Eddie Montgomery of the country duo Montgomery Gentry thought he was only getting a sore hip checked out when his doctor spotted a "shadow" on his X-ray. It turned out to be prostate cancer.
The singer was diagnosed in November, a time he describes as one of the most frightening of his life. But he was able to have the tumor surgically removed.
"When you hear the `C' word, you don't believe it," said Montgomery, who is a father of three. "You don't know how bad it is. I thought about my kids. It was tough to hear that I had gotten cancer. But we were able to find the cancer in its very early stage and had it removed. ... I'm glad I got tested early enough before it was too late."
Now as a cancer survivor, the 47-year-old Montgomery and partner Troy Gentry want to bring awareness to the disease through a free concert. The concert is after the Atlanta Braves-Texas Rangers game on Sunday in support of Major League Baseball's contest, "My Dad, My MVP."
Prostate cancer survivors who registered through the Braves' website are able to attend the game for free. As part of Father's Day, the platinum-selling group will take part in an on-field ceremony for the "My Dad, My MVP" winner.
"I'm a huge fan of these guys," said Braves second baseman Dan Uggla, who said he'll stick around to watch the concert. "Now that I know these guys, I'm proud to say that I'm friends with these guys. They're very genuine. I hope the people at the concert will be able to grasp their message."
Montgomery initially wasn't at the doctor's office for himself. He visited a bone specialist to seek treatment for his son, who broke a few bones in his shoulder after he wrecked his off-road vehicle.
While his son was being examined, Montgomery told the doctor that he had some soreness in his hip. So the doctor offered to give him an X-ray, and Montgomery said the doctor saw a "shadow" in his results and urged him to immediately see his doctor.
Making matters worse, his wife, Tracy, filed for divorce almost three weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis came on his birthday.
"I hope nobody goes through what I went through," Montgomery said. "At the time, life kind of sucked. But knowing that I'm 100 percent cancer-free, life is just fine."
With Montgomery now a cancer survivor, he has preached to his family and friends about the importance of getting prostate exams.
He's already encouraged the 44-year-old Gentry to get screened for the disease.
"You think sometimes it might not happen to you," Gentry said. "But when it happens to somebody close to you, it definitely helped push the button for me to get in there and make an appointment. I'm not worried because I saw how strong Eddie was."
Montgomery Gentry: http://montgomerygentry.com
Major League Baseball: http://MLB.com/mvpdad
Atlanta Braves: http://braves.com/pcawareness
Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MrLandrum31