Lisa Reisman

5 Months 10 Years 2 hours

2015 Santa Fe Writers Project Award Winner

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"Those in search of another treacly cancer memoir need not even glance at this... Reisman's unflinching and moving tale puts to rest the image of patient as warrior. By linking her own ordeal to the triathlon she took on to mark her 10 year anniversaryshe reveals the true nature of cancer survival — not as a triumph of epic valor, but as a feat of endurance, forbearance and true grit."

—Lisa Sanders, MD, New York Times columnist and fellow cancer survivor

Halloween, the Sin Sisters Band, and Me

The Sin Sisters Band, which I’ve “managed” for the last four years—I insert quotes because its members cannot be managed—has thrown a Halloween Party each of the last two years. This year will be no different.

I love this event for a host of reasons. For one, this is one party where everyone really cuts loose; it’s our party, after all, we produce it, so no one is saying when or which songs or how long or what to wear. Which allows for band members to be dressed like this.

The inaugural Halloween Party, in 2013, celebrated the Sin Sisters 25 years together; they met at Sacred Heart Academy, an all-girls Catholic school in Hamden, the story goes. 

We decked out the place with skeletons and broomsticks and pumpkins and other spooky-looking paraphernalia, as well as pictures of the Sin Sisters through the years. (The three Sin Sisters are wonderfully adept at interior decoration. Two of the three are also pack rats.)

It was wild. At one point in the spacious event facility where it was held, you couldn’t move. That’s how thick with people it was. There was shouting and laughter and tears and a lot of dancing. A lot. It was fun. It was magical. We believed it could not be topped.

We were mistaken. Which brings me to the another reason for my love of the annual party. The sheer creativity of the costumes. Feel your jaw drop as you check this out.

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When the robot in the middle walked in—by the time this photo was snapped, he had separated himself from his robot outerwear and was boogie-ing on the dance floor—the crowd parted like the Red Sea. Everyone was awestruck, including Sin Sister Kathy (left), who’s dressed up as Miss Read and Sin Sister Patti, as Miss Demeanor. That’s why we give out prizes. It injects a little incentive for the Sinsisterheads to go all out.

Last year was a particularly memorable Halloween party for me. My little sister’s health had been declining for months so I was conflicted about attending; it seemed wrong to be joyously dancing when she was suffering.

Then again, there was no need to be at her bedside that night; she was heavily sedated and, what's more, had an aide attending her. And I was the band’s manager, or manager of the unmanageable, and I was tasked with collecting tickets at the door.

It wasn’t a job that could easily be outsourced: it involved not just taking tickets and giving change but ensuring no miscreant stole in through the bar. Someone else might not be so gung-ho at preventing this almost certain eventuality. To be perfectly honest, I was nervous about trusting anyone else to do it.

So I went. And, lucky for me, my mother agreed to go as well. Here we are posing while taking a break from collecting tickets.

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And lucky for us, it was just the distraction we needed to take our minds--at least for a few hours--off my little sister.  

So there you have another reason that I love this event—and this band. Being around them—hearing their lively, make-you-dance-like-nobody’s-watching music—just makes everything seem alright.