Cancer survivor continues singing career after losing jaw
OCONOMOWOC — Music is much more than a hobby for Charlie Lustman — it became his saving grace after he was diagnosed with cancer.
“I was diagnosed with a one in 400 million diagnosed cancer — osteosarcoma of the upper maxillary. That’s bone cancer in my jaw. 15 people get that a year,” Lustman said.
Lustman went through intense chemotherapy and even had his jaw removed to get rid of the cancer, but that didn’t stop him from singing.
“I came out of it, I say, better off than when I started because what doesn’t kill you makes you sing better,” Lustman said.
During his treatment and recovery, Lustman wrote a pop opera called “Made Me Nuclear.” The series of songs are about his journey becoming a cancer survivor.
“The idea here is that cancer is a possibility — to live your life today like you’ve never lived it before,” Lustman said.
Once Lustman learned how to talk and sing with his prosthetic jaw, he began traveling the world, performing for cancer patients and survivors and sharing his message of hope.
“I find him to be very inspiring, personally. His passion and exuberance is exactly what I try to go on everyday as I live in the moment moving forward after a diagnosis of cancer,” breast cancer survivor Michelle Luckiesh said.
As Lustman continues to sing and inspire people, he has also become an advocate to raise support for rare forms of cancer.
Lustman says he strongly believes it’s his positive attitude that saved him, and it can serve as the best medicine to overcome life’s biggest challenges.
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