Thursday, July 4, 2013

Fuck Cancer (this time I mean it)


Jazz fest seasoned veterans Jim Quinn aka JQJQ, and Allan
with Pappy and MonkeyME

For the past 14 years, during the last weekend in June, we have been attending the Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York. This year was bitter sweet. It was my last hurrah before beginning my cancer treatment.

Jim Quinn, Allan and his crew - friends since grade school - have been attending the fest for over 30 years. We met them about 6 years ago when I spotted Allan's necklace - green Mardi Gras beads with a single wooden parrot earring hanging from the center. He wears that damn necklace every year.

The only present my father every picked out for me, was the exact same wooden parrot earrings that he bought at a sidewalk sale. What made his gift even more unique was that he deliberately avoided that sizzling summer, sidewalk sale and the crowds of impatient, impulsive shoppers that clogged otherwise unruffled streets.

I remember the smile on my fathers face as he handing me the earrings - tucked between layers of delicate, cloud-like, cotton fluff and encased in a small white box. "Open it," he ordered.

Every year, during spring cleaning, I search for those cherished, misplaced earrings. And at every fest, I try to talk Allan into giving me his. This year, I didn't try. Let's face it, I'm tired. This cancer crusade is exhausting and I was just happy to see them both, smiling.

And now, after one Jazz Fest, one colonoscopy, one endoscopic ultrasound, one sigmoid ultrascope, two CT scans, one PET scan, two biopsies, three MRI's and nine exams from four different hospitals, I am submitting myself, willingly, to the uncertainties of science. 

"You'll feel better once you have your plan in place," is advice seasoned cancer recipients will tell you (searching for a better word than "survivors" or "sufferers"). And it's true. For me, I didn't like any of the treatment options that were available until I discovered a study being conducted at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

I held off telling you about it until I knew I was accepted. Turns out, due to my past melanoma's, I wasn't. However, my timing turned out to be perfect. The FDA approved the study less than two weeks before I walked in the door, so it is now considered acceptable treatment for advanced rectal cancer. But there was still one more snag - would my insurance accept this treatment as standard care? Turns out they will.

Now, instead of the "standard pre-surgery treatment" which consists of 6 weeks of external radiation, 5 days a week, combined with chemotherapy, 24/7 for 6 weeks, I will be undergoing something called HDRBT - High Dose Rate Endorectal Brachytherapy.

After weeks of preliminary probing and prodding, I am back in Baltimore to begin my treatment. Yesterday was step one - the insertion of (sing it with me) FIVE GOLDEN SEEDS (followed by four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves and a ....). These seeds are placed around my tumor and will guide the radiation. I want to know if I get to keep the seeds. Maybe mold them into something resembling a parrot earring.

I slept for almost 24 hours after yesterday's procedure. Today is my day off. Tomorrow I undergo more scoping and an invasive simulation to prepare me for four consecutive days of intensive, internal radiation.

I do not use the term "invasive" lightly. This procedure will involve the insertion of a vessel the size of an EXTREMELY well endowed male appendage, up my ass, for three hours. (Yes, you read that correctly).

Because my circle of friends are rather eclectic, I understand that half of you are cringing in horror at the thought of it, while the other half are wide-eyed and salivating.

I will be awake during this procedure but I will be packing a double script of valium. Even so, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what I'm going to do during those three hours.

I'm told that while I'm lying there alone, with a non-vibrating vessel the size of a big mouth bass up my ass, I can listen to music.

So...what I need now is an UP MY ASS playlist. If you can each give me a tune, I won't feel so alone.

I'll be like, oh, Knocking on Heaven's Door, Froggy, suggested that. And then I'll think of Froggy's smiling face. Maybe I'll pretend to do a slow dance with Froggy. Maybe I'll imagine us laughing at how ridiculous this all is.

Thank you for loving me...

xo, MonkeyME

To get your very own FUCK CANCER shirt visit

For my complete cancer journey visit CATSTIR.


  1. Good afternoon, Sunshine...

    Here's my recommendation for your play list... a great Lucinda Williams song, "Can't Let Go"...

    I'm sure I will have others!!!

    You are in my thoughts...



    1. That is a great song, Shoes....

  2. I found two, one is a song I just love hearing, Her Favorite Song by Mayer Hawthorne, the other fit the situation and has a funky reggae beat, title: WIde Open by the Black Seeds.....

    Love you love you love you!!!!



  3. I'll be thinking of you, sending you happy and positive, positive and happy thoughts and prayers. Love You. And.....

    I immediately thought of Iggy Pop's "Butt Town" and Clair de Lune, which I just love, find so relaxing and transporting. You continue to amaze me MOnkey. xoxoxo & love MG's suggestions too. :)

    Dust Bunny

    1. "I immediately thought of Iggy Pop's "Butt Town..."


      Sorry... that just made me laugh...


  4. "Five Golden Seeds" made me laugh -- not one of my fave Xmas carols but it is now, if those five golden seeds pay off and help you beat this!

  5. I am really glad that you have a plan.
    Just pretend it's a giant thumb.
    Are you looking for music that isn't so exciting that you may clench?
    Here are a couple of suggestions:
    "Lemme borrow that top" - Kelly
    "War Pigs" - Ozzy (Burning Man unofficial song 2010)
    You could "practice" for your big day. That way it doesn't seem as much of a shock. It sounds funny, but it might help.
    Also, look into binaural beats. They will help you forget what's happening by mimicking your brainwaves. Seriously, check it out!
    Jesse Silver

    1. I'm looking for songs that make me think of YOU - each and everyone of you. I can't move my ass but I can move my head, hands and my toes :)

      "Let me borrow that top" hahahahahahahah!!!

  6. Elizabeth MartinJuly 4, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Hi Shannon,

    I love to read your blog posts, and this one prompted me to think of a tune for your playlist. How about something from the Eagles? Seven Bridges Road is one of my favorites - when you have time to really listen to it, the harmonies are amazing. Not a long song, but worth revisiting.
    BTW, George Weaver sends his best wishes, as well...

    Wishing you the very best, as always,
    Liz (Gerald) Martin

    1. "... the harmonies are amazing."

      For this song, this is an understatement!! Some of the best harmonies I've EVER heard!!!

      Great choice!!!


  7. Well, you're not leaving me much of my music collection left. Maybe Meredith Brooks's "Bitch"? No wait, that's 80's... *sigh*

    Gotta say though, don't know if I could listen to music while the lords were a' leaping in my ass...

  8. You mention the girth of this Wide Mouthed Bass (and yes, I'm cringing) but not how far it extends out. I envisioned something like "Jake The Peg" deedle, deedle, dum.
    I've always wondered if he was endowed with other extras, at the leg joints. Now I think there may be disadvantages to having two tails; thank christ you only have one!

  9. Shannon! I'm so sorry to read what you are about to go through. SO happy you are going to John Hopkins! Will be thinking of you.

    The first song that came to my mind is Janis Joplin's classic:

    The only line which ain't true is that YOU, dear Shannon, have lots of help from your friends!

  10. A giant appendage up your ass for 3 hours??? Can you kick the tech in the balls when you're done?

  11. I always liked the Humpty Dance.

    You're in my thoughts, as always, Monkey.

  12. Aloha Shannon,

    Try "It's Alright" (extended version 'cos you have 3 hours) by The Pet Shop Boys.

    You can't go wrong with that song.

    GOOD LUCK and hugs :)

  13. Hey Shannon--

    I have so been wondering how u have been doing. U have been in my thoughts a lot.

    I have to say Shannon the pic above is the best I've seen of u yet. U look youthful and at peace.

    I am not very good at coming up with songs. I suck in that area. But I will try to think of one especially for u. I hope I'm not too late with my suggestion to add to playlist.

    Lots of things change in a moment in time. I can attest to that with my own life happenings especially this last few months.

    Take care my friend. My thoughts and prayers are with u especially during this time period.

    What a story u will have to write these coming months.

  14. Martina McBride's "I'm Gonna Love U Thru It."

    She's country. Yikes. But I hope u like the song.

    However, I think the message in the song is important.

    "We will love u through it Shannon."

    1. you're not too late, I'm working on the list now :))))) Thanks for the song!

  15. Oh God you are funny.
    I guess I would listen to the soundtrack of Les Mis and rest in the thought they those people are not having fun either.
    ~Just Jill

  16. I hope I'm not too late!!

    "Havin' a bad day" by Blue Flannel is my favorite song to put on speaker in oncology... It makes me giggle (I'm crazy enough to sing out loud with it!) - you should add that! And - Joe Cocker, "with a little help from my friends"!

    Xoxo thinking of you.

  17. Dear Shannon,
    Hang in there Girl, you are in my thoughts and prayers, but besides that, music is great, don't get me wrong, but we got thru all those hours and hours of hospital stuff by listening to audio books, and a very very funny series of books are done by Janet Evanovich, and you can get them from the library.

    Give her a try if you can, and i guarantee, you'll be say'n..
    i want more..i want books that is.

    Again she is sooooo funny to listen to.

    Take Care

  18. I have tried twice to post here but my iPad just didn't want to do it. grrrr So I hope this still gets to you.
    I thought of The Eagles because their voices are just so soothing and easy to listen to. I see someone else had that thought too. So what about "Take It Easy" if you like that song. I am going to find it on YouTube and listen to it with good thoughts of you being well. And of course I send you LOTS MORE hugs.

    I think I must have known you in a past life because you just seem so familiar to me for some reason. We'll meet again someday, I am sure. You are brave and strong and when you don't feel that way, we will all lift you up. xoxo

  19. You make me laugh out loud! Okay the mouth on that bass is scary, but here is why, we just returned from Alaska and I bought a stain glass of a bass that looks JUST like the one in your post! Yikes. Looking at that every day in my kitchen window will make me clinch, but ALSO remind me of you! Ny musical taste might not be a fit, but I love everything by Eva Cassidy. Her rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow sends chills down my spine. Also, Time is a Healer and What a wonderful World are beautiful. She has one album from Blues Alley with Chuck Brown that is awesome. I just read more of her story and she was at John Hopkins too, so see if her deep, clear, powerful voice resonates with you! I am sending you healing energy.

    My Best, Lindsey

  20. I'm glad I made you laugh Lindsey. I try the same thing with the doctors otherwise, I'm completely humiliated. If this makes it any better turns out the vessel was longer than a bass but not as wide. Eva Cassidy's voice is haunting, I've heard her version of somewhere over the rainbow. It's beautiful! will read more of her story now

    1. I didn't know she died. fuck cancer! it makes me so mad.

  21. Two words, my friend: Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. (

    Might as well tap your toes while you are fightin'....

    "Hottest b*tch in this place....."

  22. DANG, Girl... I'd be saying FUCK IT too! You have been through so much crap with the big C. Time for you to blast it out of your body for good this time. I'll see what I can come up with for a song. XOX

  23. Oh, for a song I like 'It's All Together Now' by Patrick and Eugene... you can hear it here on my 4th of July video. It's fun music!!

  24. Can't believe nobody suggested Eddie Murphy's "Boogie in Your Butt"

  25. Been hopping lately. Sorry I'm out of the loop. Just did an article about a cancer 3D shoot we do every year and thought of you. If you want to know what a three D shoot is you have to read it. What's this shit about cancer again. I told you to knock it off. The seed works great, at least on prostrate cancer. Sorry for the neglect. I'll pop in more often now that I can write. The rotator cuff crap wouldn't let me write much for a while. Love you; Dan

  26. Oh. Fat bottom girls make the world go round. (not that yours is fat) just saying.

  27. Oh IMA gonna make you a playlist!

    Moonlight in Vermont
    Waterloo sunset
    Lennons watching the wheels, and imagine
    You'll never walk alone
    Hawaiian!!! Kalamaula
    Brothers Cazimero
    Is did you ever know your my hero?/ wind beneath my wings

    Love YOU dear monkey of evergreen!!!:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)


  28. Visiting from Denise at Autumn Sky Ranch -- my mom is a breast and colon cancer survivor and she's 84 this year. Like I told her -- you can do this! Big hugs from Nebraska. xo

  29. Oh, I love the song, "Fat Bottom Girls"! I read this blog post much earlier today and have been trying to come up with some fantastic songs for you....obviously I haven't been successful yet. Sending you hugs and love, Shannon!

  30. Oh my--

    I just listened to Eva Cassidy for the first time. I love her music. "Fallen Leaves" is now a favorite of mine.

    I was driving in a blinding thunderstorm here in Memphis on Friday on my way to Coffeehouse and u popped into my mind and the day we will finally meet in New Orleans. I believe it Shannon. I believe we will meet in person one day.

    Joyfully thoughts my friend. Think joyfully uplifting thoughts throughout this process and pain. U are loved by many.


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison