We want to Thank Christian musician/producer/actor, Carman, for taking the time to do an interview with us.
What was your initial reaction once you got your diagnosis?
"The whole room goes white, like a flash went off. All the colors left the room and all the sound left the room. It's when they mention the word cancer, its like a shock, like the shocker of shocks. It takes a while to hear anything for it to set in like that."
Once you got over the initial shock, what were thoughts then?
"I wasn't too upset, I didn't get depressed, I didn't get anxiety ridden, I didn't cry. I didn't really feel anything, I may have just been sort of numb, almost like the calm you get when you're in a tragedy, everybody else is going crazy and you have to maintain your head. It's like a supernatural anesthetic and I just started to think about, well heres what I have to do. I have to call this one, I have to call that one, I can't let my mother find out about this because she's in the hospital and she's 90 years old and I just had to think through all the practical things. And um, you know, what's my life gonna be like between now and then. all of a sudden you have a deadline, there is a weird comforting factor that I didn't anticipate knowing when you think the end is gonna be, you know, like there are certain things you don't have to think about any more, um, some things in the future, or about your retirement, or family issues that are kinda just gone. There's a weird sense of calm that comes with that, but on the flip side of that, you've just been given a death sentence from someone that knows what they are talking about."
When you told your family the news of your diagnosis, what was that moment like, if you don't mind?
"Everybody was pretty cool, it was that same shock factor. I think most of them fell apart after that, I don't think they wanted me to see."
You described your diagnosis as your new battle, why did you describe it that way?
"Well I just assumed it was a battle, because the devil has been trying to take me out for a long time. I've been in several car wrecks, near fatal scenarios, and I've avoided it all many times. So it's just like a new battle for me, because either way your gonna have to fight to live, you've now, if you wanna live, your gonna have to fight for it, here is no way around it."
Where do you get your toughness from? You seem to have handled this really well since you announced it.
"I grew up in New Jersey, in a really rough neighborhood and you have to get tough or die, thats for sure. You know when I went to school, the first day of school, your not thinking about your classes, or who your teachers are, or where your home room is. You're looking around thinking of who you have to fight or beat up to send a message for the rest of the year to leave you alone. Thats the first thing you look at and I had to do that probably 8 years in a row. Every year it was the same thing, so you learn how to get tough. There is a little savage inside of you that has to come out in order to survive the rest of the year."
So you've always been a fighter, this is nothing new?
"Yea, I don't know if id say a fighter, maybe more of a scrapper (laughs). I have a really high regard for guys that are fighters. I've been around a lot of professional boxers and guys that are in the UFC and MMA, cage fighters. There is a lot of discipline and sportsmanship that goes along with fighters that scrappers don't have, so I might be more of a scrapper (laughs)."
You definitely seem to have a fighters spirit.
"Yea, I would have loved to be a fighter. When I was 16 years old, I was boxing at a police athletic league and I wanted to be...I wanted to be a fighter. I really wanted to be a professional prize fighter.
I gotta ask then, how good were you?
"Well I never lost, but you know, of course, you step up competition and you start to get beat up, but um, I did really well. I had a real knack for it, I had real good instincts, you know. When I would get hurt, I would always fire back twice as hard, so the instincts for a fighter was really good. I had a natural arc and movement to my punches that was just sort of inbreed I guess with just having to fight my whole life since I was you know 5 or 6 years old. So that was really instinct for me. I felt really good about it. I trained in Jusitu for a while with the guys that started UFC, I trained with them and I really enjoyed it. And then you know, every once and a while that thing would surface and you would think it was out of you and it's still there."
How impressed and how happy have you been with the support you have received from your fan base?
"I was in shock. It seems like they were writing about somebody else. I certainly didn't expect it, actually the only reason I put something up there was because I didn't want my mother to find out because she was in the hospital and she's real alert and sharp. I had a preacher friend call me who I guess knew one of my nieces who happened to tell him. He called me up and said, "hey I heard that you got cancer" and I was like "well who told you?" and I realized that for whatever reason this news was starting to spread. I guess if you don't give news like that a direction, people don't hear from you they start imagining that its all sorts of stuff. that you're dying and your in the hospital and your hanging upside down and your bleeding and your terminal with days to live.
I didn't want anything to start effecting places i was going to be ministering and I didn't want my mother to find out from another source other than me. so I just felt like I needed to straighten it out. so I went on Facebook and just thought i would put up a post. I thought well, ill get a couple hundred posts of people saying they will pray for me and things like that. then next day I came back to check it and there was a couple thousand comments and I'm like "what?". I had to look at it a several times, I was thinking this was impossible. There hadn't been a couple thousand comments on anything I've done the past 10 years(laughs). Then surely enough, it keep going, 3,000, 5,000, 10,000, 15,000... the only thing I can say is that I felt God doing something because its usually extraordinary or over the top and it has nothing to do with who I am or my effect on people or my quality or life or how spiritual I am. Whenever God is doing something, he does it in such a way so that you have to look to him and say "what are you doing?" so it looked to me that God was doing something. I thought well maybe there is some ministry in this then because if He's doing something and it's with me, then there is only one logical conclusion is that there is some aspect of ministry to be had. So I just started to view it that way and started to be very selective about the posts that I put up and just to be totally honest, whatever they (Drs.) told me, thats what I told the people. I never thought that people would be interested in my personal stuff, I just didn't think it would be of any interest to anybody, you know, its boring stuff. so I started to put personal stuff and there and they were more interested then I thought they would be thats for sure. so its a shocker to me, its almost like its somebody else's blog, not mine."
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Do you think that this is bigger than you, that God is using you to send a bigger message to the world through you?
"Well I don't know yet, its not like I'm cured. Its not like I've got a cure for cancer and I'm telling the world, cause I'm not. I'm right at the beginning stages of all of this. So I don't know what that message is gonna be.
Is your diagnosis gonna slow your schedule down at all?
"Well thats a good question. I just have to be mindful of what I eat and how much rest I get. I have to get enough sleep or my immune system is shot to pieces and i get viruses really quick. so that will knock me out, make me ineffective and not be able to be out on the road. so I just have to make sure that my immune system is beginning to reverse to whatever degree i can do it and to maintain a good sleep schedule and to increase my exercise schedule as well because i have to build up my cardio because i found out I have a genetic heart condition.
Gonna ask you to define a couple of words for us.
"Faith is the absence of fear."
"Courage is having faith to do what you know you're supposed to do, but your scared to death and you do it anyways."
"Toughness, a guy that keeps get ing up after being knocked down, a guy that refuses to stay down."
By that definition would you define yourself as tough?
"Well i guess I'm going to find out how tough i really am"
Final question, what is next for you? What projects do you have working on?
"well right now, we don't have any plans because we have been a little busy getting treatments. I would think that you just have to think like your enemy thinks. So if I was the devil, and I managed to do whatever I could to see to it that I got cancer, my #1 purpose would be to shut me down for what I do most effective which is make music, make music that glorifies God and get me to stop doing what I've done that has wreaked so much damage for the kingdom of darkness. So I guess what I plan on doing then is making more music."