By the time Bruce Springsteen sang it to us live at Madison Square Garden last night, it had become a not-so-private joke between us. So when Bruce sang the opening lines to “Out in the Street,” my brother, Scott, and I laughed and high-fived each other, acknowledging that it was the perfect ending to a magical weekend.
In September, when I posted my fundraising page for Friday night’s Kiss Cancer Goodbye party, Scott was the first one to buy tickets. He knew it was going to be a special night, not only to raise awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but to celebrate. See, today is my second anniversary in remission from Stage 3 non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an aggressive cancer that is most likely to return within two years in remission. Starting today, my odds of recurrence drop dramatically. And I wanted to celebrate it in a big way while helping out people who are still battling the disease.
When Scott bought his tickets, he filled out the “Note to the sponsor” field on my fundraiser page, not realizing that the note would then scroll on my fundraiser’s home page. Having just bought Springsteen concert tickets, he decided to quote one of Bruce’s songs in his note to me: “When I’m out in the street, I feel alright.” It scrolled, and it scrolled and it scrolled on my page.
As more people bought their tickets and filled in the “Note to the sponsor” field, the following scrolled on the page:
Wishing you all the best!
Can’t wait to celebrate life!
Congratulations on 2 years — you are an inspiration!
You go girl!
Great news. Hope next year makes 3 years!
And of course, “When I’m out in the street, I feel alright.” The best part? It included his name. Plus, it made me giggle every time I saw it.
It’s not that he didn’t want to celebrate life or wish for three years in remission. It’s that, after all we’ve endured in the past two-plus years, there’s nothing more to say to each other about what we went through. We both remember when he brought me dinner at the hospital from a fine restaurant because I couldn’t make our quarterly lunch. We know that he showed up in my hospital room at 7:30 one weekday morning with an iPod full of songs (yep, lots of Bruce) for me, braving rush hour traffic into New York City when he lives and works in New Jersey. We both remember when I played soccer with him and his men’s team barely a year into remission, not saying to each other how we thought I’d never be able to do that ever again.
Last night at the concert, when Springsteen played not only “Out in the Street,” but the entire album, “The River,” we couldn’t be happier. A man in one of the rows behind us shouted exactly what was on my mind: “It’s ‘The River,’ bro!”
When the concert ended, Scott and I dashed out the door and ran to his car in a parking garage two blocks away. As we dodged pedestrians and cars while people watched us run, laughing the whole way, I thought, You know, when I’m out in the street, I feel alright.
P.S. Everyone in our row couldn’t understand how this guy could sleep through parts of the concert. “How do you sleep at a Bruce concert?!” the guy next to me shouted, but the dozing dude kept on sleeping.
P.P.S. I’ll write about Kiss Cancer Goodbye later this week when I process it all. And snooze.