Back on Tour After Prostate Cancer
by Kaylene Chadwell
Eddie Montgomery began his journey toward becoming a honkey tonk superstar very young. At age five, he hit the stage with his parents’ band, joining the band full time in his teen years.
Thirteen years ago, Eddie and Troy Gentry joined forces and released their debut album as the duo Montgomery Gentry. They have experienced success from the get go and haven’t slowed down. Together, the singers have racked up CMA awards, ACM awards, a Grammy nomination, over twenty charted hits, and five No. 1 singles, including “Something to Be Proud Of,” “Lucky Man,” and “Roll with Me.” In addition to millions of albums sold, the two have sold out shows and been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Their latest album, Rebels on the Run, hit stores last October, and the single “Where I Come From” has already climbed its way into the top 20 of Billboard’s country chart.
When Eddie Montgomery discovered he had cancer, it was literally by accident. In late 2010, his son had a four wheeling wreck, breaking his shoulder in three different places. Eddie had to take his son to multiple visits with a bone specialist.
During one of those visits, Eddie spoke up about a pain he was experiencing in his hip, and the doctor offered to X-ray it for him. When the results came back, the doctor didn’t see anything wrong with Eddie’s hip but, because of a bad shadow he saw on the x-ray, informed him that he needed to see a prostate doctor immediately. Then, on his forty-seventh birthday, Eddie received the scary news. He had prostate cancer. “It freaked me out,” Eddie admits in a recent interview with Coping® magazine. “When I found out, it tore me up.”
Making matters worse, three weeks after his diagnosis, his wife filed for divorce. “It’s flat out hard,” Eddie says of divorce. Laughing, he adds, “Divorce is what it is. Sorry, but a good one ain’t a good one.”
I had it, got rid of it, and I’m ready to go.
His father lost his battle against prostate cancer at the age of fifty-two. Luckily, Eddie’s cancer was caught in the early stages. He underwent robotic surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. The surgery was successful, and Eddie can now say he is cancer-free.
He is extremely thankful for his kids and their strength through the divorce and his cancer. “My kids are heroes,” Eddie boasts. “It’s just been unbelievable how they have stepped up and not even worried about their stuff.” He also shares how grateful he is for his brother, John Michael Montgomery, and for Troy Gentry. “‘T-roy’ and my brother have been there probably since the second that I found out about it,” Eddie says. He has received unbelievable support from his friends, family, and fans.
One short month after his surgery, Eddie was already back on stage. His doctor didn’t like the idea of him performing so soon or doing much of anything at that point. Eddie’s first performance after the surgery was at the Grand Ole Opry. A few days later, the duo was traveling overseas for a USO tour to entertain the troops. Eddie believes being on stage again helped him mentally, but physically he may have overdone it. “I wanted to get back to what I missed,” Eddie asserts, “and that was being on stage.”
When asked about the side effects from the surgery, Eddie explains, “You’re worried about a million thoughts. Okay, here I am going through a divorce, and I’m going to be single. And then I’m going, ‘Oh God, what about my sex life?’” He admits he had to deal with incontinence as a side effect as well. Though it has been a slow process, he says with a chuckle, “For me, yep, I’m doing good.”
Eddie has become quite open when it comes to talking about prostate cancer, and he continues to push men to get their prostate checked no matter how young they are. With the number of men who have prostate cancer nowadays, Eddie strongly believes there needs to be more talk about it to create awareness. “I didn’t know how many men – how many actors, celebrities, and young guys have already been going through this. I mean it’s unbelievable. I can’t believe there’s not more talk about it.”
Eddie has always been a man who enjoys living life, and he plans to continue doing just that. “It’s the man upstairs’ choice when you leave this world,” Eddie adds, “and I do want to live every second of it.” After conquering cancer and a divorce, he speaks with a positive attitude and an appreciation for life. As for the future, Eddie says, “I’m just going to live my life having fun.” This will include a new Montgomery Gentry tour beginning this year. “I had it, got rid of it, and I’m ready to go.”
Visit montgomerygentry.com for more information about Montgomery Gentry.
This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2012.