Actor Val Kilmer is expressing his gratitude this Memorial Day for the extraordinary outpouring of support from followers.
In an interview published earlier this month, “Top Gun” actor Val Kilmer shared some intimate details about his cancer journey — including the fact that he initially didn’t want to undergo standard treatment for his throat cancer and wanted, instead, to work with his Christian Science practitioner to deal with the illness. The wide-ranging interview with The New York Times Magazine was met with much praise and love from fans — and Kilmer took to social media to thank everyone, especially those fans who wrote to the NYT to share how much they enjoyed reading the actor’s story, for the support.Read More
“What a treat to see some of the readers reactions from my interview with the New York Times Magazine,” Kilmer wrote alongside a snap of the reactions section of the magazine. “…Thanks to everyone that has joined me on this journey. We’ve only just begun!”
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What a treat to see some of the reader reactions from my interview with @thenewyorktimemagazine . I am so grateful for the care and openness Taffy gave during our time together. I knew instantly I could be at ease and reveal myself, sharing a glimpse of what I poured into my book. Thanks to everyone that has joined me on this journey. We’ve only just begun!
The interview touched on topics like Kilmer’s early career, his transition to creating art, his new memoir I’m Your Huckleberry and of course, his experience with throat cancer. The actor revealed in a 2017 interview that he had been going through treatment for throat cancer for about two years. Kilmer was treated with chemotherapy, radiation and a tracheostomy — a surgery that connects the windpipe to a hole in the front of the neck for people who have obstructed breathing, throat cancer or throat paralysis.
How Kilmer’s Voice Has Changed
The actor’s tracheostomy tube, which he can speak through to an extent — though his voice sounds much different than it used to — was also a subject of some discussion in the new New York Times interview. The actor said that the reason he can be understood at all is because of his training an Juilliard after finishing high school — where he was made to perform voice exercises and told to “use his voice like a trumpet.”
The topic os Kilmer’s faith came up when he began discussing his cancer diagnosis. The actor felt a lump in his throat around 2014 and a doctor told him it was throat cancer. Kilmer says that, because of his faith, he didn’t really believe he had cancer — but still, he was sure he could cure whatever ailment he did have by working with his Christian Science practitioner.
However, Kilmer has two children who are not Christian Scientists — and they didn’t want to put their faith in Kilmer’s treatment plan.
“I just didn’t want to experience their fear, which was profound,” Kilmer told the Times of his eventual decision to get cancer treatment. Now cancer-free, Kilmer is still sure it was his prayer that cured him — and thinks the cancer treatment made him suffer.
Prayer’s Role in the Cancer Journey
While no medical expert is ever going to recommend skipping out on treatment in favor of faith when you have cancer, many of the experts SurvivorNet has interviewed in the past really believe that there’s a profound benefit to having faith during the cancer journey. A positive attitude, whether that comes from religious faith or somewhere else, can really make a difference.
Dr. Zuri Murrell explains how positivity can help during cancer treatment.
“People often ask me about prayer in terms of therapy,” colorectal cancer surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Dr. Zuri Murrell told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “I have a large amount of Jewish patients. I have a large amount of Christian patients, Hindus, and I even have atheists — and I believe that prayer is very helpful. In some patients who don’t believe in prayer, I believe that a positive attitude is what’s really important … and for a lot of people, prayer helps them develop this.”