The Grammy-Winning Rapper On His Cancer Journey
- Black Eyed Peas rapper Taboo discovered he had testicular cancer after eight years of back problems. His wife forced him to see a doctor and he was diagnosed with stage II testicular cancer. He had his testicle removed the following day and started chemo just days later.
- That chemotherapy proved to be a grueling experience for Taboo, who admitted he thought about giving up multiple times during the 12 weeks of five-days-a-week treatment. He did not, and despite being told it was not likely he welcomed a baby daughter one year later, his “miracle baby”.
- Others who have battled testicular cancer recall an intense pain prior to diagnosis as well, with Tripp Hornick previously telling SurvivorNet that it was an “acute” and “throbbing” pain. “Something that you could not mistake as what you would consider to be normal,” noted Hornick.
That is the message rapper Taboo wants to share with cancer patients.Read More
That cancer diagnosis came after years of intense lower back pain that Taboo, born Jaime Luis Gomez, chalked up to an onstage fall.
That fall happened in 2006 while Taboo performed with the Black Eyed Peas, and after eight years of pain and what he assumed was a broken tailbone, Taboo’s wife Jaymie Dizon finally forced him to see a doctor.
“The pain started getting stronger and stronger every year, but I never went to a doctor to see what it was,” explained Taboo.
After an MRI, CT scans, and blood work, doctors diagnosed Taboo with stage II testicular cancer the following day. The cancer had also spread to a pair of lymph nodes in his spine.
One day later, Taboo had surgery to remove his right testicle, and less than a week later, he found himself starting chemotherapy.
“Everything was back to back,” recalled Taboo.
“There was no time to react. We just had to go with it.”
That chemotherapy proved to be a grueling experience for Taboo, who admitted he thought about giving up multiple times during the 12 weeks of five-days-a-week treatment.
He could not sleep, experienced excruciating pain and never got time with his children.
“When I was doing chemotherapy, there were times when I’d be tired, and I wasn’t able to do things like run in the backyard with my kids or play with them,” lamented Taboo.
“And I’m a very affectionate father. I love to be with my kids.”
After being told that he and Dizon would not conceive a child the traditional way, Taboo decided to preserve his sperm. Then, he had a sudden change of heart.
Already a dad to two boys, Taboo sat his wife down and said: “If it happens, it was meant to be; if not, we’re blessed to have [the boys].”
A year after his diagnosis, it did, in fact, happen, and the couple soon welcomed a third child – daughter Jett Juliana. Or, as Taboo calls her, the “miracle baby.”
Taboo says his entire outlook on life is different now after his cancer battle. He is more health-conscious, embracing his heritage more, and increasingly grateful for the time he gets to spend with his loved ones.
“I was never as conscientious about putting my health before my career. I was gung-ho career-driven. I still have that inside of me, but I’m making sure that my health comes before anything because it’s important for me to be there for my family,” said Taboo.
“I have a long life to live, so I’m not going to jeopardize my health for anything.”
He also hopes to share his wisdom with others just starting their cancer journey, especially those who like him might be thinking about giving up the fight.
“I want to be the person that says, ‘We’re not going to curl up into a ball. We’re going to get up and fight. We’re going to survive this. We’re not going to let this cancer beat us,’” said Taboo.
“That’s ultimately what I want with this song, that sense of encouragement, that sense of hope and motivation that you can get through anything.”
Becoming A Father After Testicular Cancer
Todd Rosenbluth found himself welcoming a new baby after his battle with testicular cancer, just like Taboo.
For Rosenbluth, that was a significant moment in his recovery, and as he previously told SurvivorNet, the first time he felt “safe” after his diagnosis.
“I think the safest I felt with my testicular cancer was when my son was born,” said Rosenbluth. “You know because they tell you it’s not related to the fertility issues at all, which I understand, and it’s accurate. But in your head, when you’re having all these troubles, and you know you did lose a testicle, you feel the blame.”
Rosenbluth said that he had been tested and told that “nothing was wrong,” but he grew concerned that it might not happen.
“It was almost like we wanted them to say, ‘You can’t have a child right now because of your testicular cancer.’ That would have made things easier, honestly, because you would have had a root and a plan of attack,” explained Rosenbluth. “Since nothing was wrong, you feel almost to blame. And it’s financially draining. It’s emotionally draining. Mentally draining.”
Then his wife got pregnant, and everything suddenly changed.
“Once we found out we were pregnant, you feel safe. Once he was born, you feel the safest because you know he’s here,” said Rosenbluth.
“And it’s almost like the testicular cancer book is like closed in a way. And he’s here, and he kind of reopened a different book.”
Painful Symptoms of Testicular Cancer
Tripp Hornick battled testicular cancer, and, like Taboo, he beat the disease.
He also recalled intense pain being the main symptom of the disease before his diagnosis.
“Pain in the groin area, acute pain, and throbbing pain. Something that you could not mistake as what you would consider to be normal,” he told SurvivorNet in a previous interview.
However, he never got a specialist willing to do a scan despite the pain getting worse over time.
“During the summer between my junior and senior year in college, I knew something really fundamentally had to be wrong. When you’re in pain, your body’s telling you not to ignore it. And when something is becoming a chronic pain, you have to pay attention,” recalled Hornick.
“I essentially ordered a scan myself, and 45 minutes after that scan, they said, please come right back to the doctors’ office we need to start chatting. And that’s how I found out that I was diagnosed with cancer.”