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Our Family’s Breast Cancer Journey in Pictures, Music and Musings

Posted on October 14, 2014, 5:00 AM

Singer-songwriters and husband and wife team Deb Talan and Steve Tannen make up the indie pop-folk duo, The Weepies. They have three sons: six-year old Theo, three-year old Alexander, and two-year-old Nico. When Deb was diagnosed with breast cancer, the family faced her diagnosis as a united front with love, positivity, and the power of song.

How did music help shape your family?
We heard each other’s music before we met.  Then we fell in love while writing, playing music and touring together.  Now we homeschool but also work at home, so our kids are raised around music writing sessions and in the studio.  We also take the whole family on tour.

This is an older song of Deb’s and one our first collaborations.

When you found out Deb had breast cancer, what was your initial reaction and how did you approach the ordeal?
It was a nightmare and we were terrified, but we approached it with as much “one foot in front of the other” attitude as we could.  We got educated and got allies as soon as possible.  We showed up to doctor’s appointments. We called friends.  We listened a lot.  There were a couple hard choices at the beginning – what kind of treatment and where - and then there’s not much to do but walk through it.

Theo offered to help Mom cut off all of her hair ‘so it wouldn’t come out weird.’

How has your experience changed your outlook or what has been your biggest take away?
Learn to ask for help.  And take it. It was hard.  We asked, and a lot of people helped, and that got us through. Everyone wants you to beat it, and there’s a huge community dedicated to helping you do just that.

Alexander operates the MRI that he and Theo built so Mom wouldn’t be scared getting an MRI.

How has music acted as an empowering, healing, or cathartic tool during Deb’s diagnosis, treatment?
We made a record.  Continuing to connect with how and why we make music grounded us throughout the year.  The new music will be out pretty soon!

What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Exhaustion. We feel incredibly lucky we had such support.

Deb leads yoga with the older boys.

Describe your family motto.
“You turn me into somebody loved.”  Although our eldest son Theo says it’s “Don’t crack your head open.”

This is an early song we wrote together that stuck with us this year.


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