For a patient facing the long, tough road of living with a chronic illness, it takes a variety of therapies to help an individual feel better in body, mind and spirit.
Iyana, 14, experiences severe pain in her back, shoulders and extremities due to her sickle cell disease. Once a month, she spends an entire day in the hospital clinic receiving a blood transfusion, which she describes as “a lifesaver.” Her illness has kept her from playing sports (due to joint pain) and has caused her to miss family birthdays and holidays due to sudden, frequent hospital stays. Last year, she almost missed Christmas when inflammation in her lungs sent her to the PICU.
“During our session, however, we focused more on the things Iyana enjoys and the things she is able to do,” writes Kids Rock Cancer senior music therapist Tracie Sandheinrich. “A songwriting session really can make all the difference. For a while, she wasn’t focusing on her transfusion, or the limitations she faces due to her disease. She was composing, she was singing, she was recording — and most of all, she was having a really good time! She was a little shy at first, but her face just glowed as she recorded each lyric. This was Iyana’s time to shine.”
Iyana’s song, “Good Time,” is a fun and upbeat song about shopping with her friends — after all, a little retail therapy can be helpful, too!
“Writing this song gave Iyana a chance to pass the time in the hospital and to keep her mind off her transfusion,” Tracie writes. “It gave her a chance to be silly, to feel confident and to create a song she can sing forever.”
Adds Iyana’s mother: “I hope people can be more sensitive to all types of diseases. Just because people can’t see that my daughter is sick on the outside, doesn’t mean she isn’t battling pain on the inside.”