Radiation Playlist #SOL19 13/31

When the radiologist told her she could choose her own music during the treatment, she immediately wanted American Pie. Her mother said no. Don McLean’s classic is about nine minutes long, and each treatment will only last three minutes. She suggested that the doctors could just leave her in the machine until the song ended. Her mother pointed out that they might need to treat other people after her, so she could not stay three times as long as necessary simply to hear the music. She was unimpressed with this logic. She is 5.

When they came by my house after this particular visit to the hospital, she was in a good mood, despite her American Pie plans being thwarted. She actually ate some lunch – a good thing because the last round of chemo left her unwilling to eat and far too thin – and let me kiss her a million times. She likes being kissed a million times, but sometimes her skin is too sensitive and sometimes even kisses hurt.

We snuggled up on the couch while I heard all about the music disagreement. She was back to arguing for American Pie. She may be thin and fragile right now, but she is not easy to push around. I suggested that we create a “radiation playlist,” and we began perusing the music on my phone. She has twelve rounds of three-ish minutes ahead of her. She has to lay completely still so that the radiation hits the exact right spot because, like so much of the treatment, killing the cancer has to be balanced against damaging the rest of her body. If she moves, the radiation might harm her one remaining kidney.

I aimed for quirky. She listened intently – you should see how this kid can concentrate! – and her mother and I laughed to think what the radiologists will make of her choices. Riptide by Vance Joy earned an immediate yes. The line “all my friends are turning green” made her laugh. I don’t think it means the same thing to her as it does to me.

We went through a lot of music. She rejected Adele’s Hello as “too slow”, and I didn’t even bother with typical kids’ songs because she’s not a typical kid. Luckily, we have mostly similar tastes in music. Her current playlist includes

Cantaloop: Flip Fantasia by Us3
Royals by Lorde (because who doesn’t want a tiger on a gold leash?)
Shake It Off by Taylor Swift
Demain by Les Nubians
Dream in Blue by Los Lobos
Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson
Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers

I woke up this morning thinking about her, and I immediately knew we should add Cecilia by Simon & Garfunkel. It will have to meet with her approval, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got her number. We’re still two songs short of the dozen we need, so I’m working on some options. My bet is she’ll make her own decisions. That’s just the kind of kid she is.

Photo by her mom; outfit the result of falling into a mud puddle on the way into the hospital; attitude all hers.

PS – Her mom reports that she was a little scared to go alone into her CAT scan today, but  she requested Shake It Off and aced it.



19 thoughts on “Radiation Playlist #SOL19 13/31

  1. “…sometimes even kisses hurt.” Oh, my heart. You’ve brought to life this amazing, determined child with your slice. I can just imagine the two of you snuggled together, making music selections. What a positive approach to a daunting, frightening experience. I will hold her close in my thoughts and heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much positive energy on top of the heartache here. This little girl sounds like a force to be reckoned with. I’m sorry she has to go through this. How lucky she and her family are to have supportive people to help them along the way. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Music eases
    the world, each
    beat a counter
    to the rhythm
    of unpredictability.
    Songs bring solace,
    offering a place
    and space,
    to breathe
    between the silences

    — Kevin, a poem as comment in appreciation, and hope that music helps (and a hat nod to the excellent list)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This post makes me happy that she has music she wants and sad all over again that this little one has to go through all this. Thanks for the update.


  5. This is beautiful. Music is so powerful. I am sure she is thankful for you and the playlist. I have somewhat similar taste- I suggest checking out “Ends of the Earth” by Lord Huron. It is relaxing, rhythmic and the harmonies are gorgeous. Best of luck to you and your little buddy. My thoughts are with you two today as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my heart! I hurt for her, but I also hurt for her mommy. They are in my prayers. Music is so powerful… words and rhythm can lift us above the place we are in. There are songs that have done that for me through some tough times and today, though still fond of them, I rarely listen to them. Good that she has a dozen to select from to match her need on any given day, in treatment and out of treatment. Thought occurred to me that in that tube all alone listening to a favorite song, she can know how close she is to the end of that eternal three minutes by the song.


  7. The interesting thing about the way you set up this piece is that I could hear American Pie in my head as I was reading, and with each new revelation in the story, or new detail with your “characters” the music accompanied the shifts magically. You wrote a slice with a soundtrack and it is perfect. Please tell your little fighter that the internet thinks she rocks! (Excellent taste in music, especially for a 5 year old)


  8. Superbly crafted piece. Your objective tone results in an emotional read. If only she could shake off cancer and chemo w/ the ease of pushing “play.”


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