ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are some forms of medicine no doctor can prescribe. Just ask breast cancer survivor Patti Brigham.
"It wasn't on the prescription pad, I'm guessing, anything about Led Zeppelin?," I asked Patti while sitting in her living room for an interview in late January.
"No, it wasn't!" she said with a laugh.
When Patti was diagnosed with breast cancer around Valentine's Day 2017, she figured she had a rough road ahead. She first suspected trouble by doing what First Coast News anchor Jeannie Blaylock has been urging with her "Buddy Check" campaign since its inception in 1992.
"I found a lump during a self-exam," she said.
But it would prove worse. A second lump would be discovered by her doctor. Despite no known cancer in her family history and no BRCA predisposition indicated by her genes, Patti learned that her cancer was not only "luck of the draw," as she put it, the form she had was aggressive.
"Fortunately we did catch it early, so my prognosis was very good," she said. "But I'm not going to lie to you, chemotherapy was rough."
Her battery of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy, lasted from March through July 2017. As is typical, she lost her hair, but she didn't lose her smile. She also found pleasant distraction, devotion, and an unquantifiable degree of deliverance when she discovered an old love.
"I'm not sure what it was - one night I was staying up late," she said. "I had my laptop and I just saw some YouTube videos, and I thought I'd watch some Led Zeppelin music."
Patti, now in her 60s, had been a fan since young adulthood, but not quite like this.
"I always loved the music," she said, "but it reverberated through me in a way that it never had. And I really wondered what this was all about."
Patti found herself immersed.
"I found myself, night after night, staying up late watching these old concerts. I discovered all these videos I didn't know, I'd never seen."
Patti began to realize that her love for Led Zeppelin was old and new at the same time.
"I think part of me, it was subconscious, I was in mourning for that young woman that I was," she said, comforted that despite the members' ages - currently ranging from 69 to 74 - Led Zeppelin didn't seem like an old band trying to be young again.
"That was just really special to me, that they are older too and they still are embracing the beauty that they brought the world."
"And then as I watched the videos more I found out, well, you know, something is lost, sure. I'm getting older and I've had cancer, but that person I was is still inside of me," she said with affirmation.
Patti also found herself rediscovering songs and reordering her favorites compared to her younger years. Her updated list of preferred Zeppelin tracks spans the band's chronological catalog, including "What Is And What Should Never Be" from 1969 release "Led Zeppelin II," "The Immigrant Song" and "Celebration Day" from the following album in 1970, "Nobody's Fault But Mine" from 1976 effort "Presence," and "In The Evening" from 1979's "In Through The Out Door," Zeppelin's final release before disbanding at the death of drummer John Bonham.
"I think [guitarist] Jimmy Page refers to [Zeppelin's music] as light and shade," Patti cited, "which is a wonderful way of putting it."
But some old favorites have held their charm, she noted, specifically naming blues remake "When The Levee Breaks," which Zeppelin included along with "Stairway To Heaven" on its fourth album in 1971.
"There's something powerful about that song that they capture," she said of the tune's driving rhythmic force, "that just is relentless."
To her own surprise, during the months of her treatment Patti found the music to be transformative.
"I didn't think about time, I didn’t think about the past, I didn’t think about my illnesses," she said, musingly. "I didn’t think about my next treatment, I didn’t think about anything. I just let the music fill me."
Of all the music, one particular track would emerge as her anthem.
"I would say that the side that is most definitive of me is 'Ramble On,' because that’s what you have to do, right?"
The song "Ramble On," from Led Zeppelin II, reacquainted Patti with her own nature.
"You feel so alive!," she said of its effect while watching a live version on DVD. "You keep moving. That's what this song is all about."
Despite the palliative effect, Patti said she began to wonder whether her fixation was healthy.
"At some point I thought 'There's something wrong with me! I'm watching all these old videos!'," she laughed.
But loved ones encouraged her to keep it up.
"Whatever makes you feel good, whatever gives you power, then just keep playing it and play a lot of it!," close friend Shawn Bartelt recalled of her response to Patti's apprehension. "We've driven on many trips in the car, to Tallahassee and elsewhere," Bartelt said. "and her playlists are incredible."
"[Her cancer] was hard because Patti is just this incredibly vibrant, active, engaged person," Bartelt described. "So when she said Led Zeppelin, I'm like, 'Yes!', because the music was perfect."
Even if the music itself was a little bit lost on Patti's husband Bob, he too would eventually notice its positive effect.
"I didn’t realize, I guess, at the time, what it was doing for her in terms of dealing with the cancer," Bob recalled, "but I’m glad she found it."
His testimony about Patti's spirit closely mirrored Bartelt's.
"She was not the usual person in terms of her - how vibrating she was," he said. "I remember thinking, 'Gee, I wish I could go through it instead of her'," he continued. "But that isn't the way it works."
Patti acknowledged that Led Zeppelin -- or even music, in general -- might not help other patients the way it helped her.
"For somebody else, it could be yoga, for someone else it could be ... gardening or going outside and communing with nature," she said.
"I mean, grab a hold of what you've been good at all your life and do it," she urged. "And don't stop doing it!"
"But for me, it was those late-night concerts," she said.
"I think music is so life-affirming, unlike anything else."