PRETTY MAIDS Singer RONNIE ATKINS Is Living His Life In Three-Month Intervals After Stage Four Cancer Diagnosis
July 13, 2022
PRETTY MAIDS singer Ronnie Atkins, who is battling stage four cancer, spoke about his condition during a new interview with Chaoszine conducted on July 8 at the Sauna Open Air in Tampere, Finland. Regarding his prognosis. Ronnie said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't know about my own situation. I'm living in intervals of three months — from scan to scan. You never know what's gonna happen. I never know what they're gonna tell me next time I turn up. I feel okay now, but it can happen pretty fast sometimes. The red light's been flashing a couple of times. They didn't find anything. The last two years I've been cancer-free, so to speak. It's still there; I've got metastasis in my bones — it's spread to the bone now, which is very bad. But I had immunotherapy for two years, which is probably why I'm still here. Now I'm not getting any treatments. I'm just saying that the future is very unpredictable."
Atkins went on to say that he is battling "constant pain issues" but added, "I've got 20 pills a day to keep it under control. It's nerve damage from the surgery and all the radiation therapy. Everything comes with a price. But [at least] I'm alive."
Asked how long he thinks he can keep recording music and touring, Atkins said: "I'm happy every day I can open up my eyes. That's just the conditions of my life now. The cancer thing is totally a game changer, not just for me but for my family too. It's there 24-7 in your subconscious. But I feel good. It's not that I'm whining all the time or anything like that. I just go ahead and try to live my life as I used to, as much as I can. And that's it. It's not that I'm sitting [and saying], 'I've got half a year left.' I don't know how [long I have]. I'm not terminal. I just take it as it comes, really. That's all I can do."
He continued: "If you read the statistics, four or five percent [of the people with my type of cancer] are alive after five years. That's not really good. I'm on my third year now. So I try not to think about that. As I say, I take it as it comes."
Regarding how much of his daily thought process is occupied by his cancer battle, Ronnie said: "It's in your subconscious, 'cause you get reminded every day. Now I'm doing an interview with you, and we're talking about it. So I can never really let it go. I might meet somebody at the grocery store [and they ask you], 'Hey, how are you doing?' and stuff like that. You go on the Internet, and somebody died of cancer. You get constantly reminded about it. So that, of course… it's a bit of a dagger hanging above your head. But it is what is, and I can't change that. I'm alive."
Ronnie previously opened up about his cancer battle in a March 2022 interview with "The Bay Ragni Show". Reflecting on how he was first diagnosed with the disease, Ronnie said: "When I first got it… I knew there was something wrong during the summer of 2019. I had back issues for years, but I had this kind of non-pain, strange pain. It's something you know yourself if there's something wrong. My mother had the same thing, and she died of it. I was 22, actually; my mother was 57. So I went to the doctor, and he said, 'I think you just struck a nerve or something.' I said, 'We should check it out.' And they sent me off. And then, the very same day, they said they found a spot in the lungs. Then I had to go through the whole thing. I had two biopsies, having a needle stuck into my lungs. It was just a very bad experience."
He continued: "I'd been smoking for 40 years at the time — or 35 years at that time. I actually quit smoking, but I'd been a heavy smoker for years. And I also had my share of alcohol; that's no secret. And those two things combined is deadly. But I lived a fucking rock and roll life. I don't regret my life, because I had a great life; I had a great run. And that's also what some of the songs [on my solo albums] are all about. We take everything for granted. That's what life is all about. That's what we do — when we're good and we're healthy — and that's the way it should be; we shouldn't walk around thinking about death. So when I finally was told it was cancer, I wasn't surprised. But then again, I had some panic attacks. It took me a long time to kind of cope with it. But music helped me through it."
Asked if it's difficult for him to talk about his cancer battle now, Atkins said: "When I did [my] 'One Shot' [solo] album [in 2020], it's maybe a little bit more emotional and melancholic and reflecting than [my latest] album ['Make It Count'] is, but this album is as well 'cause it's still in my head. But I was kind of weak when I did that album in the summer of 2020. When we did this one. I kind of learned how to cope with it — if you can ever learn to cope with it. You've just gotta be realistic and say, 'Okay, it is what it is.' I can't change that. I can just hope that science can prolong my life as much as possible. I do everything I can myself… Well, I don't. I train every day. I still have a glass of wine and a beer and stuff like that. I don't smoke anymore, of course. So I hope that with the help of the higher powers and the good doctors and science that I'll be allowed some more years in life 'cause I've got a lot more to offer.
"I'm very realistic about the situation, so I can talk to people," he explained. "People come and say to me, 'But you look good.' I had immunotherapy and that kind of fucked things up in my body, but I was never really sick from the chemo and the radiation and the immunotherapy. Sometimes I was, but basically when I look at a lot of other people with cancer, I've been very fortunate. So I basically have been feeling good — as good as I can."
After being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019, the now-57-year-old Atkins underwent at least 33 radiation and four chemotherapy treatments in the fall of that year before being declared cancer-free. In October 2020, he announced that his cancer had returned.
In a 2013 interview with Myglobalmind, Atkins joked that the secret to keeping his voice in shape was "twenty cigarettes a day and little drink now and then."
Formed in early 1982 by Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer, PRETTY MAIDS' third album, 1987's "Future World", is still today regarded as a "classic."
During the ensuing years, PRETTY MAIDS continued to release albums usually followed by European and Japanese tours.
PRETTY MAIDS' latest album, "Undress Your Madness", came out in November 2019 via Frontiers Music Srl.
"Make It Count" was released in March via Frontiers Music Srl.
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