Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC
New Year’s Eve. Nineteen ninety one. I was at the Queensryche concert in Portland, Oregon. My last chemotherapy treatment was the day after Christmas. Those last few sessions, I would get nauseous on the way up the hill to Oregon Health & Science University. My body seemed to know the grade, the twists of that road, and begin to react, knowing what was in store.
For years, I would begin to get queasy any time I’d visit a friend at OHSU. The body remembers in a way different from the mind. It’s a physiologic, visceral memory. A confirmation that consciousness is not limited to the brain. To be human is to access our entire experience of mind, body and spirit.
It was the Operation: Livecrime tour. The last time Queensryche would play their epic storyboard, their master work of intricate, textured heavy metal, Operation: Mindcrime in all it’s glorious entirety for many, many years. I was still a bit uneasy from days of dry heaves and retching. That night, it didn’t matter. Queensryche was the headbanging frosting atop one hell of a year.
As I write, tears well and overflow. And, I can feel it. A whisper of that same feeling of chemotherapy in my body. That sting of poison in every cell. A part of me still knows those sensations that once turned a healthful eighteen year old punk kid into a little old man.
As Geoff Tate begins to coo…
All alone now
Except for the memories
Of what we had and what we knew
Every time I try to leave it behind me
I see something that reminds me of you…
Queensryche was part of my healing from cancer. That other side of surviving, beyond the medical procedures and doctor’s certainty. That New Year’s Eve concert instilled something in me; helped me take the most fucked up year of my very brief life and turn it back into something powerful, something meaningful.
Rock and roll will do that. Music has always been a source of transformation, of empowerment.
May the gods of metal smile upon you, dear friend. There’s a revolution calling.
Queensyche, in all of their rocking glory.
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