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An Interview With Peter Tork

May 19, 2009 by  
Filed under news

Diagnosed with a rare head and neck cancer called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, Peter talks to me about his illness and recovery

In March, Peter announced he had been diagnosed with a rare head and neck cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma, and would immediately undergo surgery. Since then he’s been recovering at his home in Connecticut with the help of family friends, and legions of fans who’ve showered him with love and support. I was able to speak with him recently via email about his illness and how he’s doing today:

Q: Hi Peter! Thanks for taking time out to talk to me. First things first. How are you feeling? Has your perspective on life changed as a result of having cancer?

PT: I’m fine, thanks. I’m still healing from the surgery, and there are some residual challenges, like my s’s are lispy, kinda, but nothing serious. No, my perspective on life hasn’t changed a bit as a result of having (had) cancer. I’ve worked kinda hard on my attitude toward life, and damn’ cheap it would have been, too, if I hadn’t made provision in it for illness and death, wouldn’t it?

Q: How was your cancer diagnosed? Were there some particular symptoms that led you to see your doctor?

PT: Silly. Should I answer: no? Nothing came up, I just sauntered into one of the more respected cancer surgeon’s office one fine day, on account of I thought a trip to New York would be just the thing. Of course there were particular symptoms, silly goose! For starters, I began to have trouble swallowing, then my voice began to change tone. Eventually I went to a local ear, nose and throat guy who shot a fiber optic viewer down my throat and came up with a provisional diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. After a biopsy, that diagnosis was confirmed to be, not squamous cell, but adenoid cystic carcinoma.

Q: You seem to have such an upbeat and positive attitude, but I’m sure the diagnosis was a real shock. What was going through your mind when you were told? Were you ever worried about losing your voice?

PT: Yeah, well, I had a bad moment or two upon being told. If I have a good attitude towards it all for real, and not just idiot denial, it’s because I was able to acknowledge the shock and go thru what feelings came up for me. Once I’d gone thru that, I was able to get on with the business of taking care of the business. As to the voice, no,that didn’t come up. I’d have been a great deal more upset if that had been part of the transition, but even that, according to my philosophy, would have been an indication towards something exciting and fulfilling, just in another direction. I don’t mean to indicate that I’d have been perfectly okay with that kind of a prognosis; I’m sure I’d have had my screaming at god session before I settled down. It’s just that I’m sure that I’m able to (eventually) get on with whatever is there to get on with.

a An Interview With Peter Tork: The Former Monkees Talks About His Cancer Diagnosis and Recovery |

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