DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell says that his work keeps him alive as he continues his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in 2013.
For the past three and a half years, Vivian has been part of a medical trial in Los Angeles, at City of Hope — one of the world's leading cancer research facilities — being treated with medication called pembrolizumab, which became FDA approved in early 2017.
Campbell, who receives pembrolizumab infusions roughly once a month, spoke about how his cancer battle during a recent interview with "Rock Hard With Jay Conroy".
He said (hear audio below): "I'm very fortunate. I found one of these new wonder drugs that's been working well for me and holding everything in place. I've been doing it almost four years, this particular drug. The hardest part about it, to be honest, is scheduling. Because I am traveling so much, I've got to schedule it in advance, and sometimes I've gotta do treatments on the East Coast as opposed to the West Coast. And that requires calling insurance companies and spinning plates.
"It's really difficult," he continued. "Over the six or so years I've been dealing with the cancer, I've flown from Singapore all the way to Los Angeles to do a treatment and then flown on to London the next day. Because I had to be in L.A. when I was doing… I was part of a clinical trial for the first two years. I had to be under their roof while I was getting treatment. So I've literally done that — flown back from London all the way to L.A. and done a treatment and going back to London that night. It's been insane — it really has been nuts — but I'm very grateful that my bandmates in DEF LEPPARD cut me a lot of slack with that. Particularly a few years ago when things were really rough and I was doing hardcore chemo. They took a chance with me — they knew I wanted to work, and that was important for my being able to deal with it, and I will always appreciate their support on that."
Vivian added: "At first, [the guys in DEF LEPPARD] wanted me to stay home and convalesce, which is a natural reaction, and you would think that most people probably would wanna do that. But for me, I always knew — I was determined to continue working, and I'm convinced that that was part of my being able to deal with it so well. But different strokes for different folks, as they say. My work keeps me alive."
Campbell, who has also performed, toured and worked with legendary artists including THIN LIZZY, DIO, WHITESNAKE, RIVERDOGS and Lou Gramm, has repeatedly said that he feels well and that his outlook is positive.
Vivian and his DEF LEPPARD bandmates were finally inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in March — 14 years after the British rockers first became eligible.