By Keith Sharp
At exactly 11:58 Friday June 1st, I got to bang the gong at the 2B level of Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital to herald the final session of my treatment to battle throat cancer. A period which included 35 radiation treatments, two chemo sessions and three overnight stays going back to Monday April 15th.
I am technically still not out of the woods, it takes a couple of months for the swelling in my throat to subside, there will be future follow up visits before a key meeting with my Oncologist September 12th which will tell me if I am totally clear, but here’s hoping!
Of course my taste buds are totally shot and they tell me it could be anywhere from two months to six months before I can actually taste or drink anything (I currently take energy drinks through a tube (not very pleasant).
Still, two month’s rehab and I am confident I can bounce back. I will be executing future interviews although the recipients should be aware that I currently sound like Kermit The Frog and it’s great that my entertainment roster is currently active and killing it on the circuit. (shout out to The Box, Elton Rohn and Darby Mills).
At this point, I would like to personally thank all my family and friends who have been so supportive of me during what has been a very challenging period. All my industry colleagues who have been so generous in their encouragement. To my wife Karen, who took time off work to provide personal care, to my brother in arms, Ted Van Boort who has somehow kept The Music Express Magazine blog ticking and to the amazing Oncology and Radiation staff at Princess Margaret who have been both professional and personally caring in their treatment of me over the past 6 weeks.
I especially want to acknowledge the support provided by Iron Maiden lead vocalist Bruce Dickinson who suffered the exact same throat cancer problem and clearly articulated what I would be going through in the final chapter of his “What Does This Button Do” autobiography. The fact that Bruce made a total recovery and vocally is as strong as ever has provided me with a great deal of reassurance.
I have received words of encouragement from Bruce and band manager Rod Smallwood and that in itself has been of great help to me as I contemplate concluding my own personal battle against this dreaded disease.
I plan to attend the Socan Awards June 18th at Toronto’s Sheraton Hotel and look forward to re-acquainting my self with everyone. Yes I am down to 195 lbs (who needs Jenny Craig?) and will probably be the only muso not boozing at the bar (dammit!). But hey! Looking forward to getting back in the game.