‘I Fought Cancer…And Won!’ by Supersuckers’ Eddie Spaghetti
Kicking cancer's ass...with a little help from Eddie Vedder, Mudhoney and friends.
Fuck cancer. Seriously, enough already. In just the past few months we've suffered some devastating losses and, frankly, it's getting depressing. Lemmy, gone. Bowie, gone. Alan Rickman, gone Jason Mackenroth from the Rollins Band, gone at 47. Adam Roth from the Jim Carroll Band, gone at 57. It seems like every day we lose another talent, another legend, another loved one.
Thankfully, however, there is some good news, a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't an oncoming train. Only eight months after being diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer, Supersuckers frontman/bassist and all round good guy Eddie Spaghetti is back on the road and cancer free, and today we sit down with him, sink a few cold beers, and talk about kicking cancer's ass.
Our story begins in June 2015 when Eddie discovered a lump on the side of his neck that his wife insists he gets checked out because it's not going down. He has no symptoms, feels fine, but you don’t argue with Mrs S.
“I might still have it on my neck if I wasn't married,” he admits. “So I go to a doctor in New York City because I was on tour, and they do a biopsy and tell me it doesn't look bad, it looks like it's something benign, don't worry about it, go about your business. Then we were travelling with the family on a solo tour, heading to some Supersuckers dates on the west coast. We stopped at my mom's house in Arkansas and I get a phone call from the doctor saying they found something and there's some cancer in my lymph node.”
Like many of us, Eddie didn't even know what a lymph node was, only later discovering that you have thousands of them throughout your body. Clearly there was some learning to do.
“The things I had to learn about going through this process were kind of ridiculous,” he laughs. “And still I learned the bare minimum: don't take me as some sort of cancer expect and look at me to be learning shit. I'm probably way off base, but your lymph nodes are in charge of your white blood cell count. I had 49 of them removed from my neck. Only one had cancer in it.”
What were your initial thoughts when you heard the news?
“I didn't know, and the whole not knowing is the weirdest thing,” says Eddie. “That was the worst period, that two weeks in between finding out I had cancer and finding out what kind of cancer it was: it could have been that I had a week to live or something like that. My two little kids are too young to know what was going on, but my oldest kid is fifteen now and he was freaking out because his dad could die. He definitely knew about it, and, of course, my wife was the one who went on the internet and started looking everything up immediately. My fear was that it was in my kidneys or my liver or something, because I've lived kinda hard. Or it might be in my ass or something awful. So I went to see another doctor in LA and they told me what kind of cancer it was, and then another doctor who I wound up going with to do the treatments.”
For readers in most of the western world this is simply a matter of going to the doctor. Unfortunately, in the United States this is not the case, American health care being all but non-existent without prohibitively expensive insurance. As great as they are, the Supersuckers are far from wealthy.