There’s never a good time to be told you have an aggressive form of cancer, but the day before a 10-day vacation is certainly not ideal. That’s what happened to INXS guitarist Kirk Pengilly, who was diagnosed — and beat — prostate cancer earlier this year.
What’s worse: The doctor gave Pengilly the life-changing news via email, the Daily Telegraph reported. That doctor has since been replaced.
Kirk was told he’d need to have his prostate removed to keep the cancer at bay, but a food and wine tour of New Zealand Pengilly had planned with his wife, surfer Layne Beachley, went forward. Between meals and glasses of wine, Pengilly, 56, researched the prostatectomy that awaited him upon his return.
“So the whole time we were in New Zealand, every bottle of wine was my last hurrah, every meal was my last hurrah.”
Beachley, whose athletic lifestyle inspired Kirk to monitor his own health and ultimately catch his cancer, called his illness “an emotional roller-coaster, and a mental one. I think we were both in denial for the first few days. We visited every winery from Wellington to Auckland and had every bottle of rose.”
Kirk had been keeping track of his prostate-specific antigens (PSAs) since tests revealed high levels in 2012, News.com.au added. An MRI that followed showed a black spot. By February, Pengilly’s levels skyrocketed to shocking levels, telling doctors his cancer was aggressive.
Upon his return to Australian, Kirk underwent five hours of surgery to remove his prostate, the surgery performed via robotics in a procedure meant to be minimally invasive, Beachley explained.
“(The surgeons) pumped his whole cavity up with gas so they could move his organs out of the way. One of the robot arms is cauterising — cutting and burning — so he doesn’t bleed. There’s suturing. It’s pretty full on.”
The recovery is also quicker. Now, Pengilly has six small scars on his stomach, including one above his belly-button, through which the prostate was pulled out. Kirk’s lymph nodes were removed as well, to check whether it had spread. By April, he was told his cancer had been retained, and by May, got negative PSA results.
“During the bad days Kirk just accepted he was having a bad day,” Kirk’s wife said. “He just accepted it. You don’t have to be up and positive and how can I make this better? Today’s a bad day but tomorrow’s a new day.”
But recovery won’t come easy after five exhausting, emotional months for the couple. Kirk said he won’t be back to normal for another 18 months, has therapy everyday to rehab his bladder, and in a very candid detail, has to take Viagra until his erectile function returns — in a year.
Pengilly isn’t the first INXS member to go under the knife recently. As the Inquisitr previously reported, guitarist Tim Farris had his finger reattached after it was severed in a boating accident earlier this year.