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D&C - Former Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling

Aug 20, 2014|

Former Pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and World Series Champion Curt Schilling joined the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon to talk about his experiences with cancer. Curt was joined by Dr. Haddad. He revealed that, in February, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a cancer of the mouth. He attributes his mouth cancer to his use of chewing tobacco throughout his playing career.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

I am happy to say that I've given the considerable amount of thought to this particular introduction we -- going to make to our friend Curt Schilling. And a lot of people in New England many people most people in New England know a lot about Curt Schilling. But what many -- may not know and this is just by way of background he is a World War II buff he is into it more than you can possibly imagine. Without giving him that he -- just know that -- cares a lot about World War II the memorabilia and history of what went on in that particular conflict I only say that. To save this. War planners military experts and and and military war room guys for thousands and thousands of years. Have decried. The -- nonsensical. Idea of fighting two wars on two separate fronts. For all the obvious reasons you were splitting your resources you're dividing your energies and may be missed placing your priorities. That I think applies to Curt Schilling and his wife and his family now they are fighting wars on a couple of fronts and he has long before. The ice bucket challenge went viral recently. -- at the forefront of drawing attention to a LS decades before the ice bucket challenge became big. In addition -- with a -- foundation they were fighting cancers skin cancer as well. But now there's a big difference between being one of those war planners in the war room Curt Schilling. And the foot soldier on the very front lines welcome it's great to see you it does the view look different in the front lines that it does in the war room. Of yeah the this the first time we've really talked about mr. what you tell us what your comfortable telling us now and then we'll go from there. I calm while -- all came about. From a dog bite. I I got bit by a dog went. And I had some damaged my finger and went to see a doctor. And the day that it with the doctor I was driving I went to rub my neck I felt the law when -- on my patent. And you immediately was it and what's normal. So there happened to be any empty right excellent -- doctor but you know what the -- soften. And seen so I waited operas when Mary did a biopsy in two days later diagnosed with the squeeze on car squeamish cell carcinoma. What do you think com oh no more stop no -- you know what the amazing thing was. And I was just just dumbfounded by it. He's just been told you have cancer. And you walk out into the public. In the world still going -- And end it was really. A challenge wrap my head around that -- I don't like my second thought was wow really you think I can analysts to block so who who. And then that after couple test. I got. Sent over to bring appointments they -- forever and that's where -- at doctor dog and the amazing team of people that that got me through my treatment. Doctor dog just by way of clarification real don't know one -- to understand exactly what -- has can you give us the layman's terms of what's going on here. It's -- comedy this is not as mouth cancer. This is it in the back of the cancer we bogus Cuevas a question Omar says that cancer of the lining of the mouth. And the and and and bump in the neck is what how most patients. -- most patients go to the doctor first because if you lump in the next that's of them not that some large. And that's been the most common presentation for these cancers it's often presents as a mom and a knack. Had to trust the patient glance at the doctor and a biopsy is done and then that shows as famous of course you know minus the type of the cancer. I don't it's serious one amazing things as early on when I was talking about this. I I literally went to see a doctor like five days after about the law. He said the average time for patient is ten months ten months from the time you notice it's -- takes a while so. You know I'd -- yeah I -- but I can't believe. People equipment more software. And it's. To say it and how to put the skirt that this is good news to me because I feared the worst for you because we didn't know them and win. On that and it's bad it's real bad and this it could be worse so actually there's. Talk about it for two reasons one. But it wanna get into the chewing tobacco debate. What time it was gonna come about from -- to me although my greatly you know why I got my god you believe it is while apps. -- no question in my mind about that. And that's. Second thing was. What why you didn't come all -- kept quiet for which was an invasion by the way you have got to keep -- secret -- your -- yeah. I don't want to files -- yeah I want to edit in that stuff. Because early on today because I I spent about six months in hospital. Because. I. Just bad reactions and a staph infection. I had what's called seed if I have a couple different problems. And there's there was a week there where I was -- there's a -- in my life I don't remember while I was in the hospital going through on their investment. The third day that I was -- was I would get that I got -- -- radiation was five weeks seven weeks separately. And -- came back to the room. And my family was there and I thought you know what. This could be so much worse it's much it's not on the one guy and the family that can handle -- that's why. And so you know that from my perspective never ever I've never said why are never well. I do believe without a doubt unquestionably. That chewing is what -- cancer and a. You've got to have -- -- look at. And I am not guys appear from the pedestal preached about joint. I will say this. -- differ about thirty years. And it's it was a addictive habit that I if I can think of shall -- time in my life where it was so relaxing. You know it's just sit back and have a dip and do whatever. And I've lost my sense is now my taste but for the most part -- -- issues that led all the sort of stuff. Out of it was enough to ever make me quit. The pain that I was in going through this treatment. The second or third day it was the first thing and north in my life than ever had I wish you go back and never active ones well it was all they need. You say it is good that is there really debate -- you mentioned debate it seems to me that's pretty cut and dried in my in my wrong doctor that did this leads to the answer is correct the one of the -- -- described and defined risks for oral cancer this is a smokeless tobacco which is what we're talking about here. That's it is it is not a question mark witnesses have been shown repeatedly and the National Cancer Institute the team makes the case that any formal tobacco's. Harmful and should not be used. Back repeatedly with music what. The day you found out about Tony Gwynn. And I yell at IIA. I mean who while ago that things were going well is because. Anyway he went radio silent then after everything happened in and from the people I talk to you in very very. End. Again I got lucky I can act there's so many other places this could have come up. And you know the go ahead take half my job I've met a guy. So I was a -- mormons on the palace here floor fit or which is kind of a new rule thing and an amazing thing. Who had. Smoker who had cancer of the mouth and they had to cut off half of his -- and they went down and crafted from his forearm. And rebuilt it back. And they were having it just the stuff -- his mind boggling but dumb I had a team high I've seen they're far from the other side. As as someone who's been around you know spring training with the kids. I've I've been over there and visit the couple times. The -- on the side of it was was mind boggling. Perfect Segway when you -- spring training with the kids I don't know whether you heard this yesterday but our all star hall of things -- yesterday to 28 year old young man -- current and Altidore and in the middle or conversation with -- A program he told a story about spring training and somebody that we know and love name came up in in the very high profile take a listen from yesterday Curt Schilling. Is going to go down as my favorite player of all time because -- so we went one year and holly on -- no longer with us but she was by far is number one -- so armed when he puts the spring training it's not like. Apple -- -- -- show up you know science -- grassroots movements in and go back to when I was doing. Like day in cage with us and -- it really built a relationship exceed. Told him why he's great and -- and he told her why she's great in the us they really hit it off. So the next year we go back and shown tonight here -- this time I think he was injured and so well outside -- is obviously disappointed initially not pistol someone goes in the back and says Tulsa and then around. -- -- -- -- -- And he just hops off the table and and is is coming up the tunnel he just battles and like the loud as was I've ever heard whereas my Harley. And then holy realizes that she's the -- he's references and she just broke down like. Because not only did you remember her he remembered her name you know he's written about her on his blog when she passed away he didn't -- touching tribute to her. So it's like it's not just on a contractual obligation but that's -- split especially for Schilling. That's gonna make you feel good to Bosnia and and again that's another quiet ever. Sat there and ask why I know why mom. When you walk around that facility PCs using doctors doing. Amazing things and then it warns UQ. Fives except you know -- I can't album. Go I don't know if this happened again I'm not sure if I would go to the treatment again. I can't imagine 56 or do you have just it is my -- that's what's wit the -- tell you. Early on you when you when you. When they diagnosed and they played a British went for it do as the to create a -- for you. What that is is greatly -- table and they put this -- very pliable material over you in a vacuum form it to your face and basically what is it's. It's the strait jacket for when they're give you radiation. And first day I went and they've they've pipe down. And they they do the radiation and into the tumors second they did it and about the third day I might start developing. Almost a phobia and I literally had to be medicated for the system which to go and do it I couldn't I couldn't I couldn't control myself and. I'll telling you with a mask I -- it's still at home -- hanging on the wall my home office they say some people destroy them they take a moment Burnham and informal way but I look at that thing everyday phony in their -- the -- -- that's only. Fifteen and -- I've lost -- feels forever all right everyone it is always buckle -- Enron one day and it was real tight and I think yeah he screwed up in his own way you're right we did and it was the scary thing and I still like this for fifteen minutes there were a couple of times -- had to stop in the middle and then restart because I just took. And so that was that was made because it was five days a week for seven weeks. Every morning I couldn't wait for Friday yeah Friday it was like the greatest -- and they could see it mostly with me. I was down down down down and then Friday at -- excited because I didn't have ratings if we can turn back the clock twenty or 25 years you talked about these symptoms that you had as you were doing smokeless tobacco while you were playing. You're a Smart guy you access information you knew what you were doing at the potential for this yet addiction was so strongly use it even though my gums are bleeding even -- -- having these symptoms now though that even though I've seen and talk to people who had half phase. Lost their bottom -- -- lost polar disease. -- -- I don't know that I ever said it subways topic about it because I've never said you know. It's everybody would you do it it's as if it's a byproduct of chewing tobacco if you chew tobacco you're gonna find yourself some sort catch a little behind -- it. You're gonna become the you realize that like today you're gonna become the preeminent spokesman. When this conference -- Baghdad that's another reason why I active for thirty years and so I didn't want to. Appear hypocritical. It is it's it's a dangerously addictive habit. That I wish I you know beyond. I don't know that never done well versed enough to try to put it the application is do is I'd say not as I don't let the what what's the future all you can you be okay. Well -- mention. And I. Doctor -- beat each other off that's five years. And this it's recoveries its challenge because. There's only things that that they that are damaged during the process of army's Albert -- all. I I have note -- I can't paste anything. And I can't all right now so there -- people come back. But it's I got used to doctor -- tell -- well after the NC -- the north to twelve months. And I was like OK let's even narrow -- Doctor what is the specific prognosis on and -- and nothing is specific every case is individual but what's in store for mr. surely going to -- -- again. Without respecting the specific case of your typical. -- head and neck cancers cancers of the mouth. These are treatable cancers they are at a curable cancers in the large percentage of patients. But. The treatment is very top is genetic -- that a lot of side effects the side effects are acute meaning that happened the first you know treatments like we're seeing now with the dry mouth and trouble swallowing and eating. The infections and that the long term side effects that that is the recovery process antic after five years -- it. But the these cancers are treatable and -- are curable. They do it required a lot of specialty is coming together so treating head and neck cancer is not possible. In every institution in meeting these types of cancers have to be treated and specialized centers because of the number of treatments and especially -- needed to treatment and that can wield his sense of taste and smell come back yes it -- -- That's exactly did little to -- to swallow saliva should get better over time -- to think should get better but the process is slow and can be frustrating for patient. You can look at a piece of fruit right now and then but it you know you look -- you look guilty of water RIP I write because -- I was at a feeding tube for six months. I just couldn't wait to be able to guzzle -- -- water because -- couldn't. Well let's let's let's challenge. You're lost a few pounds and I lost is usually the lengths people go lose a few on 175 pounds and that's that the challenge now is try and I -- I. Don't remember what highway highway -- five pounds in -- I would added I was. Just like graduate high school so I don't know and I -- but that's that's why am I still shaky -- week. I light headed every now and then but because I can't continually can't put enough talent my body you have a real. Appreciation for pro lifers -- only because of which on the went through because of you know your -- with -- -- kids have gone through. We ask everyone this when -- sit down the Nazis wanted to change you is is gonna change you -- you feel like you already. And your bearings in the right place already had two priorities straight by. I'm not that you wore especially. I would like to think that shot that I. Were pretty level headed before this and I didn't I don't I never felt like I needed to be home -- But. You know there's there's a reason this all happened. Anderson trying to deficit. It just kind of navigate dictated -- I admire you for saying that you didn't have any will few oh why me moments but you also famously said god never gives us more than we can handle our our our troops just about a damn limit here I don't I -- he he's got a lot more confidence that I. But but I. You know there. There's a reason there's so many things I've seen. There is treatment and some things that I these if you meet people and the amazing -- I had a -- people on the fifth floor over there. All the nurses. McChrystal Stanley and and I might might well that. Unbelievable strain it puts on my family because now my wife's at home alone and and there's no help. And I live in midfield and I'm gonna tell you want most amazing things. There's -- a program and Mets field that when someone's family when somebody is struck -- cancer. There's that to pound the pound -- for them at night. So for six months every night there's a full meal delivered to my wife on the -- while for our family. A minute that's which is why we still haven't met her you know but those of the things that that that'll take away from the us. How did you feel how he's feeling and when you came back to Fenway it was kind of surprised about sixers have a six weeks ago is that right there was some surprise -- were you -- -- was it. It touching -- -- here's Mary was pretty upset when they didn't ask you to throw the pitches there in the gym then gave the -- the man. I'll do it there was. It was weird I because I was in the hospital time and they wouldn't let me come over here you go back. So I had to determine if I was OK and ready. TB is so disturbed charts and yesterday update yet. And -- -- aren't backing off well I I was so I had like Garrett walked out with me I was afraid of -- fall away and because I was so. Just a mob related men. But it was it was it was nice it was it was good to see the guys I'm someone might seem. And it's amazing to win when things happen you like this you find out who. -- your friend -- and and I I got contacted by people that I didn't expect. Consists. Which was which was pretty cool like who. I'm not gonna name names but there's just a couple people that reached out that didn't expect and and it was nice. Beyond the practical application of meals and transportation and Shawmut deal with the kids and you -- -- pitcher in the hospital. Are are -- emotional or psychological relationship changes in the chilling family based on the fact that the old man I mean that that that the patriarch. The guy that the kids look up to that the rock if you will. Is now in the situation. FS Sean do you you know use and then at times I'm sure they -- -- like I mean -- -- -- -- -- -- Wednesday was a smoker lung cancer. So you know I've been on -- I went through that and I and they understand that but. I was just. I I can't imagine. What because -- -- she's got to drive 45 minutes and deceit mean she's got a raise four kids. And they're still in school and all this other stuff going on and it was just I I. I got to go and it was it was. An incredible challenge to kind of -- back in Fallujah said when you were diagnosed you walked outside and likely still going on even within your own environment in midfield that like still have a lot Arctic and as a husband and a far different thing about your family value you know what does that look like how does it function has offered because it's. -- -- -- That's stuff doesn't make me go -- -- because that's that's one of the outcome that it people buy from the stuff so you do have those very moral moments when you live there and think. You know -- it are there they set up to be okay if I'm not here you know and and you kind of deduction. Doctor it up what's the next line steps for protocol go -- for what is what is -- facing now you know next month month after that the month after them. -- protocol for follow up its -- Visits with us on the -- on a regular basis on average of 31 to two months and then we also I would be doing scans and imaging studies also every few months just. Confronting his status. It's actually sadly as simple a follow up process but it doesn't -- thus keeping an eye on on outpatient. For five years as this is the time when things can happen so we have to keep -- -- item on -- and be patient to receive -- and neck cancer for the first ideas have to treat. To use the baseball analogy -- I guess the night before your pitching big game -- -- little butterflies of the day of the game the night before which again is gonna probably feel the same well it's a night in night out because you wait to hear the result yeah that's the audience to a part there now. And I -- just. Save real quick and doctor -- makes it sound like please please stitch it up a finger. It is. I can't believe. I can't believe. In my work. The amount of intelligence that the dedication commitment from him and this was I walked in the first day. That I met him and I sat down and its -- or eight people in the room. And I was like OK all people and it was -- team these are all these are part a cardiologist. Everybody. At doctor Norris who did this initial surgery was. And it is phenomenal guy and an -- doctor dot was kind of a quarterback and and it was just amazing to me how coordinated everything was how genuine. Everybody is and was over there that's that they -- is these are people -- annually. That -- or care about other people it's frightening when it's that whole team the president I think. I'm in trouble on -- I need all these people are -- -- name names and that's fine but I will when I was going through that not nearly as bad as you were when I was going -- I heard from one half one. That's accurate. I mean I didn't expect to hear from some too many athletes you know in a way I am at her from all you guys obviously people that work with friends and Colin chicken and one that we call chicken on me and you only remember it all right yeah. But I do. Must be cool for you -- some -- -- first guys I remember talking LS first up we must be. Come on the watch this whole thing it means absolutely explode on -- -- the vehement twenty threes and when it a 1000000 on the morning and mrs. It's the most aware customary thing I've ever seen what did you think -- -- and I don't you don't have gone I don't happen you know and I met. When 1992 was when John and I got involved with -- -- and that was charity of choice my career. Philadelphia had a huge -- us chapter and everything was big and not right now -- airs on we got to go to it would kind of pick that chapter of its own -- as a an amazing. Well I actually face he. Really yeah it would like ourselves they came down to spring training and that he told me the first time I met him. That it takes place and I again I'm not not better pitcher now aren't really in Africa and -- and -- -- -- they don't watch them. I don't -- Why did you. It was cute guys but court was guy's name in Philadelphia man who had -- different -- Bergeron. And you you weren't related don't you know it wasn't even close and as you met him and they in the touched you I had. I my life worker was starting to take off and wanna be involved committed to something other than myself. John and I talked about just like the right thing to do and you know there are. Twenty years later and it's. The best ever heard of it is. Being given a death sentence without any crime. And the worst kind of death it's not you know not exactly -- But of the electric chair is the worst went down. -- -- thanks for your time this morning in your marriage and -- great to -- unity average rate this year thanks for sharing your story with us where you're upset when they -- -- -- it it is it says we -- this to be here. That was a pretty cool night it was -- That that was that always. Have a special place here -- -- with us. Great to see you -- -- 8777381234. If that doesn't compel you to pick up the phone and make a donation then I suppose nothing.

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