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Wade Hayes Says Cancer Battle Has Helped Make Him a ‘Better Man’

Wade Hayes
Deana Tackett

With six months of chemo under his belt, Wade Hayes is finally on the right side of recovery from his stage IV colon cancer, for which he underwent surgery back in December. In recent weeks, Hayes had bloodwork done — it came back tumor free. Hayes has finally completed chemotherapy is anxious about living his life once again.

“I am doing really well,” Hayes tells Taste of Country. “Chemo is very difficult on me. It sucks, but I am taking it better than most people do. The symptoms are still awful, but a lot of the symptoms I don’t have, one of which being that I got to keep my hair. Most people don’t. I’m very thankful for that.”

Throughout his chemo treatment, the singer lost close to 60 pounds due to a strict change in diet. “I’ve certainly had to take some drastic steps, diet wise,” Hayes notes. “I never did eat that bad, but now I’m really conscious about it. I can have dairy once in awhile and I can have very, very little red meat. I eat red meat once every two weeks, if that. I eat fish and chicken, lots of fruit and vegetables and low sugar. I miss my milk and cheese and ice cream and all that stuff, but I can’t have any of that from here on out. I may cheat every now and again because I’ve got to have my Mexican food! But for the most part, I’m eating pretty clean. That’s one of the reasons I can’t gain weight right now.”

Hayes’ spirits are strong as he continues to fight this courageous battle that has kept his friends, family and fans praying constantly for his health and well-being. “I want to sincerely thank everybody for their prayers because they have obviously worked,” Hayes says softly. “I’m convinced that that’s the only reason I’m here. I am very thankful, and I am trying my best to make something out of this life that I’ve been given after my diagnosis. I have certainly learned that you’re not guaranteed tomorrow, no matter what kind of shape you’re in. You know what kind of shape I was in before I got sick. I worked out all the time. I was strong, and yet it happened to me. I’m realizing that I took a lot for granted, and I’m trying my best to be a better man and make the best of this life that I have left.”

Part of his new perspective is helping make others aware to not overlook any signs if you think something may be wrong with your body. “I consider it my personal mission now to alert people that they don’t have to end up like I am,” Hayes insists. “I’m 10 years behind where I should have been tested. The doctor said I was a picture of health, except for the fact that I had cancer. He said I shouldn’t have this, but I do. Nobody knows why. I don’t have a family history of it, but I have it. So, my advice to anybody out there is if there is any inclining of an idea that you might have something going on, don’t be embarrassed about it. Go get it checked out and get tested, because it’s the most detectable and the most curable cancer that there is, if it’s caught early enough.

“I ignored the symptoms,” he continues. “I thought they were something else – symptoms being blood or any irregularity of your bowels at all. I had no energy. I was very lethargic. I thought it was just because I was burning the candle at both ends. Turns out that I had cancer, and it spread to my liver. That’s the first place it goes if you have cancer long enough in your intestines. So please don’t make the same mistake that I made. Don’t ignore it just because you think you’re healthy. That’s exactly what I did, and I ended up in the shape I’m in now. Now, some say I have a 50/50 chance of surviving and some say I have a one in four chance of surviving, because once it spreads, it’s in your system. I’m thankful because it was a miracle that they were able to get all of the cancer out because it had spread so far in my liver.”

Hayes is already looking ahead to what the rest of the year holds for him, which will include new music. The singer and his longtime producer/songwriter friend Don Cook have already spoken about working on a new musical project after Hayes completes his last round of chemo.

“I am pretty excited about it,” Hayes says with a smile. “Everything looks good; I just need to get well. I’m waiting on that. I have a lot to look forward to. Sometimes I get down, thinking I have a one in four chance of living … it bums me out. But what can you do? Do your best, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

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