Helen - I know you’ve spoken and performed at a lot of conferences where there are caregivers, medical personnel and survivors and others going through some very difficult health instances. And you have many contacts with individuals in those situations. Tell us about that.
Wade - People come up all the time and tell me about what they are going through. I get emails from across the country from people who are battling cancer. I try to encourage them. They hear my story and notice that it is not the norm. I tell everybody, first and foremost, that I thank God for it. To me, he made it perfectly clear that he’s the reason I’m still around. I’ve talked with a lot of people and prayed with them and tried to encourage them the best that I can. I just did a video for a lady 2 days ago about that very thing. I certainly have a soft spot for what they’re going through. I’ve been in their shoes and it’s scary.
Helen - More people are attracted to your story because it offers hope.
Wade - That’s the thing I do mention in all of the speeches I give for people in hospitals and all kinds of cancer organizations - I had nothing but bad news when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and knew that I was not going to make it through - then I met a man who had been diagnosed the same as me and was still alive years later. And just knowing that it could be done changed my life. That’s the reason I’ve been so open about my experience is to hopefully do the same thing for somebody else. It is a big tool when you’re battling - to have hope. I want to somehow do that for somebody because it made a big difference in my life.
Helen - Hope is important. I thought you had the most forward mindset anyone could have - buying and selling a house while going through chemo.
Wade - I look back and I had heard another piece of advice that helped me a lot. That was, don’t think about where you are right now, think about tomorrow. Think what it’s going to be like when you get your last treatment completed and you’re finally free of this disease. I did that as well. I tried to stay distracted. I remember a couple of different instances of working on houses with a chemo bag hanging off me, while I was wearing the chemo pump, doing manual labor. I did it on 2 different houses, as a matter of fact, one that I had sold and one that I had bought. That was me not being able to sit around and think about what was going on. Trying to stay busy and trying to move forward.
Helen - I imagine it’s hard to get up the energy to do that.
Wade - It is, maybe the chemo didn’t affect me as dramatically as it does other people. I was very, very fortunate that way. I lost some hair, but I didn’t go bald. And my hair turned really gray for a while and then the color came back. (chuckles) I did lose a bunch of weight and I looked pretty rough for a year or two. Everything has pretty much come back. I will always be affected by what chemo did to me. I’ll always be in pain and there’s not a time when I’m not. That chemo tears you up. But I’m alive and I’m doing the best, as Dr. Berlin said, to live my life.
Helen - What’s been keeping you busy lately?
Wade - Well, lately, besides touring and trying to write songs, I’ve been in the studio and we have gotten most of it done. From what I’ve heard, it’s turned out really, really good. I’m excited about it. I wrote a bunch of songs on this record with Roger Springer. Some of them I wrote by myself and I did a couple of covers that will take people by surprise, I think. It’s a lot more country than the last 2 records I’ve done. It’s what I love. I’ve really made a conscious effort to write more of what I love instead of what was on my mind. It’s been a fun process and the band was incredible. It’s really an exciting record. A couple of songs that I wrote with Roger turned out really cool. Roger is one of the most talented people I know and we really click. Roger does a lot of co-writing and he’s introduced me to a couple of young guys that he’s working with that are really good and trying to get a record deal. I hope they do so I can write some of their record. I would like to do that. That is one dream in my life, that I have not realized yet, is to have a song recorded and be a single by another artists. I think that would be very exciting.
The title track for the next album: Who Saved Who?