Music vs. Cancer: The Definitive F*ck Cancer Playlist.


{Via Tumblr}

By Caitlin Marcoux & Doug Cote.

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ~ Bob Marley
Cancer: It’s an opportunity. It’s a gift. It’s a chance to expand your capacity to love, to open your heart, to be grateful for every second, for every single breath you take.

It’s a time to reconnect to friends and family, to hold them close and love them up. It’s a reason to fight. It’s a call to battle, to find your true self, to re-prioritize, to set goals and design your life.

It’s all that and so much more… and yet sometimes Cancer just sucks.

We know. We’ve been there, and we’re here to remind you that every once in a while it’s okay, no; it’s important,  to call a spade a spade.

Sure, that badass, keep-your-chin-up, take-no-prisoners, glass-half-full positive attitude you’re rockin’ is going to take you really far. Those rose colored glasses will help you see through some of the worst.

But for the times when Cancer gets you down, (and there will be times) we want you to know that’s okay too, that you feel like shit. For moments like those we think you need a really great playlist; one that says: “Fuck you, Cancer!”

This playlist encourages you to let it all hang out: the raw disappointment, the resentment, the grief, the anger and the anguish. We think you have a right to all those feelings. Some of this music will help you go there, and then, it will bring you back. Some of these songs will buoy you up, give you hope, and shine a light in the darkness.

Maybe within this list you’ll find your battle cry, your call to arms, or your plan of attack. Maybe you listen to it before surgery or during chemo. By the time you get to the end, we hope you will feel calm. The last track is healing and meant to bring you peace.

Doug and I worked on this playlist together. We know music is subjective and that not all the songs will appeal to everyone, but in the least we hope these songs will help you to feel connected.

This is a playlist made by people with cancer for people with cancer. We hope it bonds you to the others who’ve walked this path before you and to all those who will follow in your footsteps.

We want you to know you we’ve got your back.



Caitlin & Doug

“Music is the shorthand of emotion.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

headphone love

Music vs. Cancer: The Playlist

“Go Through It” by Griffin House

“One By One” by Billy Bragg & Wilco

“I Don’t Care If There’s Cursing” by Phosphorescent

“The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1” by Neutral Milk Hotel

“Reckoning Song (One Day)” by Asaf Avidan & The Mojos

“Someday Baby” by R.L. Burnside

“Cleaning Up My Mess” by Blank Realm

“Long Time” by Deer Tick

“Skin and Bone” by Heartless Bastards

“Demon To Lean On” by Wavves

“This Summer” by Superchunk

“Roar” by Katy Perry

“Byegone” by Volcano Choir

“One Day / Reckoning Song (Wankelmut Remix)” by Asaf Avidan & The Mojos

“Metal & Dust” by London Grammar

“Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard

“Orange Sky” by Alexi Murdoch

“You Are Not Alone” by Mavis Staples


“Vandita’s Song: Ram Chant to Soothe Your Soul” by Vandita

“Music… can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” ~ Leonard Bernstein



Doug’s Story.
Doug Cote

{Photo: Janette Vohs / Doug Cote}

“You can’t always get what you want, But if you try sometimes  you might find, you get what you Need” ~ Mick Jagger
I didn’t get what I wanted. Instead, I got CANCER. Moreover, I didn’t get what I needed. Or maybe I did?

A quick rewind to last fall, I was feeling like the Exorcist girl — at least that’s how I envisioned what was going on in my throat. My doctors told me it was just a virus, but as Christmas passed I could tell there was something else going on in my throat.

I actually remember thinking ‘what if it’s cancer?’ By this time I was clicking on Web MD like a porn addict. My anxiety was crushing me.

My singing started to suffer. I went to a throat specialist who began treating me for Acid-Reflux (Michael Pitman- Google him if you are a singer with throat issues). I started to feel like I was on acid, only that it was a very bad trip.

I remember waiting to play a show in Brooklyn and thinking  “I can’t do it, I feel so fucking sick!” I told my band mates I couldn’t play and left the show. I had never ever given up like that before in my life! So the next time I saw my throat doctor, I forced him to feel the lymph nodes on my neck. He took one feel and said, “Um Yea.. We should get a scan of that ASAP.”

Jump-Cut to the exciting world of Papillary Thyroid Cancer and a Thyroidectomy. The Larry David in me was like ‘FINNNALLY I got Cancer, It only took 39 years!’

Nonetheless, I had my thyroid removed on March 20th, 2013 and I as I type this, I am cancer free.

Here’s the rub: for me post-cancer life has been a little rough. My brain can flood with depression, anxiety and all kinds of crazy emotions. I had prepared my self for the surgery and the physical recovery, but not the mental tax, which has turned out to be way heavier than I expected. I have found myself at times I’ve been consumed with anxiety.

One particular panic attack had me outside my girlfriend’s house at 1 a.m., pacing, thinking to myself that I was gonna have to go the hospital. Luckily, I was able to calm my self down with pranayama.

My thoughts would race: Did they miss something? Would I be the guy that slipped through the cracks? Every odd feeling in my body freaked me out. Even a weird fart would get my mind racing.  I’d get weirded out when hearing about other people’s cancer stories. Hearing other people’s stories gave me anxiety about my own story.

I didn’t have to do chemo, just radiation pills. So when you look at other cancer treatment options, mine looks like a beach day. That being said all of us, cancer survivors, are still left with scars weather you like it or not. It’s just something you learn to deal with, ’cause you have no choice. I consider myself lucky, very lucky, when I look at spectrum of cancers one can get.

For me, thyroid cancer was a storm that ripped through me for four months. Then it was gone as fast as it came, but I have this huge scare around my neck to remind me of my experience.

I’ve changed because of cancer. It takes something away from you but I’m still not sure what exactly it is. I still have some anxiety, but plenty of song fodder. In a weird way maybe I did get what I needed… Nah, Mick Jagger is full of shit, and cancer sucks!


About Doug:

Doug Cote is a professional musician and actor who splits his time between his home in the NYC and Nantucket Island. He is the founder of the New York City based Quirk-Rock band The Sweet Ones, and half of the dynamic duo, Lance Mountain which gigs throughout the summer at Cisco Brewers in Nantucket, MA. Doug can also be seen in numerous national commercials. You can find The Sweet Ones on Twitter, and Lance Mountain on Vimeo. Doug was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer January 2013.



Caitlin’s Story.
{photo: Burr Tupper / Caitlin Marcoux}

{photo: Burr Tupper / Caitlin Marcoux}


I’ve been at this cancer thing for a while now, but today is my first day guzzling down The Red Devil. 

For breakfast I’m having my port flushed with a side of blood work. For lunch I’ll be returning to the hospital for a hearty infusion of chemotherapy (adriamycin/cytoxan). Between meals, I’m going for a mani-pedi, because in this battle, I am the hero and she has nice nails. For dinner I’m having a robust pairing of anti-nausea meds and a side salad of ativan.

By this afternoon, I will have had some variation of this meal 15 times and while it’s not my favorite, my appetite for survival has grown stronger and stronger. Call me insatiable. I’ve got 9 more months of chemo, preventative targeted therapy and hormone treatments to go, but who’s counting, right? I get to live.

I’ve been a music fanatic since birth. For me, music makes even the most difficult to swallow pill more palatiable.

My fight with breast cancer has had a soundtrack. More than a few times, a song or two has gotten me through this disease. I hope the playlist above will bring you some comfort.

Rock on my friends.

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
   The appetite may sicken, and so die.”  

~ William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night



{Sing me your song.}

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Caitlin Marcoux
Caitlin Marcoux is a mother, yoga teacher, writer, massage therapist and cancer survivor. She lives on the tiny Island of Nantucket, MA, year-round with her partner and her 4-year-old satguru Griffin, where she is an advocate of prenatal yoga, midwifery, elegant tattoos, rockin’ music, and living mindfully. Caitlin is the creator of Strong Girls Yoga, and teaches a variety of regularly scheduled classes at The Yoga Room. A former modern dancer, she fuses her passion for music and dance with yoga, keeping her flow creative, playful and fresh. Caitlin has written for Rebelle Society, and blogs about her practice on and off the mat regularly. A stand up paddle enthusiast, Caitlin recently took her yoga practice off the mat and onto the water; opening Nantucket SUP Yoga in June. She is currently working on a memoir about using yoga to navigating breast cancer. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


  • dina commented on August 21, 2013 Reply
    i just love this…..:) thanks to the both of you!
    • Caitlin Marcoux (@Nantucketyogini) commented on August 21, 2013 Reply
      Thanks for checking us out Dina. And by all means if you have some suggestion…..please share! I was hoping this piece would inspire a collaborative effort!
  • Chris Collins commented on August 21, 2013 Reply
    “You’re not alone” is an utterly amazing song. It’s astonishing. Have you listened to Joey Ramone’s version of “what a wonderful world” yet? I’ll post a link when I’m not on my phone
  • Christian Ryd Høgsberg commented on August 22, 2013 Reply
    Thanks a lot for sharing :) Awesome playlist and article.
  • Caitlin Marcoux (@Nantucketyogini) commented on August 22, 2013 Reply
    Hey Friends & Music Lovers, got suggestions for our Music vs. Cancer Playlist? We’d be happy to head back from you. Keep your contributions coming, we can always follow this list up with a Part Two!
  • Karen commented on September 25, 2013 Reply
    I listened to Ain’t My Stop by The Weeks over and over again.

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