I need a little help from my friends

Mercy ScannerSince I was told those words “YOU HAVE CANCER” I have been wondering how I could turn it into a positive. I’ve seen so many people on TV on shows like The Voice and they all have a story of troubles that they turned into amazing success stories.

It’s taken me two years to come up with a HAG. It’s not fully fleshed out yet and it is full of challenges and I’m hoping for my friends to help me out.

I’ve always considered myself a survivor, but I’ve struggled at times and often feel embarrassed when people suffering 100 times more than I am, try to make me feel better.

I’ve been reading an awesome (but huge as friends and fellow sufferers I have bought copies for) book called SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal which is all about using gamification to help yourself deal with chronic illness and trauma. Between that and two sensory deprivation floats over the last 2 days at FloatCulture in Auckland, I’ve come up with 4 ideas. I will flesh them out later, but I’m looking for a little help now and a lot in the future and I’m hoping you will find a way to join me.

Another Stretch in Iraq

  1. I am a singer songwriter, or at least I was before I got sick and I want to be again. Over the last 2 years I have struggled to play my guitars. I typically pick one up, play for a few minutes and put it down again. I struggle with chronic fatigue. In recent times I have often had to go back to bed during the day and even if I have slept most of the afternoon, I’m likely to be asleep again around 7:30-8PM. Here are some things I want to do:
    1. In about 9 months I want to do a gig somewhere with great acoustics, playing my originals (including new songs about dealing with cancer) with some backing from other musos.
    2. As per the SuperBetter program, I need 2 or 3 people (close friends) to check up on me and help me stay on track. That might be texting me or giving me a call each day and asking how my music is going to make sure that I stick with it, even if it’s only for five minutes.
  2. I’d like to help other musicians with cancer who feel the same way and would love to get back into their music but are struggling like I have. It might be that I can put together some sort of guidelines (everyone is different and it isn’t paint by numbers) based on my own experience, such that they can come up with their own model and get help from their friends to achieve the same results.
  3. If  we can achieve that, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could put together a gig/s of songwriters and musicians who have cancer or are in remission around New Zealand? Wouldn’t that be something amazing to aim for!
  4. I need a lot of help. At the end of this year I had most of the last 2 weeks off sick because of fatigue. I spent most of that time sleeping day and night. I need my job (both because I love it and because I need the income) but I’ve been struggling to front up. I need help putting together and maintaining a website or Facebook page to tell people about this initiative. Bottom line is it is going to be a struggle just for me to play every day (and keep my job), let alone grow this thing into something that will give energy and bring a spark back into people’s lives who are suffering and struggling just to get from one day to the next.

So what do you think? Is this a good idea? Do you know anyone who is a musician with cancer (or in remission) who has struggled like I have to motivate themselves and get back into it? When I have been able to play and write, like the song I wrote, which I blogged about here in a Cancer Meltdown,  it was extremely cathartic. Music is a healer.

I will be approaching a few close friends directly to assist me in my immediate journey to play every day. But for the other things I can do with a lot of help. Do you know songwriters and musicians with cancer? Do you know people who want to help them? Can you help in some way?

Can you please share this post with people who you think might be interested?

I’m going to try with a little help from my friends, actually a lot of friends if possible and friends of friends, because it’s 10 in the morning and I’m already tired. But I am going to play today.

Thanks for sticking with me. There is a lot of work to do and I can’t do most of it. We all know music is good medicine and can help drive a positive attitude. A lot of beating cancer is about attitude.

For now you can contact me through my blog. I don’t want to put my email address on here and attract phishers. Since I wrote this blog, I now have a Facebook group called Musicians with Cancer and Other Maladies. Please check it out and share the word.

Again, please share this so that we can help other people in a similar situation to me. Thanks a million.



6 thoughts on “I need a little help from my friends

  1. Pingback: I need a little help from my friends – Dan's Journey through Prostate Cancer

  2. Hi Luigi,

    This is a great idea. I can empathize with the loss of creativity as we go through this cancer journey. I had just launched my blog about San Diego when my PSA started creeping upward and, what got off to a great start, came to a screeching halt at worst, and a half-hearted effort at best. That’s not acceptable.

    Perhaps if we set reasonable and attainable goals for ourselves given our life and job circumstances, perhaps that can be our motivator for the new year. Research and post two stories a month for me; write and post a song a month for you as a starting point? Just an idea…

    I’m happy to share your post with my readers in hopes that one or two of them are far more musically inclined than I am. Of course, that won’t take much. I have all the rhythmic abilities of a pet rock and can clear dogs out of a three-county radius if I attempt to sing. I’ll just stick to taking photos in silence…

    Good luck with this!


    • Thanks so much Dan, it doesn’t matter whether its a blog or a book. It’s cathartic. I’m halfway through SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal which I wrote about in the blog asking for help. It”s a massive 800 page tome but I strongly recommend it to you even if it takes you a year to read it and you don’t want to (and you don’t need to) do half of the things in the book. It and a couple of float tank sessions helped me find something I can achieve, but with the help of awesome people like yourself, I reckon we can help more people do the same. The big thing is that it is all about small steps. When I think back to 2016 Relay for Life and getting 14 people to get tested for Prostate, it wasn’t hard to do. I still have a few people resisting but 14 healthy people now have a baseline and the knowledge that they don’t have it. If you could share my blog that would be awesome and I know that like myself, you have several people following you who have cancer. If we can help just one of them ease their way back into it, we will have achieved something great. Hope 2017 brings positive results for you. My next Oncologist visit is in a couple of weeks and then possibly an endocrinologist because the drugs they gave me slowed down my production of cortisol. I’m off the drugs but the minimum cortisol level is apparently 200 and I’m producing 100 and also all but stopped producing steroids. Anyway it’s a beautiful day, made better by the support of people like yourself. Happy New Year Dan:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s