Nightbirde Turns to Fans & Music During Cancer
- Former America’s Got Talent contestant, Nightbirde, 30, asked fans to help her create a “sad song playlist” because she was feeling down during her cancer battle.
- In 2019, Nightbirde was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer; her cancer battle began in 2017 when a 4-centimeter tumor was discovered on her breast.
- Leaning on support from your community during a cancer battle is a great way to cope with difficult emotions and feelings of overwhelm; don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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Speaking to followers via a video, she says, “Hi everybody. Um, I think today we’re going to do a fun activity, and we’re going to make a big collaborative playlist together for the ‘Sick and Sad’ club. Because the holidays can be really hard when you’re expected to be super cheery all the time and you just can’t be a pull off sunshine every day. It’s not normal and it’s not healthy.”
As Nightbirde notes, it’s not healthy to push your sad feelings down and deny them, in favor of being positive and upbeat. While there are documented benefits to having an optimistic outlook, it’s also equally important to feel all of your feelings, especially through a health battle like cancer. It’s important to do it for your mental health.
Nightbirde’s Cancer Battle
Earlier this year, Nightbirde appeared on America’s Got Talent and stole the hearts of viewers and judges, including the typically icy Simon Cowell.
Nightbirde shared that her breast cancer had spread to her liver and her lungs. Her battle began in 2017 when a 4-centimeter tumor was discovered on her breast. She underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy for treatment.
And in 2019, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer on New Year’s Eve. Her doctors discovered multiple tumors on her liver, lungs, lymph nodes, ribs, and spine. She was told that she had three to six months to live but she surprised doctors with her strength and endurance amid treatment.
Metastatic breast cancer treatment options include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drugs. Sometimes, radiation or surgery might also be considered at this stage.
Nightbirde recently shared that some of her tumors have miraculously shrunk.
Comfort in Community Through Cancer
Nightbirde has a beautiful bond with her fans and followers and regularly communicates with them through social media. We love how she asks for their help to create a playlist as she wrestles with some sad and difficult emotions through cancer.
Beverly Reeves, who battled ovarian cancer, explained to SurvivorNet in an earlier interview how important community and support are when battling cancer. In fact, it’s her first piece of advice to someone diagnosed with cancer: Gather your community; circle the wagons, so to speak. She says, “If I had one piece of advice for someone who had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it would be to get a strong support group together.”
“Get your close friends. If you’re connected to a faith community, get your faith community. Get your family. Let them know what’s going on and let them help you. And sometimes that’s the most difficult thing to do, but just know that they are there. If they love you, they’re there to help you.”
Keeping a Positive Attitude During the Holiday Season
Nightbirde references how difficult the holidays can be for people battling cancer. In a previous interview, clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin explains that the holidays can be more intense that other times of the year.
The holiday season has a way of marking the time in our lives, Dr. Strongin says. So what if you’re having a hard time remaining positive during this season that’s supposed to be filled with so much joy?
“For patients who are going through a difficult moment, it becomes a real lens into what’s happening for them because they can remember the holidays the year before or even the year before that,” Dr. Strongin says. “And it becomes a sense of reality when they know that this is going to be the year that’s marked by this (a cancer battle or diagnosis).”
If you find that you identify with what Dr. Strongin is saying, she tells us that she has a challenge for you this holiday season: “I really challenged (cancer patients) to kind of take this holiday as it is, to find the joy in it, to find ways to accept the reality of where they are in this time and space.”
The holiday season can create challenges for people fighting cancer, says Dr. Marianna Strongin