Friday, October 3, 2014

Music Therapy at its finest...i.e., Willie Nelson's voice soothed my momma, when morphine failed her.

My mom's name was Luella Dugas Chambers.  She developed breast cancer in the late 1970s, back when a radical mastectomy and radiation were standard of care.  She had 13 cancer-free years before the cancer returned, with a vengeance.  Before all was said and done, she had cancer in her bones and lungs, and had withstood 6 years of pharmaceutical and intravenous chemotherapies...and spent many, many days in excruciating pain.  She died in 1996.  

My dad was her primary caregiver.  He did a magnificent job, preparing her meals and cleaning house and getting her to the doctor and just being there.  They were married for 53 years before she died.  

I would go to the house every day from 9:00am until noon to sit with my mom, and give my dad a much-needed break.  Sometimes he worked in his garden.  Sometimes he ran errands.  Sometimes he sat and played solitaire.  All the while, he allowed me a chance to spend quality time with my mom, my best friend and my hero.  

I never dreamt that I would find myself putting a drop of morphine on my momma's tongue at 9:00am and trying to entertain her until she could have more, in 3 hours.  That morphine did NOTHING for my momma.  It broke my heart!  By 9:10am, she would ask me if it was time for more medicine.  After the first couple of days, I was determined to find some way to alleviate some of the pain that accompanied her bone cancer!  Enter Willie Nelson (her favorite country singer) and two of his pop standards albums, Stardust and Moonlight Becomes You

I don't know what we would have done without Willie.  In truth, as soon as the music started, she smiled and sang and told me stories of: dances and moonlight walks; how she and my dad met; how during WWII she was appointed football coach at the high school where she taught, because the coach had been called to serve our country; and so many, many more!  The stories FLOWED as Willie sang those songs of her youth.

Those times I spent with my mom and Willie were nothing short of life-changing, for me and for my mom.  After my mom passed away, and I successfully waged my own war against breast cancer, I found myself working as a musician in the Baton Rouge, LA area. I  ultimately began working as a music therapy facilitator, for children with speech and learning delays, and for Alzheimer's patients.  What a beautiful gift to offer to people who are struggling...MUSIC! 

I wrote the song Momma 'n Willie 'n Me to commemorate the power of MUSIC THERAPY!  The morphine did not alleviate any of my mom's pain, but Willie did.  I would be honored to have you watch the video, listen to the lyrics, and spread the word about the magical power of music!

Thank you, as always, for reading and for listening, and for passing this on, if the information might benefit someone you know who is struggling.  

Until next blog post, peace and love to you.