Revolver magazine is hosting the first part of an in-depth interview with guitarist/vocalist Adam "Negal "Darski of Polish extreme metal veterans BEHEMOTH. In it, he talks about his battle with leukemia, his current health status, and everything he went through. A couple of excerpts follow below.
Revolver: When did you know you had a health problem?
Nergal: I believe it was in June. It was right before we left on a European tour with DECAPITATED. I just started having goosebumps all over my head, and I didn't know the origin of it. I thought it was some kind of skin disease. I was thinking maybe I brought it from some exotic country. I was in Japan before, and I was in Australia a few months earlier. But I was fine, I just had these bumps on my head and diarrhea. All the time it was diarrhea, and it was kind of suspicious. But I just took it easy and was kind of like, OK, maybe this is going to go away. Maybe it's the shitty food on tour. I came back to Poland after the tour, and then I left for Greece for vacation two days later. It was really hot there, but I was having fevers every day. Every time I'd wake up every morning, my whole bed would be covered in water. It was sweat all over, and I was just getting weaker and weaker every day. I was like, Shit, this is something serious. I need to take care of it [as soon as possible]. When I was still in Greece, I started calling doctors and surgeons. They said, "Without blood tests, we can't tell you anything." So after I came back from Greece I felt kind of shitty, and I had breathing problems. And I decided, I have to go to the hospital immediately. So I went to the hospital as soon as I performed at two concerts. I did one with BEHEMOTH and one as a guest vocal with some band. They hardly happened because I was in such bad shape. But somehow I did it. I faked a lot. I couldn't fucking sing, but I faked it. After that, I just traveled across the country and just went to the hospital. After three or four days in the hospital, they moved me to another hospital where they diagnosed me with leukemia.
Revolver: You were in the hospital for a long time waiting for a marrow donor. How were you feeling while you were waiting?
Nergal: Basically, I didn't feel that bad. I had some OK periods, and I had some shitty periods. It depends. When I was on steroids, it was OK. It was bearable. The only problem was I made a lot of energy because of the steroids that I took, so I had to eat a lot and I was growing fat. My face changed and everything. I was just so full of water. It was scary to look in the mirror in the morning. But other than that, I was doing OK. When they gave me chemo, I took it pretty well. There was no side effects. Some of the chemo caused some shitty days. I could hardly walk, but it could have been much worse. Seeing other patients and people dying and stuff, man, I was really lucky. My sickness was an aggressive form — it was very fast, it was invading my body rapidly. But at the same time, my body reacted really, really well to the chemo. So basically after the first dose, the cancer was 50-percent gone. My bone marrow was just a few percent of the cancerous cells that were left in the bone marrow. The doctors were very, very optimistic about the way it was developing and the way of the cure. And I was optimistic, too. It took me six months altogether, with the chemotherapy and the radiotherapy and the transplant to get healthy basically — to get new bone marrow and go back home and start recovery. It was really fast in compared to other patients and other cases. It was fast.
In tomorrow's portion of the Revolver interview, Nergal will talk about his recovery and how his BEHEMOTH bandmates and then-fiancée helped him out. He will also talk about the band's future plans for its 20th anniversary.
Read the entire first part of the interview at the Revolver web site.