Five months ago, Dan Hill—award-winning singer, songwriter and author—was backstage, 30 minutes away from performing a concert, when he got a call on his cellphone. “Dan, you have cancer,” said his doctor. “Prostate cancer.”
He went on stage and spent the next two hours singing as though he might never sing again. Or so he was told. “It was almost like going into a black hole. I don’t remember anything.”
In the April 16 issue of Maclean’s magazine and reproduced in this e-book special, Hill has written a candid and moving account of what it’s really like to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“The first nurse speaks with a strong accent. ‘Compared to when you were 18, how hard are your erections now?’ I squirm and confess I can’t recall.” Maclean’s visited Hill at his home in Toronto to talk more about his experience of cancer. “Imagine,” says Hill, “that someone said, ‘You can have 10 more years, live a full life—meaning sex life—or you can have 30 more years, but you may not have a sexual life in a typical sense.’ What a decision to make.”
He says he wanted to write the article for “men like me who are oblivious. Don’t make the mistakes I made and just ignore it.” Recovered from surgery now, he’s running and performing concerts. “One of the things I did to make myself feel better is that I kicked up my running even more. I knew that I had to stay active, that I had to keep living as if my life was actually going to unfold naturally because when you stop, when you freeze, and you think about it, that’s when the demons come and can drag you down.”
In a special iPad extra, Maclean’s presents the in-depth feature story, an exclusive video portrait, a medical primer from a leading prostate-cancer doctor and a new song, The Slightest Difference, by the award-winning singer-songwriter—available in the Maclean’s magazine app.