cancer chat. Where is it exactly? How did you find it? How long will the chemo last? What’s in the chemo? What does that mean? When do you go to see the doctor next? How are the kids coping? Is G okay? Where is it again? Can you see where they’ve cut it out? I can’t see, you don’t really look any different.

I started a group.

I added my Mum and a couple of girlfriends from home who I knew would want to know exactly what was going on. The kind of people who say “are you okay, maybe I should come over?” It felt weird to add them knowing that they couldn’t pop in with a casserole or pick the kids up from school, but it didn’t matter, they were there. Last night my girlfriend Penny wrote a note to the group, a suggestion of something that she could do from afar, someone everyone could get involved in.

“I’m suggesting that we all nominate a song for Kirsty to listen to while she’s sitting around.”

She suggested Sugar by Robin Schulz and Francesco Yates. The idea was to choose a song that meant either something to me or something to them or just a song they liked.

“I’m imagining listening to this after a long lunch at Star of Greece, dancing with a glass of wine…”

I loved it. I LOVED IT. I mean how more perfect can you get. As people started to share their suggestions I downloaded – I now have a playlist titled “chemo”.

I started to think of what my song would be. I was thinking of my new best cancer friend in Singapore who was counting down her next 5 treatments. “I’ll be done by Christmas”.

A couple of years ago my friend Darien sent me a song for my birthday. It seemed so apt at the time, my birthday is on New Years Eve and the song title is This Year. We had a few people at the house that night and it was played on high rotation.

I wrote about Darien a few months ago, he’s my friend who was diagnosed with liver cancer. It’s kind of funny to think that while I was driving Darien to his radiation appointment I was sitting next to him with a little cancer of my own. When I was diagnosed I rang him and told him I was sick of him getting all the attention. We now compare cancer care tales and talk multi-diciplanary teams. He’s jealous of my outcomes and I’m jealous he’s still got hair.

When I was thinking about what my song would be I realised it had to be This Year. It’s the chorus, it’s no longer about the New Year, it’s about making it through the old one. My chemo will be done by Christmas and while they’ll still be radiation to follow I feel like if I can just make it through the chemo with the new job, the kids and the illness, I’ll have made it. I can do it.

“I am going to make through this year if it kills me.”

*ignore the film clip but listen to the song*

Okay, I need to fill my playlist. What would your chemo song be? It doesn’t have to be uplifting or have meaning.  What should I listen to? What would you listen to?

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  • Kylie L

    Florence and the Machine- Dog Days are Over. Because they will be and you can sing this at the top of your lungs when they are xxxx

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      I used to play that song at full tilt driving down the freeway in Houston – It’s going on the list!

  • Darien

    Sleepwalking by The Raveonettes. Swedish ESL pop gets no better.

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      Phew, I nearly downloaded a whole load of Swedish ESL pop. Thanks! 🙂

  • Tessa Kerkvliet

    Shut up and dance, by Walk the Moon. Because sometimes you just need to stop talking and stop thinking and just dance, dance, dance….

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      Now I can’t stop singing it!!!

  • Tracy Willcott

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      AHhhhhhhh memories!

  • Katherine

    Another one bites the dust (Queen)

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      Every time a chemo gets done – that should be the walking out tune. Kx

  • Susanne Smith Jennings

    My serious one would be “I Look to You” (Selah version or Whitney Houston version). But to lift my spirits, I’d listen to “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” by David Allen Coe…hilarious.

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      I’ve downloaded the Live at Billy Bob’s Texas – and it is cracking me up. Thank you!

  • Phoebe Thomas

    Kirsty I’m yet another well wisher from afar, who’s been following your blog for far longer than just the little bit of cancer blip. My song from the last year or so has been Prayer in C (Robin Schultz remix) by French band Lilly Wood and the Prick. (Surely the name of the group alone is enough to tempt you to have a listen….!) I love the idea of your chemo “mixed tape” and love Penny’s choice of Sugar (a song we played all around Poland/Germany on our summer road trip). I hope you like it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrlfFTS9kGU

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      Oh I love this one, the kids and I had on in the car the entire summer(winter in Oz). Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://www.canadianexpatmom.com Canadian Expat Mom

    This is a good ‘Kick cancer’s a$$’ kinda song!!!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases


  • Ali Read

    Play list, bah, try an awesome podcast I’ve heard about…Two Fat Expats!

    Music wise, Avicii’s wake me up always makes me smile and tap my feet on the train after work

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      Hahahahaha! That’s one of my faves as well.

  • Jenni from styling curvy

    Green Garden by Laura Mvula /Pumpin Blood by nonono

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      That’s a newey for me and it is now on my chemo playlist!

  • http://www.dazeofmylife.com Corinne

    This song always makes happy, because it’s just silly. Silliness is important. Dr Worm by They Might be Giants. “I’m not a real doctor, but I am a real worm.”


    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      I had totally forgotten about this song. Thank you, going on the list!

  • Debbie Eisenach
    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases


  • http://www.darlenefoster.ca Darlene Foster

    Green Day´s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) would be on my list. Looks like you´ve got a great list going Kirsty. Sing your heart out. We´ll be singing with you.

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      I LOVE LOVE LOVE that song xx

  • Heidi Brenegan

    OMG–great topic Kirsty. I made a “Mix Tape” for the first time, (ever?) about two weeks ago and put all my favorite songs in it. Then I realized most of my favorite songs are about sex. 🙂 But maybe most of the songs in the world are, anyway. But on my chemo tape I’d have to have Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground–not because it talks about death but because it’s the funkiest song ever written.

    • http://shamozal.blogspot.com Kirsty Rice 4kids20suitcases

      Adding it now!

  • Rebecca Schöpf

    a few song suggestions from me (ps spent all day listening to your podcasts on saturday whilst picking 3L of cranberries at 2,000m in the alps – it was just us three, all alone, picking berries. bliss!):
    1. “christine” by christine and the queens – very funky french song; no idea what she’s singing about but i love, always makes me want to bop along
    2. “home” by edward sharpe and the magnetic zeros (to combat chemo-induced homesickness – home is not a place, it’s “wherever i’m with you”)
    3. “hey ho” by the lumineers for a pick-me-up anthem whilst driving to chemo

    4. “untouchable face” by ani defranco (a personal hate song, imagine you are singing f—k you to the faceless cancer cells!)
    hope that helps – barracking for you over here xxx

  • Katie M

    Angela by Missy Higgins because it’s absolutely beautiful, and I just love her Australian twang. Can’t beat some good Aussie music.

  • http://www.vitalmommy.com/ Hannelene

    “Happy” by Pharrel. Love that song, no matter what’s going on. Almost anything Ingrid Michaelson. Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah as recorded by Jeff Buckley. The whole Silk Road album by Yo-Yo Mah. Oh, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Wow, my list is bizarre.

  • AEC

    You are as strong as it gets.

  • sue

    Showing my age here, but “under the milky way” is a fantastic tune. Makes me feel nostalgic but in a good way. Everyone interprets this song in their own way: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/australia-culture-blog/2014/jul/15/the-church-under-the-milky-way-an-accidental-australian-anthem

  • http://www.pinkypoinker.com.au Pinky Poinker

    Build Me Up Buttercup! It’s a good luck song for me and I reckon it will be for you. xxx

  • JulietteG

    I’ve been thinking about this – how do you feel about songs from musicals? I love them! A few suggestions: Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray (so upbeat), Do You Hear the People Sing from Les Mis (a good fighting song), Defying Gravity from Wicked, Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist from Avenue Q (it will make you laugh), For Good from Wicked (a little bit sad), anything from Songs from a New World (a bit niche but beautiful). I could go on for hours!

  • http://www.muddlingalongmummy.com/ Muddling Along

    Sigh no more by Mumford and Sons

    “There is a design, an alignment to cry
    Of my heart to see,
    The beauty of love as it was made to be

    Love; it will not betray you
    Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free”
    And the music – it starts softly and builds and builds until it’s both a cry for and an assertion – it’s been both something to cry to and something to strengthen my backbone over the last couple of years

  • Jessica

    When you mentioned about starting the group on fb with some of your closest people and the suggestion of music to make the distance a little more bearable and a way they can be with you, this song came to mind. Such a 90’s kid here but with that said it never fails to make me smile! 🙂
    I’ll Be There For You (F.R.I.E.N.D.S Theme) http://youtu.be/2vuaqDDr–Q

  • http://www.quiltify.com Quiltify

    Jackson Browne’s ‘Farther Out’.

  • https://m.facebook.com/eviejeanjewellery EJ

    Longtime lurker – but just remembered my password so here I am 😉
    My current songs on repeat are: Runaway Train by Cam, Top of the World by Tim McGraw and White Lightning by The Cadillac Three.
    Do you have Pandora? It is my favourite app ever!

  • Sam

    Rachel Platten: This Is My Fight Song

    I heard this last night on the road, and your post immediately popped into my head.

    Just saw someone else posted the same one. 🙂

  • Amanda Page

    I’m snagging a whole bunch of this new music, what an interesting an eclectic mix. I’d recommend “Adelaide” by Ben Folds. It’s a great capsule of our town from an outsider who got it.