How non-binary singer-songwriter Rae Spoon faced cancer and fought the system

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On June 27, Spoon wrote of the doc on Facebook: “It’s nice to see some parts of me are elsewhere singing and hanging out with friends,” as if imagining a pre-cancer, pre-COVID, pre-breakup version of Rae Spoon still existed somewhere.

“When you are in that much pain, I think that’s normal,” says Spoon, in an interview with Postmedia from home in Victoria earlier this week. “You kind of lose perspective.”

“When you are fighting for your life, you don’t know who you are,” they add. “You’re just trying to get to the end.”

Imagining friends and family watching My Prairie Home in different parts of the world brought Spoon some peace, as did the “great reservoir of memories” they have amassed over more than 20 years of touring the country and beyond as an indie artist.

“It’s like: ‘Remember that time in Poland …?’ ” Spoon says with a laugh. “I have all these memories that really comforted me at that time. Because I didn’t know what it would look like going back to shows after. I didn’t have a plan. That’s different for me, I usually have a plan.”

After enduring daily external radiation treatments for eight weeks, four internal radiation sessions and five weekly doses of chemotherapy, Spoon was told the cancer is in remission and that oncologists “are not expecting me to live with cancer.” While Spoon is reluctant to use the word ‘lucky’ about any of this, they do say that they were fortunate the cancer was discovered when it was before it began to move into the lymph system. In their first interview since undergoing treatment, Spoon says they are making tentative plans again. That includes an online performance from their home Sept. 4 as part of CFMF at Pride, a two-hour, live-streamed program presented by the Calgary Folk Music Festival and Calgary Pride in honour of the latter’s 30th anniversary. It will be Spoon’s first performance since undergoing treatment.

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