Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling often was outspoken during and after his highly successful major league career. However, he has become very quiet in the last year or so.
That’s in large part because Schilling has been battling cancer, a development he announced in February. Other than the announcement — and an appearance at a Red Sox game earlier in the summer — Schilling has been very private during his fight.
Schilling opened up about his struggles Wednesday, though, as he stopped at the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon for an appearance on WEEI radio.
The former All-Star revealed he was diagnosed with mouth cancer and believes his longtime chewing tobacco habit is the biggest reason. Schilling realized something might be wrong upon finding a lump on his neck, and he eventually was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in February.
“You know what the amazing thing was? And I was just dumbfounded by it,” Schilling said. “You’ve just been told you have cancer and you walk out into the public and the world’s still going on, and it was really a challenge to wrap my head around that. My second thought was, ‘Yeah, really, you think I can handle this, too?’ So after a couple of tests, I got sent over to Brigham and Women’s and Dana-Farber, and that’s where I met Dr. Haddad and the amazing team of people that got me through my treatment.”
Schilling also spoke about two reasons why he kept his battle with cancer so private, until now.
“No. 1, I didn’t want to get into the chewing tobacco debate, which I knew was going to come about, which to me, I’ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got,” he said. “… Absolutely, no question in my mind about that.
“And the second thing was I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I didn’t want the pity or any of that stuff because early on. … I ended up spending about six months in the hospital because I had a bad reaction. I had a staph infection. I had what’s called C. diff. I had a couple different problems, and there was a week there, there’s a week of my life I don’t remember while I was in the hospital going through this.”
See more in Schilling’s interview with “Dennis and Callahan” in the videos below.