EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting says that it's "presumptuous" to say he is already "cancer free," more than two weeks after he underwent a successful total gastrectomy in his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.
Hunting offered a clarification regarding his health in response to a July 26 Instagram post from his EXODUS bandmate Gary Holt who referred to the drummer as now being "cancer free" after his surgery.
Earlier today (Wednesday, July 28),Hunting released the following statement via Holt's Instagram: "Hello Y'all. I just wanted to thank everyone for taking part in the BLIND ILLUSION [benefit] show [in Sacramento for Tom]. I'm blown away by all the love and support from everyone in this community! It really propels me in this fight!
"So I had a full gastrectomy on July 12th. I've been healing up good, relearning my relationship with food, smaller portions more spaced out, lotsa proteins, etc... The science of all this continues to blow my mind on a daily basis. Like how can someone even be out walking around 2 weeks after the surgery?? HAHA!! Anyway, I'm super thankful!! I've learned that so many people don't even get a surgical option. The doctors had a good plan, they went in, and they've told me they got it all!! Fuck Yesss, sounds good to me!!
"But it's presumptuous to say CANCER FREE at this point. I really hope to make that statement myself soon down the road. But let's not jinx it! I'm still in the middle of this fight. The hardest part is over with still 4 outro chemo treatments pending. After that, I'll have another scan that'll hopefully show that Cancers Ass has been evicted from my body and kicked down the road!!
"I can't wait to see you all soon and play some of the new EXODUS music live!!! Much Love!!!!
In the same Instagram post, Holt himself acknowledged that he "may have in my excitement jumped the gun" on saying Hunting was already cancer free, but expressed his optimism that the disease would eventually be "kicked to the curb."
According to Cancer.org, a total gastrectomy is done if the cancer has spread widely in the stomach. It is also often advised if the cancer is in the upper part of the stomach, near the esophagus.
On July 5, Hunting said that he had four rounds of chemotherapy and that "the mass [had] shrunk to less than half the size it was in March… After recovery [from gastrectomy], I get four more treatments, then I can resume my life cancer-free."
He added: "I can't wait to travel the world, playing music, enjoying every moment of this crazy journey!! I'll check in soon again and share how thing's are going. THANKS AND MUCH LOVE TO EVERYONE!!! CHEERS!!!!"
According to Cancer.org, a total gastrectomy involves the surgeon removing the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, and the omentum, and possibly removing the spleen and parts of the esophagus, intestines, pancreas, or other nearby organs if the cancer has reached them. The end of the esophagus is then attached to part of the small intestine. This allows food to move down the intestinal tract. But people who have had their stomach removed can only eat a small amount of food at a time. Because of this, they will need to eat more often.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hunting with medical expenses had previously raised more than $108,000 — including $5,000 from Tom's former EXODUS bandmate, current METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett, and $1,500 from FOZZY singer and wrestling superstar Chris Jericho.
After Hunting went public with his diagnosis, Holt said that EXODUS will "delay" the release of its recently completed new album, "Persona Non Grata", "so that when Tom has defeated this, he will be back to full strength to hit the road and pummel his drums like only he can! When he has kicked cancer's ass like we know he will, we will resume kicking YOUR asses with the sickest record yet!" he said.
The squamous cell carcinoma of the stomach is a very uncommon entity, with worldwide incidence of 0.04% to 0.07% of all gastric cancers.
"Persona Non Grata" will be the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out", which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers' first release since the departure of the group's lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
"Persona Non Grata" was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap.