Staying Positive Amid a Cancer Battle
- Country music singer Toby Keith recently showed off his karaoke skills while sitting in the back seat of his Uber, making it clear his battle with stomach cancer isn’t stopping him from enjoying life.
- Keith, 62, has been battling stomach cancer since his diagnosis in 2021 and continues undergoing chemotherapy and immunotherapy (which uses the body's own immune system to fight the cancer) to fight the disease.
- Stomach cancer or gastric cancer occurs when cancer cells begin in the inner lining of the stomach, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
- If you're able to train your mind to stay grateful and positive and therapy can help you do that you'll find that it benefits your health journey. For starters, it can help you to feel better mentally. Also, some experts have found that having a positive attitude may improve prognosis in some instances.
Keithwho has been battling stomach cancer since his diagnosis in 2021 and continues undergoing chemotherapy and immunotherapy (which uses the body's own immune system to fight the cancer) to fight the diseaseshared footage of himself singing his 2002 hit “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American).”Read More
In the Friday, July 14, social media post, Keith can be singing the lyrics, “Cause well put a boot in your ass, it's the American way. Hey, Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list. And the Statue of Liberty started getting real pissed.
“And the eagle will fly and it's gonna be hell. When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell. And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you. Brought to you courtesy of the red, white, and blue. yeah, oh. Of my red, white and blue.”
This is what happens when my Uber has a karaoke machineâ€¦-T pic.twitter.com/EC4RkVawwu
— Toby Keith (@tobykeith) July 14, 2023
The song Keith was singing was the lead single off his 2022 album “Unleashed,” which was released nearly 21 years ago.
“Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” was inspired by the death of his dad and the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Expert Stomach Cancer Resources
- New Hope For Stomach Cancer: Immunotherapy Drug Opdivo Now Approved As a First Treatment
- Floss Today to Slash Your Chances of Stomach and Esophageal Cancer Tomorrow
- 5 Life Lessons We Learned From Mister Rogers, Who Died 18 Years Ago From Stomach Cancer
- Remembering Legendary Western Actor John Wayne, Who Passed of Stomach Cancer Over 40 Years Ago: The Importance of Clinical Trials
Recounting to The Boot back in 2017, as to how quickly he wrote the song, Keith said, “I wrote [‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue’] on the back of a Fantasy Football sheet that was laying there; I just turned it and wrote around the edges and, in about 20 minutes, wrote the lyric out and called it ‘The Angry American.’
“When I turned it in, they said, ‘Well, it really doesn't say ‘angry American’ in there. Why don't you call it ‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue?” So, I did.”
After Keith shared the entertaining Uber footage, which concluded with his driver and fellow passengers clapping and cheering when he concluded the song, the country singer’s fans flooded the comments sections of his Instagram and Twitter with praise.
“Can you imagine being the Uber driver though? Talk about a once in a lifetime opportunity!” one fan commented on Instagram.
Another fan wrote, “So happy to hear you singing, lucky Uber driver. You look awesome and your voice is amazing.”
“We need Toby Keith Karaoke Uber to be thing. Forget James Corden,” said a third supporter of the singer.
A fifth Toby Keith fan commented, “If I was that driver I would somehow get lost taking you to your destination!!!!! This made me so HAPPY to see you singing one of my all time favorites!!!”
Toby Keith's Cancer Journey
Toby Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2021. The beloved country singer has not said much publicly about his cancer journey outside of limited interviews and announcing it on his social media last year.
— Toby Keith (@tobykeith) June 12, 2022
Keith told Country Music Television in an interview, "I need a little bit of time to just rest up and heal up."
"I'm thinking about getting back to fighting shapeâ€¦It's pretty debilitating to have to go through all that, but as long as everything stays hunky-dory, then we'll look at something good in the future," he added.
The brave singer underwent six months of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. He had to cancel scheduled concerts following his diagnosis so he could focus on his recovery.
Despite his own cancer battle, Keith maintains a grateful and positive mindset. He still hosted his annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic tournament to raise money for kids earlier this summer.
And his support for our troops continues online even though he’s scaled back his travels at this time.
Understanding Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer or gastric cancer occurs when cancer cells begin in the inner lining of the stomach, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The American Cancer Society estimates "about 26,500 new cases of stomach cancer" this year.
"Experts believe most stomach cancers start when something hurts the inside lining of the stomach," according to Mayo Clinic.
Stomach cancer is often treated depending on the cancer's location and if it has spread to other parts of your body. Typical treatment options include:
- Surgery involves removing cancer cells from the lining of the stomach.
- Chemotherapy uses medications designed to kill cancer cells.
- Radiation uses high-energy X-rays or protons to kill cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy involves using your body's immune system to kill cancer cells.
- Targeted drug therapy involves targeting specific chemicals found within cancer cells.
- Palliative care (management of symptoms)
According to the American Cancer Society, stomach cancer risk factors may include:
- Gender, as men are more likely to develop the disease
- Age, as people are more likely to develop the disease in their 60s, 70s, and 80s
- Ethnicity, as people of color are more likely to get it than non-Hispanic white people
- A high-sodium diet
- Excessive alcohol and tobacco use
- Family history of stomach cancer
Continuing to Do What You Love during a Cancer Journey
Just because you're undergoing cancer treatment, like Toby Keith, does not mean you should stop doing what you love. In fact, experts recommend quite the opposite. Studies have shown that patients who are able to stay upbeat and positive often have better treatment outcomes.
It doesn't really matter what you do, but experts like Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecologic oncologist at Arizona Oncology, recommend doing whatever makes you happy.
"We know from good studies that emotional health is associated with survival, meaning better quality of life is associated with better outcomes," Chase told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. "So working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment [and] your emotional well-being are important and can impact your survival.
“If that's related to what activities you do that bring you joy, then you should try to do more of those activities.”
For other people, getting back to work is really important because they like what they do like Keith.
Financial reasons and maintaining a sense of normalcy can also lead people to want to return to work, but it's important to try to make a work schedule that suits your treatment path no matter what your reasoning is.
Meanwhile, living in gratitude like Keith is takes work; it requires effort to focus on the positives over the negatives. And that extra mental legwork is especially true if you're battling a a disease like cancer
However, if you're able to train your mind to stay grateful and positive and therapy can help you do that you'll find that it benefits your health journey. For starters, it can help you to feel better mentally. Also, some experts have found that having a positive attitude may improve prognosis in some instances.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff