Doing What You Love Despite An Ongoing Cancer Journey
- Toby Keith, who is currently battling stomach cancer, just returned to performing after making a surprise appearance at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 4.
- Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is more likely to form in the gastroesophageal junction – the area where the long tube (esophagus) that carries food you swallow meets the stomach for people in the United States.
- One expert tells SurvivorNet that emotional health is associated with with better cancer-related outcomes. So, it’s important to keep doing things that you love during your cancer journey. And for some people, that may involve working.
In a recent surprise appearance at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky, on November 4, Keith took to the stage to reportedly perform for nearly an hour. Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment CEO Britney Ruby Miller posted a video from Keith’s performance saying he was “on the mend.”Read More
“After a year of fighting stomach cancer, he chose Jeff Ruby’s Lexington stage to sing with Jeff Ruby,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “His first time singing in over a year! More videos to come. Toby sang for an hour!”
Restauranteur Jeff Ruby, himself, also posted content from the event and shared his gratitude for the singer’s appearance.
— Jeff Ruby (@TheRealJeffRuby) November 6, 2022
“Grateful for my good friend @tobykeith!” he wrote on Twitter. “Rocking our Lexington stage after a year of kicking cancer’s ass!”
Hopefully, this performance means the Red Solo Cup singer is doing well amid his stomach cancer journey.
Toby Keith’s Cancer Battle
Toby Keith told fans about his stomach cancer diagnosis in June.
View this post on Instagram
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” Keith posted to Instagram. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.
“I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
After releasing his first album in five years last October, Peso In My Pocket, Keith had been on tour. But now any upcoming tour dates have been removed from his website.
Still, Keith has made a point to thank the people who have stepped up to support him during this difficult time.
View this post on Instagram
“Thank you for all your love and support,” he wrote in another post from June. “I have the best fans in the world.”
We don’t know too many specific details about Keith’s ongoing cancer battle, but the SurvivorNet community is wishing him all the best as he continues to navigate the road ahead.
Understanding Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, can affect any part of the stomach. Interestingly enough, stomach cancers usually develop in the main part of the stomach (stomach body) for most of the world, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In the United States, however, stomach cancer is more likely to form in the gastroesophageal junction – the area where the long tube (esophagus) that carries food you swallow meets the stomach.
Factors that increase your risk of having stomach cancer include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- A diet high in salty and smoked foods
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Family history of stomach cancer
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori
- Long-term stomach inflammation (gastritis)
- Stomach polyps
Treatment options for stomach cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy. The decision-making process for choosing a treatment path can vary depending on a few factors including:
- The cancer’s location
- The stage of the cancer
- How aggressive the cancer is
- Your overall health
- Your treatment preferences
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer are not exclusive to the disease, but they may include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Feeling bloated after eating
- Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
- Stomach pain
- Unintentional weight loss
As always, having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have stomach cancer. These things are more likely to be caused by other issues, but it’s always a good idea to see your doctor if you’re worried. You never know when speaking up about an issue can lead to a very important diagnosis.
Continuing to Do What You Love during a Cancer Journey
Just because you’re undergoing cancer treatment, 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 Lydie Roth, there was never a question of whether she should continue doing what she loved. She’s a non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor who has always worked out and done calisthenics despite the pain she’s experienced from her disease.
“You never know what will happen in your life, so it’s better to spend time doing your favorite activities,” she told SurvivorNet.
For other people, getting back to work is really important because they like what they do like Toby 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.
Laurie Ostacher, a social worker at Sutter Bay Medical Foundation, previously spoke to SurvivorNet about how she helps people figure out their working situation after a cancer diagnosis.
“Some women choose to continue working [through cancer] because working is a significant part of their identity, they enjoy the job, and there’s flexibility built in,” she explained. “I help folks think about whether it makes sense to work.
“If you really don’t want to but are worried you’re not going to be able to make ends meet, then I’ll sit down and help them figure out, you know, with your disability insurance, would this be possible?”
No matter what, it’s important to do what’s right for you and seek out valuable resources like Ostacher if you need help deciding on the right course of action when it comes to working – or not – during a cancer battle.