Howard Stern’s upcoming book consists primarily of past celebrity interviews. But in an exclusive first look of Howard Stern Comes Again, the Shock Jock opens up like never before.
In the 550-page book obtained by Radar, Stern, 65, revealed his biggest fear when he first learned he could have cancer: losing his hair.
"About a year before, in 2016, I had gone for my annual physical," he wrote. "Same doctor I go to all the time. I'm used to him saying, 'Everything's good. You take really good care of yourself. I wish all my patients were like you,’” he wrote. "This time he said to me, “'Everything's go—‘ Then he did a double-take at my chart and said, “'Whoa, whoa, whoa.’" I said, 'What's whoa, whoa, whoa?? You're scaring me.'"
The doctor told Stern, 65, that his white blood cell count was too low and to reevaluate in a month.
"A month went by and we rechecked it, and it was even lower," Stern admitted. "The doctor said, 'Look, I don't want you to worry, but why don't you see this doctor at Sloan Kettering."
Stern revealed he panicked, realizing Sloan Kettering is a hospital that focuses on cancer treatment.
Stern explained, "The Sloan Kettering doctor did another blood test and my white blood cell count was even lower than last time. This doctor said, 'Well, there's nothing we need to do right now, but if it gets any lower, we could always give you a round of chemo.'"
“‘Chemo?!" I said. 'Oh my God. This is crazy,” Stern recalled.
The radio host decided to reach out to Dr. David Agus from California for his medical opinion. Dr. Agus explained how the Radio Mogul's mercury level could be high because he stopped eating meat and ate more fish.
"I cut down on fish, and my mercury level began to drop. After a few months my white blood cells went up," Stern explained. "I was so relieved that Dr. Agus thought of this. If not for him, I might have been at Sloan Kettering hooked up to a slow drip of chemo and deprived of my Samson-like mane."
He continued, ”Certainly I know that losing my hair would not be the worst part of chemo, but just imagine my face with a bald head. Not a pleasant thought. My hair has always been the lone redeeming quality of my appearance. Hardcore fans know I have really nice feet, but what good does that do to me? No one ever sees those. I need my hair."
Stern explained that despite rumors, he doesn’t wear a wig or use hair dye.
“A full head of dark, luscious curls is the only natural gift I've ever possessed, and I wasn't ready to give it up, so needless to say I was incredibly grateful to Dr. Agus,” he said.
Fortunately for Stern, it turned out to be a cyst on his kidney that would later be removed through surgery.
Stern revealed that he had planned to do the show that morning, but then the surgeon called informing him he could take him in earlier.
"On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, I missed a day of work and I remember the date exactly because I never miss work," Stern wrote. "Even when I was on the air in Detroit, I would drive through ten feet of snow to get down to the radio station. It didn't matter. I got to work every day."
He continued of why he chose not to discuss the medical issue on-air.
“One of the things about being on the radio is, if you mention anything, people start to call in on the air,” he explained. “One of the things about being on the radio is, if you mention anything, people start to call in with all sorts of similar stories. 'Kidney surgery? Oh, yeah my brother went in for that...' And the stories never end well. The person always dies. The power of suggestion is something that overtakes me. I'm very susceptible to this kind of amateurish speculation. I didn't want to hear any of that."
Stern would later return to work the following Monday, telling fans he just took a sick day off.
"I went back in to work Monday morning and every day after, but that surgery knocked me on my a**,” he wrote. “It really walloped me. I had seven scars from the incisions, and it took me a full year to get back to feeling normal, to get to the point where I could start moving comfortably."
He continued, ”It wasn't just the pain, it was the fear. I never had any kind of health scare, and I certainly never spent a lot of time thinking about my death. Even now part of me feels that way — like there's no way the world could continue without me — but as you start to get older and your body begins to break down, it does get you thinking about your legacy, what you'll leave behind, what you're proud of."
Stern's book is set to hit shelves on Tuesday, May 14 and is on sale for pre-order now.