STRYPER's MICHAEL SWEET Opens Up About His Thyroid Cancer Battle: 'It Changes Your Outlook On Life'

November 27, 2023

In a new interview with Real Music With Gary Stuckey, Michael Sweet of Christian rockers STRYPER spoke about his upcoming partial thyroidectomy, the surgery to remove part of his thyroid gland. It is the most common surgery for thyroid cancer. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The highest risk with this particular surgery is damage to the vocal nerve. I'm a singer, so I'm going into the surgery with a high risk of vocal nerve damage, which could alter my voice for the rest of my life. I am in the best hands, Mass Eye And Ear [in Boston]. I've found a specialist who specializes in singers and professionals and not damaging the nerve. The risk is much lower with this particular doctor because he uses this monitoring system to bring that risk way down from 25 or [2]6 percent down to one percent. So, I feel that I'm in good hands. They're gonna remove half of my thyroid and leave the other half, because this side has not grown large enough to biopsy; this did and it wound up being cancer. And they're gonna remove that side. It's a slow-growing cancer. I'm at a good stage right now, so it should be okay."

He added: "We'll see how that goes. I've gotta sleep sitting up for a while and get through whatever pain there is to endure and take some Tylenols and call 'em in the morning — you know, that whole thing. And I'm hoping that my voice is better when it's over and done with."

Asked how he thinks his cancer battle will affect his songwriting, Sweet said: "I'm gonna start writing. I was gonna start about a week ago, but I was just so busy doing this little acoustic run. And then now we have Thanksgiving and the Christmas show. So I'm gonna take the weekend off and next Monday, I'm gonna start writing the STRYPER album. I'm gonna write a song every day and I'll work on 'em and tweak 'em as much as I can. My surgery prep is [December] 14th and then surgery on the 15th. So I'll have that perfect window to get it done. After I'm done with the surgery, I'll be working on lyrics and melodies and whatnot as best I can. He said I should be able to sing within two months, but I think it's gonna definitely affect my writing. I'm gonna be thinking and certainly locking in mentally to all sorts of things going through my head, 'cause it changes your outlook on life."

He continued: "When you hear the 'C' word and it applies to you, no matter what kind it is or how serious it is, it's continually going through your head, your own mortality. And are you gonna be around longer or shorter —all these thoughts go through your head. And it puts things in perspective in terms of what's important and what's not — real fast."

STRYPER is the first overtly Christian metal band to go mainstream. The group's name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."

Formed in 1983 as ROXX REGIME, STRYPER's albums include "To Hell With The Devil", "Second Coming", "No More Hell To Pay", "Fallen", "Even The Devil Believes" and the band's latest effort, "The Final Battle".

Michael is joined in STRYPER by his brother Robert Sweet (drums),Oz Fox (guitars) and Perry Richardson (bass).

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