In an incredible example of resilience, actor Val Kilmer is continuously working through side-effects of his throat cancer surgery and proving he’s not just a survivor, but a warrior. Following his battle with throat cancer, Kilmer has discussed how his treatment impaired his speaking voice significantly, but he’s determined to overcome it.
Kilmer, 60, spoke to “Good Morning America” about undergoing a tracheotomy during his throat cancer treatment, which is a surgical procedure that connects the windpipe to a hole in the front of the neck. Due to the procedure, Kilmer’s voice has been impaired, but he is staying positive as he gets used to his new tone.Read More
“It’s just like any other language or dialect,” Kilmer says. “You have to figure out a way to communicate that’s no different than any other acting challenge but it’s just a very unique set of circumstances.”
Despite his voice change, he isn’t letting that stop him from his acting career. Kilmer is set to star in the upcoming action thriller film “Pay Dirt” this year, alongside his daughter Mercedes. As someone who’s watched Kilmer battle through throat cancer and now re-enter Hollywood, starring alongside her father is extra special. While promoting the movie, she’s shared how inspired she is by Kilmer’s resilience, and that he’s handling adjusting to his new voice with grace and humility.
“I’m so proud to have been in this film and to have worked on this film, not just because my dad is my actual dad, but because I know you don’t really lead with this but you do have now a disability with your voice, and it really meant a lot to me to be able to be involved in this film that centers a disabled actor, or an actor with a disability,” Mercedes says.
Cancer Survivor’s Strength During And After Treatment
Strength comes in many forms, but overcoming cancer is the perfect example of resilience. While many people struggle through cancer treatment, survivors have said the experience made them realize they are much stronger than they initially realized.
For ovarian cancer survivor Helene Unger, she used her love of running as a way to prepare her for treatment. She says that she and her husband treated her diagnosis as a marathon they had to pass the finish line for, which gave her the strength to fight even during her darkest days.
“In terms of the chemo, my husband and I treated it like I was doing a marathon,” Helene says. “He would say to me, ‘We’ve made it to the halfway mark, we’re at the half-marathon point now, Helene, you can do it.”
Helene admits undergoing chemo was the toughest challenge she’s faced, even tougher than any marathon, but she also says her cancer journey made her appreciate how strong she truly is.
“I think that going through cancer actually only made us stronger,” Helene says. “We are so much stronger than we realize.”