Cancer and music "that makes me want to live"—Brian Mansfield


12 Responses to “Cancer and music "that makes me want to live"—Brian Mansfield”

  1. ChickieD says:

    I work with a company that installs audio-visual equipment in operating rooms. Hands down the most used feature on our equpment is the iPod player. Surgeons typically operate to music. It’s likely music was played during your operation, though it was not your selection. If you didn’t get the psychic boost you desired, your doctor probably did, which may have been even more important to a good outcome. Good luck with your recovery.

  2. williamcmills says:

    I used to work at Ucla Medical Center as an RN in one of the ICUs and had a young female patient that had a great spirit and great taste in music. One of my favorite memories was of an attending MD trying to teach an intern to insert a central line on this girl while we listened to “Too Drunk to Fuck.” She passed away shortly after but her humor and courage and refusal to be defined as her illness has always felt really wonderful.

  3. IronEdithKidd says:

    I’d like to see Mr. Mansfield’s playlist, but I don’t want to sign up for Spotify in order to do so.  :(

  4. IronEdithKidd: I can take care of that for you! Here’s the list for the column Xeni references.

    Delta Rae – Dance In The Graveyards
    Julie Lee & the Baby-Daddies – Unto the Hills
    Joe Pug – Deep Dark Wells
    The Vespers – Lawdy
    The Civil Wars – From This Valley

  5. accessdenied says:

    Thanks for posting this.  During both of my chemo rounds (Stage III colorectal), my second best friend was my iPhone and the music on it. :)

  6. RJ says:

    It stands to reason that a person facing cancer would experience certain songs with an intensity unavailable to the general audience. When I was in the darkest night of clinical depression, there were some songs that came through the fog as clearly and brightly as a bell-strike. It would be melodramatic to suggest that those songs helped me find my way out, but they did provide comfort that could not be found elsewhere.

    Naturally, if someone is curious at all about this phenomenon, they want to know what specific songs were hitting the right nerves. So far, I have never heard someone else’s special music list and felt any inkling of the intensity they felt. To me, the music was unremarkable, at best. That emphasizes the idea that we exist in separate worlds.

    • Sure, but I don’t want to hear those music lists in order to replicate that intensity of feeling. I want to hear them because they shed light on that other person’s story, the sounds that shaped their tastes, the words that trigger a response in them. Maybe I’ll share some of those responses, maybe I won’t – either way, it starts to bring those separate worlds a little closer together.

      • Jon Farr says:

        I agree Brian.  I am a survivor (diagnosed when 21) and other people’s stories always resound strongly with me.  I have always appreciate Warren Zevon’s “The Wind”.  He recorded it after being diagnosed. And bring closer to home how mortal we all are.

  7. chgoliz says:

    This is the first post of yours on the subject of cancer that really hit home for me.

    The fear that one might have inadvertently passed on dangerous genes to one’s children is so frightening.  To wonder if they will go through the same trauma and pain.  To wonder if they will die young as a result.

    Thank you?

    Edit: I realize my short response above might seem insensitive. Backstory: this post gave me insight into why my dad (who has battled several cancers successfully, but is now having a much harder time with prostate cancer) reacted the way he did when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. All of a sudden, he had to face the reality that I was going to go through similar procedures….fine for him, but not what he wanted for his only child. I had been focusing on my own children being able to have their mother at least until they were adults, and feeling lucky that I had (have) a treatable type, and hadn’t really understood how my diagnosis IN GENERAL hit him as a parent. It made me realize how painful it was for him. Didn’t matter that I was probably going to be OK in the end….he knew what I would have to go through first.

    So, yeah, this hit home for me, in a way that most stories about cancer haven’t.

  8. rob rollins says:

    When my wife had her mastectomy, her surgeon had a case under his arm during the pre-op visit.  We asked what was in the case and he told us it was his “surgery music”.  We then asked him what he would be playing during Annie’s surgery and without skipping a beat he said, “For you, I’m playing Billie Joel’s ‘Movin out’.”  Classic.  This was three years ago and, although she’s had to endure multiple rounds of chemo and radiation as the Stage IV, triple neg cancer keeps trying to exist, she is currently in remission.  She talks to her cancer, and tells it that it can’t exist without her, so it would be best for it to behave and learn how to live with her and stop trying to hurt her.  She is my hero.  Keep fighting, Xeni.

  9. EAW says:

    Christmas carols sound very different, better really, sung to a dying friend. She fell asleep during the singing, finally. Check out Theresa Schroeder-Sheker, founder of Music Thanatology. Her Rosa Mystica is great music to play for a dying loved one, especially, “For The Roses”. Peace.

  10. Jim Semonik says:

    I couldn’t agree more.  Music is my life and I believe is the reason why I survived Stage 2 colorectal cancer.  As a promoter in the Pittsburgh area, I amassed many connections with artists over the years and, with their help, created the Electronic Saviors:Industrial Music To Cure Cancer compilations for Metropolis Records.  I think articles this this are awesome.

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