After Carman took to Facebook to share news of his cancer diagnosis on Valentine’s Day, his fans immediately started showing the artistic evangelist God’s love.
Nearly 12,000 people offered prayers, testimonies and tearful comments on Carman’s Facebook page that told the world, “One week ago I was diagnosed with Myeloma Cancer.” The flood of support touched his heart—and inspired the 57-year-old to fight harder than ever to fulfill his God-given destiny despite taking what Satan designed as a fatal blow.
Carman, who has recorded 15 gold and platinum albums and videos and has sold more than 10 million records, talked to Charisma Publisher Steve Strang and Charisma News Editor Jennifer LeClaire Monday afternoon in an exclusive interview that offers insights into his emotions—and his battle plan—after his sudden cancer diagnosis.
“There is no cure,” says Carman, who received news on Feb. 7 that his life expectancy is three to five years. “I just went in for a bone biopsy. They took eight vials of blood. On March 4, I’m having a three-day examination to find out how deep I am into this and what the best treatment is.”
Carman was diagnosed with myeloma. According to the American Society of Hematology, myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce disease- and infection-fighting antibodies in the body. Myeloma cells prevent the normal production of antibodies, leaving Carman’s immune system weakened and susceptible to infection. Treatment options depend on the type and stage of myeloma, but include chemotherapy, anemia drugs, radiation therapy, stem cell transplants and drugs that target specific areas of the immune system.
Carman told us he knew he was sick because, well, he was getting sick at every turn. However, the singing evangelist says cancer was the last thing on his mind.
“I was catching colds for very seemingly insignificant reasons. I would sing somewhere on a Saturday night and then preach on Sunday morning. I put out 100 percent every time I get behind the pulpit. I never limit myself,” says Carman, who is known for his devil-provoking songs like Satan, Bite the Dust and Courtroom. “But I would start losing my voice halfway through Sunday morning service and I’d get very sleepy in the afternoon. By the time I got home I had a cold and by Monday morning my voice would be gone. I had laryngitis.”
When Carman went to the doctor, they gave him shots, vitamins, and various therapies to boost his energy and immune system over a four-month period. But when his red blood counts continued to decline—from 14 to 12 to 11 to 10 and finally down to 9.5—his doctor referred him to a physician at a cancer treatment center.
“People told me not to worry that it was a cancer treatment center—that this is just where the doctor practiced and it didn’t mean I had cancer,” Carman says. “I had this sinking feeling when I waked through the doors. When you go into a building that says ‘cancer treatment center,’ you have this feeling it’s not going to go well for you. And it didn’t.”
When the doctor gave him the life-changing news, Carman says everything went white. He just went blank. Everything was a blur. And then he started looking back over the last 12 years of his life …
Stay tuned for the next installment of this exclusive interview with Carman, as he shares more about his first reactions to the cancer diagnosis, how he approached his 90-year-old mother with the news, and how he’s gearing up for the spiritual battle of his lifetime.