Wilko Johnson: ‘Cancer Battle Has Made Me Feel Vividly Alive’

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January 25, 2013 | 7:26am EST

Former Dr. Feelgood star Wilko Johnson is determined to make the most of his life following his terminal cancer diagnosis because the news helped him overcome a long battle with depression and made him feel “vividly alive”.
The musician was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer last year, anddecided to spend his final months on tour instead of undergoing gruelling chemotherapy treatment.
However, Johnson reveals he feels strangely happy despite the grim prognosis, as he has finally won his battle with the mental health issues which have blighted his life.
He tells the BBC’s Front Row radio show, “I noticed the symptoms a few months ago – there was this lump in my stomach. I treated it by ignoring it and hoping it would go away.
“When I went in for the diagnosis and the doctor told me ‘You’ve got cancer’ it was quite plain it was an inoperable thing, there was nothing they could do.
“We walked out of there and I felt an elation of spirit. You’re walking along and suddenly you’re vividly alive. You’re looking at the trees and the sky and everything and it’s just ‘whoah’. I am actually a miserable person. I’ve spent most of my life moping in depressions and things, but this has all lifted.”
However, the star is adamant he will not continue with his U.K. tour if his health deteriorates, adding, “If the cancer kicks in before that, then I can’t go on stage. I’m not going to go on stage looking ill – I don’t wanna (sic) present a sorry spectacle! This position I’m in is so strange, in that I do feel fit and yet I know death is upon me.
“I’m not hoping for a miracle cure or anything. I just hope it spares me long enough to do these gigs – then I’ll be a happy man.”

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