Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Songs for Lisa UPDATE...

UPDATE 2/25/08: All is well, all is well. Lisa had a tough Friday morning when the nurses/doctors screwed up her pain meds and she subsequently ended up locked out of getting any at all. My dad was there during the whole ordeal and contrary to his usual demur personality, became a little unglued at the nurses. I'm glad I wasn't there, because someone else would've been hurting as bad as Lisa. By the time we got into see her Friday night, she looked and felt great. It was hard to believe that she was that bad off only hours before. All weekend proved marked improvement each day. They're weaning her off the pain meds and hopefully she'll be home today with any luck.

There is a LONG road of challenges ahead for her and the rest of us. The doctors told her to go ahead and plan on being out of work the rest of the school year. They said chemo will make it impossible to be there regularly. That doesn't sit well with her at all. The reintroduction to food and eating is going to be tough. 3 months of bland puréed food followed by slow reintroduction to regular fare all the while she's starving and dreams of food at night.

All said and done, we're all grateful that she got through it in good order, and with the support of her man Merv and the rest of us she'll get through the next few months. Thanks for all the support and good vibes. Lisa is and the rest of us stand amazed at all of it.


Just to keep you up to date, I'll drop in my Dad's note from last night...

"It went almost exactly as the surgeon, Dr. Goza, had outlined for us on Tuesday. Couldn't do it with a laproscope, made a bigger incision, removed a baseball-sized tumor from the large intestine and an unspecified length of intestine, an unspecified number of lymph nodes, then reconnected the colon. No other organs affected. No cholostomy. Chemo with the previously advertised "kick ass" drugs to follow at some point.

The only thing different was that the post-op activity went from "get her up walking Thursday evening" to "have her sit in a chair and flex Thursday evening" to "we'll wait until Friday."

The iPod project is going well also. Mrs. Alva and I worked pretty late on it and have loaded every song you all have passed on to us. She'll be ripping and downloading throughout the day today. It's not too late if you think of one to add, so don't be shy. The plan is to wrap up last minute work on it, and go over and deliver it this evening (the new Nano is pretty awesome!).

For those interested, my brother Mathdude has posted as good a bio on Lisa as one could write (great job Bro).

Thanks again to all your efforts gang. Like I said, it matters.


Original Post:

I’ve been debating whether or not to blog about it ever since I was informed of the news not more than one short week ago, but I think I’ve come up with a reason to draft a post.

Following a failed treatment for a massive iron deficiency in her blood, my sister was sent for a CT scan of her abdomen. As happens a thousand times a day across the world over, doctors discovered a tumor in her colon. In a whirlwind of doctor visits over the past seven days, the doctors have elected to operate right away and she will have surgery tomorrow.

I could write paragraphs about the utter shitiness of getting news like this and how devastating this is for my family, her boyfriend, her friends, fellow teachers, and her students. I can assure you, all that you’ve heard about it is true.

Right now she is doing well and we are all feeling optimistic. The colon cancer survival rate is high due to the organ’s ability to contain it. So far, the doctors have found no traces or indications that it has spread to any of her other organs. She’ll have the tumor removed and do chemo therapy as soon as she recovers from the surgery.

Having a few survivors in our circle of friends and family has produced a metric ton of great advice. Keep it coming. I think the worst part for me personally is not being able to help, not being able to do something for her. Last night, Mrs. Alva came up with a brilliant idea, and as we discussed it over lunch today, I thought of a way the rest of you can help if you feel up to it.

We all know the awesome power of healing music can provide. My other sister works in a dialysis clinic and says that a popular thing amongst all her patients is to tune out to their iPods while getting their treatments. I’m certain it’s par for the course at chemo and radiation treatment centers too. My brother and sisters are going to get her an iPod and give it to her when she comes out of intensive care tomorrow, or more likely Friday. What I’d like to ask of you guys is to give me songs that you think we should load onto it. Whether you know her or not, you can be a big help to us. They can be inspirational, soothing, or whatever YOU think might help. Off the top of my head I can tell you she’s a big 80’s fan, hair metal, dance, new wave, but digs the Ramones too. Her tastes are pretty wide open. It would be awesome if I could set up an IDM created playlist for her. Hit me with as many suggestions as you can. I know Cup of Coffey can crank out a worthy list with her eyes closed, Jackson too. If you have original tracks just email them to me and I’ll ensure that they get loaded. If you feel like donating songs from iTunes, Amazon, etc… I’ll see to it that she gets it added to her account. In either case, I’ll make sure she knows which are from who.

Drop your ideas in the comment section or email me directly at Thanks in advance for anything you can suggest.

Fuck cancer!!!


At 7:40 PM, February 20, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

I'll be glad to! I helped with a similar playlist a month or so ago. I'll pull some titles together and come back to list them. I'll send you what you don't have.

I'm praying for your sister — and the rest of the De Milo clan.

At 7:42 PM, February 20, 2008, Blogger Mathdude said...

Excellent idea, bro. I'm sending you the Dollyrots' Because I'm Awesome to start with, and I'll meditate on others.

At 8:02 PM, February 20, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

Okay, here are some to get started. I'll send you every tune you don't have.

RE.M.: Walk Unafraid
Carole King: Beautiful
Me'shell Ndegeocello: God Shiva
Oasis: Live Forever
Johnny Nash: I Can See Clearly Now Tom Petty or Johnny Cash: I Won't Back Down

I'm also pulling songs with lots of energy.
Lucinda Williams: Like a Rose (may be too love-songy)
Nina Simone: Feeling Good
Bill Withers: Lovely Day
Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive (also have it by R.E.M. and Cake)
Van Halen: Jump (always gets me up)
Elvis Costello: Pump It Up

At 10:14 PM, February 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your song choices Beth. Let's keep Mathdude out of it though, Tony! He's likely to recommend a Wierd Al song. Do you know this Christmas I borrowed his ipod and he had a freakin' Weird Al song on there??? Coolmomma

At 11:27 PM, February 20, 2008, Blogger Beth said...

I left The Ramones for Mathdude's list ... but I would be wary of his other suggestions.

At 11:29 AM, February 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought of a few this am...
Chris Daughtry song-"Coming Home" it's pretty inspirational...
Keith Urban- Days Go By Somebody Like You
Once in a Lifetime -
Shine -
Michael Jackson has that newly released Thriller album....
George Michael's album, PRaying for Time-she has it and it's one of our favorites!


At 3:05 PM, February 21, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 3:10 PM, February 21, 2008, Blogger SpecialK said...

Okay, in no particular order and admittedly, all over the place. Candy Girl makes me think of Lisa and the others are ones I like and thought she might, too.

Candy Girl -- New Edition
Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008 with Akon -- Michael Jackson
Hot For Teacher -- Van Halen
Three Little Birds -- Bob Marley
Livin’ on a Prayer -- Bon Jovi
My Hero -- Foo Fighters
Our Lips Are Sealed -- The Go-Gos
Centerfold -- The J. Geils Band
Tricky -- Run DMC
Geek in the Pink -- Jason Mraz
Don’t Stop Believin’ -- Journey
Stronger -- Kanye West
Like a Prayer -- Madonna
Shadows of the Night -- Pat Benatar
Take Your Mama -- Scissor Sisters
Turning Japanese -- The Vapors
Bring Me to Life -- Evanescence
Cherry Bomb -- Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Brick House -- The Commodores
Sweet Emotion -- Aerosmith
Rapper’s Delight -- The Sugarhill Gang
White Lines -- Grandmaster Flash

At 4:10 PM, February 21, 2008, Blogger Tony Alva said...


You guys are AWESOME! Keep'em coming. She's going to LOVE this!

Thanks to all who have submitted thus far here and e-mail...

At 2:10 AM, February 22, 2008, Blogger Dave Cavalier said...

No great song ideas, but just a message of solidarity. My Mom had breast cancer 17 years ago and it really knocks you back for a loop. But Mrs. Misanthrope is one seriously tough lady and she beat it. I'm sure your sister will fight and win as well.

I'll be doubling my positive thinking program for Maggie to include your sister in the coming days.

At 10:11 AM, February 22, 2008, Blogger Mathdude said...

Mrs. Alva, please add "What a Wonderful World" and "Don't Worry About Me" by Joey Ramone. I know, I'm so predictable here. Also, if anyone has a message for Lisa, leave one here or on my blog of Lisa at Eating Chicken Vindaloo

At 10:42 AM, February 22, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Message to Mathdude:

Stop with the constant marketing of your new blog! OK? We get it! Mathdude found his voice. Congratulations-haha!

At 10:56 AM, February 22, 2008, Blogger Tony Alva said...

Coolmomma, Thank god he's too green at all this to use HTML tags in his comments here:-)

At 12:22 PM, March 06, 2008, Anonymous Busbee said...

Any Bob Marley works here.

Also, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the version by that fat Hawaiian with the ukelele(sampled in last decade).

At 2:24 PM, March 12, 2008, Blogger Ginormous Boobs said...

One of my best friends just got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week. She's got a tumor the size of a cantelope in her abdomen and they are doing surgery next week.

It's so scary. She's only 32 and her life has already changed dramatically.

We all feel helpless, but we're trying to keep her mind off things. We have named the tumor Gwyneth and are throwing it a goodbye party on Friday.


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