Wednesday, December 21, 2016. I met my brother-in-law Brad about 15 years ago. He was a senior in high school. His oldest sister had invited me home (to Philadelphia) for the Jewish holidays (I was in my last year of law school; Jen a year behind). I am notorious for overpacking but always forgetting something important. For my first trip to the Nelson’s house, it was my underwear. Brad got home from tennis practice right after I finished taking a shower and I was in the process of helping myself to Brad’s underwear drawer. I was in a towel, rifling through the kid’s underwear (there was lots to choose from). Brad walked into his room looking dazed and confused as he proceeded to introduce himself. [I told the more detailed version of this story many years later when I was the best man in Brad’s and Julie’s wedding.] The rest is history…..
Brad has a heart of gold and is all about family. For many mornings over the last eight months, Jen and I woke up to the “Song of the Day,” included in an e-mail from Brad with the artist, title, a link to the video, and the best quote from the day’s song. [Like my blog posts, Brad came charging out of the gates, slowed down as we got deeper and deeper into the grind, and picked up steam here at the end.] Most of the time I knew the song. There were a lot of times I sang out loud. But every time one of these e-mails from Brad came through, I always smiled. Sometimes the song had a lot of meaning and depending on the day, I might choke me up. Other times there were songs that I think Brad just liked (you will know it when you see it). It never really mattered to me or Jen.
After sending us the last installment early this am (“Closing Time” by Semisonic), Brad also sent me the full “play list.” I thought it made sense to share. Artist, titles, video links (at the end of each song title), and the important quotes selected by Brad all included below. There are even some notes from Brad regarding the particular day he was sending the song.
I’m not sure I am going to post again tonight. I actually think I may fall asleep. Last night I slept about 1.5 hours (from 2-3:30 a.m.). Jen is hoping I sleep too as I have a knack for making sure (not necessarily on purpose) that she sleeps the same amount as me.
Today I finished the eight-month protocol. No more chemo in 2016. Feels good to say that. But not sure it has fully registered (notwithstanding how long we have been waiting for today). There is no doubt my inability to sleep (last night and the last several weeks) is directly related to the fact that we get to “un-pause” so many things in our lives as soon as I recover. And I am pretty banged up at the moment, which is expected after eight months of chemo and nine treatments in 14 days. In fact, while the “last” chemo treatment was done hours ago, I am typing this from the infusion center where the second bag of blood is just about empty. I also needed a bag of platlets and a Neulasta Onpro contraption put onto my arm (to help create white bloods, of which I have zero at the moment).
Wait, the machine just beeped. It’s done. Gas tank refilled. Chemo over. I am getting my ass out of here (until next week when I need my counts checked). More to come……
Pearl Jam – Just Breathe.
“Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands the ones I love. Some folks just have one, yeah, others they’ve got none.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man.
“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast. Troubles will come and they will pass. You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love. And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above
Bon Jovi – We Weren’t Born To Follow.
“We weren’t born to follow. Come on and get up off your knees. When life is a bitter pill to swallow. You gotta hold on to what you believe.”
Van Halen – Right Now.
“Don’t wanna wait til tomorrow, why put it off another day? One more walk through problems, built up, and stand in our way. One step ahead, one step behind me. Now you gotta run to get even. Make future plans, don’t dream about yesterday”
Tom Petty – Learning To Fly.
“Well some say life will beat you down. Break your heart, steal your crown. So I’ve started out for God knows where. I guess I’ll know when I get there”
Creadance Clearwater Revival – Long As I Can See The Light.
“Though I’m going, going, I’ll be coming home soon. Long as I can see he light.”
Bruce Springsteen – Land of Hope and Dreams.
“Well, I will provide for you. And I’ll stand by your side. You’ll need a good companion now. For this part of the ride. Leave behind your sorrows. Let this day be the last. Tomorrow there’ll be sunshine. And all this darkness past”
Grateful Dead – Touch of Grey.
“Sorry that you feel that way, The only thing there is to say, Every silver lining’s got a….Touch of grey”
Bruce Springsteen – Prove It All Night.
“Everybody’s got a hunger, a hunger they can’t resist, There’s so much that you want, you deserve much more than this”
Pearl Jam – Love Boat Captain.
“Is this just another phase? Earthquakes making waves. Trying to shake the cancer off? Stupid human beings. Once you hold the hand of love…it’s all surmountable.”
Tom Petty – Won’t Back Down.
“Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down. You could stand me up at the gates of hell. But I won’t back down.”
Beatles – Let It Be https://youtu.be/rsxUDjfhj5Y
“And when the night is cloudy, There is still a light that shines on me. Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.”
Guns N Roses – Welcome To The Jungle.
“Welcome to the jungle we take it day by day. If you want it you’re gonna bleed but it’s the price you pay.”
Bruce Springsteen – The Rising.
“Can’t see nothin’ in front of me. Can’t see nothin’ coming up behind. I make my way through this darkness. I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me. Lost track of how far I’ve gone. How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed. On my back’s a sixty pound stone. On my shoulder a half mile line”
Aerosmith – Dream On (ESPN Top Sports Moments).
“Yeah, I know nobody knows, Where it comes and where it goes, I know it’s everybody’s sin, You got to lose to know how to win”
Pearl Jam – Love Boat Captain (Performance dedicated to a Joshua).
I know I already sent this to you, but this is the performance I told you about where he dedicates it to Joshua. “Trying to shake this cancer off!!!!”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities.
“Coming out to the light of day. We got many moons than a deeper place. So I keep an eye on the shadow’s smile. To see what it has to say.”
James Taylor – You’ve Got A Friend.
“You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am. I’ll come running to see you again. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend.”
R Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly.
“If I can see it, then I can do it. If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it.”
David Cook – Dream Big.
“But if u dont dream big whats the use in dreaming. If u don’t have faith theres nothing worth believing. It takes one hope to make the stars worth reaching for. So reach out, for something more.”
Will Smith – Summertime.
“Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.”
Bob Marley – Three Little Birds.
“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
John Lennon – Imagine.
“Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people. Living for today.”
Pearl Jam – In Hiding.
“It’s been about three days now, Since I’ve been aground. No longer overwhelmed and it seems so simple now. It’s funny when things change so much. It’s all state of mind.”
Daughtry – No Surprise.
“I’ve practiced this for hours, gone round and round. And now I think that I’ve got it all down. And as I say it louder, I love how it sounds. ‘Cause I’m not taking the easy way out.”
Eminem – Lose Yourself.
“If you had, one shot, or one opportunity. To seize everything you ever wanted. In one moment. Would you capture it, or just let it slip?”
Michael Jackson – Beat It.
“You better run, you better do what you can. Don’t wanna see no blood, don’t be a macho man. You wanna be tough, better do what you can. So beat it, but you wanna be bad. Just beat it, beat it.”
Nas & Damian Marley – Strong Will Continue.
“Come we’ve got a journey to go. And when the battle get sour and dread. A lot of weak are to wither and moan. Only the strong will continue. I know you have it in you.”
David Lee Murphy – Dust On The Bottle.
“You’re still with me, and we’ve made some memories. After all these years there’s one thing I’ve found. Some say good love, well, it’s like a fine wine. It keeps getting better as the days go by”
Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It.
“We’ve got the right to choose and, there ain’t no way we’ll lose it. This is our life, this is our song.”
Grateful Dead – Ripple.
“There is a road, no simple highway, Between the dawn and the dark of night, And if you go no one may follow, That path is for your steps alone.”
Beatles – Long and Winding Road.
“The long and winding road that leads to your door, Will never disappear. I’ve seen that road before it always leads me here. Leads me to your door”
Bon Jovi – It’s My Life.
“It’s my life. It’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. I just want to live while I’m alive.”
Maroon 5 – Harder To Breathe.
“When it gets cold outside and you got nobody to love. You’ll understand what I mean when I say. There’s no way we’re gonna give up. And like a little girl cries in the face of a monster that lives in her dreams. Is there anyone out there ’cause it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.”
Counting Crows – A Long December.
“And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe, Maybe this year will be better than the last. I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself, To hold on to these moments as they pass.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under A Bridge.
“I don’t ever want to feel, Like I did that day. Take me to the place I love. Take me all the way.”
Eminem – I’m Not Afraid.
“I’m not afraid, To take a stand. Everybody. Come take my hand. We’ll walk this road together, through the storm, Whatever weather, cold or warm. Just letting you know that you’re not alone.”
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody.
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality.”
Live – Beauty of Grey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQy-Vk2RmcQ
“This is not a black and white world. To be alive, I say that the colours must swirl. And I believe, That maybe today, We will all get to appreciate…The Beauty of Grey”
Michael Jackson – Scream.
“Peek in the shadow, Come into the light, You tell me I’m wrong, Then you better prove you’re right, You’re sellin’ out souls but, I care about mine, I’ve got to get stronger, And I won’t give up the fight.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway.
“That’s right you’re right, We will do our thing tonight alright, Take me through the future, It’s time you’re fine”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Million Miles of Water.
“Broke down, I found. Even when you think you need a rest. You will live to fight another round. I know its too bad, so sad. All the things that we could’ve been and could’ve had”
Oasis – Wonderwall.
“Today is gonna be the day, That they’re gonna throw it back to you, By now you should’ve somehow, Realized what you gotta do”
Grateful Dead – Deal.
“Since it cost a lot to win and even more to lose. You and me bound to spend some time wondering what to choose”
Queen – We Are The Champions (sent day after Cavs won NBA championship).
God is with us. Believe Land.
“I’ve paid my dues. Time after time. I’ve done my sentence But committed no crime. And bad mistakes ‒ I’ve made a few. I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face But I’ve come through. And I need just go on and on, and on, and on We are the champions, my friends, And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end. We are the champions. We are the champions. No time for losers. ‘Cause we are the champions of the world.”
Live – Pain Lies On The Riverside.
“You’ve got to learn to live until no end now. But first you must learn to swim all over again”
Bruce Springsteen – Waitin’ On A Sunny Day.
“It’s rainin’ but there ain’t a cloud in the sky. Musta been a tear from your eye. Everything’ll be okay”
Pearl Jam – Even Flow.
“Even flow, Thoughts arrive like butterflies, Oh he don’t know, So he chases them away, Someday yet he’ll begin his life again”
Allan Sherman – Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (day Jake left for camp).
“Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh, Here I am at Camp Grenada, Camp is very entertaining and they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.”
Grateful Dead – Uncle John’s Band.
“Well the first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry any more, ‘Cause when life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door.”
R.E.M. – Stand.
“Stand in the place where you live, Now face north, Think about direction, Wonder why you haven’t before”
Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up.
“rest your head, you worry too much, it’s going to be alright, when times get rough, you can fall back on us, don’t give up”
Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive.
“Well now, I get low and I get high, And if I can’t get either, I really try. Got the wings of heaven on my shoes. I’m a dancin’ man and I just can’t lose.”
Grateful Dead – The Wheel.
“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down. You can’t let go and you can’t hold on. You can’t go back and you can’t stand still. If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will”
Survivor – Eye of the Tiger.
“Rising up, back on the street, Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet. Just a man and his will to survive”
Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta.
“I’m not sick but I’m not well. And I’m so hot ’cause I’m in Hell. I’m not sick but I’m not well. And it’s a sin to live so well”
Neil Young – Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World.
“Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive. Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive.”
Bruce Springsteen – American Land (sent on July 4th).
“There’s treasure for the taking, for any hard working man, Who will make his home in the American Land”
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Soul to Squeeze.
“Where I go I just don’t know, I got to, got to, gotta take it slow. When I find my piece of mind, I’m gonna give you some of my good time.”
Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved.
“It’s not always rainbows and butterflies, It’s compromise that moves us along yeah, My heart is full, and my door’s always open, You can come anytime you want”
Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling.
“Let’s paint the town, We’ll shut it down, Let’s burn the roof, And then we’ll do it again”
Live – Heaven.
“I sit with them all night, everything they say is right, but in the morning they were wrong, I’ll be right by your side, come hell or water high, down any road you choose to roam”
Bruce Springsteen – The Rising.
“Lost track of how far I’ve gone, How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed, On my back’s a sixty pound stone, On my shoulder a half mile line”
Grateful Dead – Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodaloo.
“All you got to live for is what you left behind”
Sum 41 – In Too Deep.
“Cause I’m in too deep, and I’m trying to keep, Up above in my head, instead of going under”
Counting Crows – Round Here.
“And in between the moon and you, The angels get a better view, Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.”
Britney Spears – Stronger.
“Stronger, than yesterday, Now it’s nothing but my way, My loneliness ain’t killing me no more, I, I’m stronger”
Green Day – Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go. So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why. It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time”
Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days.
“Glory days, well they’ll pass you by. Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye. Glory days”
Steve Miller Band – Fly LIke An Eagle.
“I want to fly like an eagle, to the sea. Fly like an eagle, Let my spirit carry me. I want to fly (oh, yeah). Fly right into the future”
Bob Seger – Against The Wind.
“Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”
Counting Crows – Big Yellow Taxi.
“Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone”
Coldplay – The Scientist.
“Nobody said it was easy, It’s such a shame for us to part, Nobody said it was easy, No one ever said it would be this hard”
50 Cent – Hate It or Love It.
“Hate it or love it the underdog’s on top, And I’m gonna shine homie until my heart stop”
Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care of Our Own.
No caption necessary, song speaks for itself.
Notorious B.I.G. – Juicy.
“You know very well who you are, Don’t let em hold you down, reach for the stars”
Troy Ave – Doo Doo.
“To the people who thought I was gonna flop. Ya’ll a part of the reason I ain’t gonna stop. Against the odds, I went hard until I popped. Came from the bottom and now I’m standing on top”
Smash Mouth – All-Star.
“So much to do, so much to see, So what’s wrong with taking the back streets? You’ll never know if you don’t go, You’ll never shine if you don’t glow”
Green Day – Basket Case.
“Do you have the time, to listen to me whine, about nothing and everything, all at once. I am one of those, melodramatic fools, neurotic to the bone, no doubt about it.”
The Offspring – Self Esteem.
“The more you suffer, The more it shows you really care. Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah”
Eminem – Till I Collapse.
“Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength. And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up. And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.”
Rolling Stones – I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.
“Cause you see I’m on losing streak. I can’t get no, oh no no no. Hey hey hey, that’s what I say. I can’t get no, I can’t get no. I can’t get no satisfaction. No satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction”
Grateful Dead – Wharf Rat.
“But I’ll get back on my feet again someday, The good Lord willin’, if He says I may. I know that the life i’m livin’s no good, I’ll get a new start, live the life I should.”
Beatles – All You Need Is Love.
“There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done, Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung, Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game, It’s easy”
Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop.
“If you wake up and don’t want to smile, If it takes just a little while, Open your eyes and look at the day, You’ll see things in a different way.”
Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror.
“I’m Gonna Make A Change, For Once In My Life. It’s Gonna Feel Real Good, Gonna Make A Difference. Gonna Make It Right
Traveling Wilburys – Heading for the Light.
“Been close to the edge, hanging by my fingernails. I’ve rolled and I’ve tumbled through the roses and the thorns. And I couldn’t see the sign that warned me, I’m Heading for the light”
Marc Cohn – True Companion (sent on Jen/Josh wedding anniversary).
Guns N Roses – Patience.
“It’ll work itself out fine. All we need is just a little patience”
Beatles – Here Comes The Sun.
“Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun, and I say, It’s all right. It’s all right”
Counting Crows – A Long December (sent on December 1st, 3 weeks left of chemo).
“A long December and there’s reason to believe, Maybe this year will be better than the last”
Barenaked Ladies – One Week (sent with 1 week left of chemo).
No caption necessary
Bob Seger – Turn The Page.
“When you’re ridin’ sixteen hours, And there’s nothin’ much to do, And you don’t feel much like ridin’, You just wish the trip was through. Here I am, On the road again. There I am, Up on the stage. Here I go, Playin’ star again. There I go, Turn the page”
Bruce Springsteen – When You Need Me.
“When you need me call my name. ‘Cause without you my life just isn’t the same. ‘Cause when this world kicked me around. Baby, you picked me up off the ground. So if you need me I’ll be there”
Grateful Dead – One More Saturday Night (sent on last Saturday of treatment).
“Then God way up in heaven, for whatever it was worth, Thought He’d have a big old party, thought He’d call it planet Earth. Don’t worry about tomorrow, Lord, you’ll know it when it comes, When the rock and roll music meets the risin’ sun.”
Van Morrison – Days Like This.
“When you don’t need an answer there’ll be days like this. When you don’t meet a chancer there’ll be days like this . When all the parts of the puzzle start to look like they fit. Then I must remember there’ll be days like this.”
Jay Z – Young Forever.
“Fear not when, fear not why, Fear not much while were alive, Life is for living not living up tight”
Linkin Park – In The End (sent on day before last day treatment).
“Time is a valuable thing. Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day. The clock ticks life away.”
Semisonic – Closing Time (sent on last day of treatment).
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”