Denison Man Still Singing During Cancer Battle - - No One Gets You Closer

Denison Man Still Singing During Cancer Battle


DENISON, TX -- A local musician says he is in the fight of his life against a rare cancer, but he is waging the war with the help of two friends.

Denison resident J.D. Massengale loves the feeling he gets playing to a crowd, but he says a one-on-one with his doctor left him reeling. "The general practitioner said, 'I want to take a look at this, this looks kind of odd and six weeks later I'm in surgery,'" says Massengale.

"My mom called me and said, 'He's hurting. He's got cancer,'" says son Chase Carpenter.

Massengale says last November, he was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma, a rare muscle tissue cancer, and at one point it squeezed a bile duct, leaving him in a wheelchair for two months.

"I was down, I couldn't sing, I couldn't get out of bed," says Massengale. "My family had to help me in every aspect of life. You know, we take a lot for granted."

Massengale says one of his favorite things is performing with his local band Willy Kickit. They have been together for almost 30 years and they have a performance just about every week, including Sherman's annual city Halloween event.

"Our attitude has been and continues to be he's going to beat it and we're going to help him," says band member Mark Duvall.

By day, the three band members lead different lives, with Massengale commuting to Dallas to work for an eye doctor, but on the weekend, they perform. "I've spent more time with these guys than I have my daughter and my wife," says band member Joe Bob Jones. "On a yearly basis, we're every weekend, hours, fun times, and, it's like losing family."

Massengale says the tumor wrapped around his aorta and surgery will not help, but he hopes to find a treatment to stop its growth. In the meantime, he says singing, and the presence of friends, helps him survive. "I can spend an hour on this stage and it would be better than six weeks of therapy at some counselor," says Massengale.