The Lady Gaga Song That Reflects My Experiences With My Mom’s Cancer
As a fan of Lady Gaga, I was excited to hear she debuted a new song during her recent Coachella festival performance. When I heard “The Cure” for the first time, it sent chills up and down my spine. I was moved to tears. It reflected my how I felt and what I experienced with my mom’s cancer.
In the first and second verses, Lady Gaga sings about helping someone she loves, as she can, whether it’s by helping them undress — “…’cause you’re tired,” or “Rub[bing] your feet, your hands, your legs.” There have been times when Mom is so tired, or ill, that I’ve helped dress her and given her massages to help ease her pain. During the times when I struggled with my fibromyalgia, Mom would help me dress and rub my back. But, unlike my situation, in which my pain comes and goes, she continually struggles with her cancer and the limitations it puts on her.
Lady Gaga goes on to sing that she “May not have the fancy things. But I’ll give you everything…” As much as I would want to give Mom everything she needs, I know I can’t. There are so many out-of-pocket expenses for cancer that are not covered by the insurance, medicine co-pays, specialist co-pays, doctors/specialist who don’t take our insurance, medical supplies/supplements, groceries, orthopedic clothing, transportation, etc. While our family can generally cover her basic needs, there is still so much she still needs. It breaks my heart knowing that can’t be provided for her.
During the pre-chorus, Lady Gaga repeats the promise that she will give everything for the person she loves who is in need. She also promises, “I will be right by your side.” Though many people are affected by cancer, it still can feel isolating for the patients. No two people have the same experience, regardless if they have the same stage and type of cancer. But it can be difficult to cope with daily. Going through surgery, radiation treatment, and other medical testing can feel isolating and exhausting for Mom. I try to remind Mom that I’m here to help her, as much as she helped me when I was ill.
To me, the most powerful part of “The Cure” is the chorus. “If I can’t find the cure, I’ll, I’ll fix you with my love. No matter what you know, I’ll, I’ll fix you with my love. And if you say you’re OK, I’m gonna heal you anyway.”
I wish I could fix Mom with my love, too. I would give all the love in my heart to heal her. One of the hardest realities of coping with Mom’s cancer is knowing my love alone isn’t enough to fix her. It’s hard to put trust in treatments that can both help control cancer, but also cause short- and long-term collateral damage. Mom needs them to survive. I must remind myself to accept this reality. For now, the best way I can help Mom is to keep telling and showing her that I love her and help her with the slightest request of help.
There have also been times when Mom has tried not to worry me. She has told me she was OK, although I can clearly see that she wasn’t OK. When Mom was first diagnosed with her rare cancer, and low survival rate, Mom told me the tumor wasn’t cancerous. It was just a mass that was going to be removed. No big deal. At first, I was upset at her for not telling me the truth. But I realized Mom was simply trying not to scare me. As difficult as it has been to cope with the reality of the cancer, I want to keep fighting by her side.
When I shared “The Cure” with Mom, I told her it reminded me of her. Mom cried as she heard the song. It seemed like she struggled to speak as she shared, “What a deep and touching song… Lady Gaga is such a uniquely talented singer that can so easily express deep feeling, so beautifully… She must have given so much of herself, for someone that she loved, that had been very ill.”
Cancer has helped me to both appreciate Mom’s sacrifices and accept that life is a gift. I’m grateful I still have time with Mom. I realize that someday I will have to say goodbye. But I just don’t want it to be now. I still need Mom.
Editor’s note: This story has been published with the permission of the author’s mother.
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Photo source: Lady Gaga’s Facebook page