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Thaao Penghlis Reveals His Brush With Cancer To GH’s Maurice Benard

The DAYS actor told the GH star some big health news and discussed his new podcast.

maurice benard and thaao penghlis on state of mind.Thaao Penghlis guested for a second time.

It is not surprising that General Hospital’s Maurice Benard invited his former GH co-star Thaao Penghlis back for another episode of his video podcast, State Of Mind. The veteran actor, who has more recently called Days of our Lives home, is a gifted speaker and talented storyteller. What is surprising is the number of revelations that came from their sitdown.

Thaao Penghlis: When Life Prepares You

Benard has been very open about his struggle with mental health since the Covid lockdown. He just aired a very special State Of Mind a few weeks ago detailing how close he had come to ending it all and what stopped him. Penghlis (ex-Victor; Tony DiMera, DAYS) was facing his own secret brush with death: The big C.

Thrice nominated for a Daytime Emmy, the accomplished actor disclosed that a trip to his native Australia during Covid turned out to be lifesaving for him. “What I wanted to talk about today, something I haven’t even told my producers,” he shared,  “is that while everybody was going through Covid, I went home to Australia to see my family. I knew there was something off. You can sense your body. So, when I came back, I went to the doctor. They took tests, and I had cancer.”

He took the news in stride. “I thought, well, my mother had cancer, and my sisters have had cancer. I have led a very healthy life, so it didn’t throw me at first.”  Upon more thought, he realized the enormity of what could come next. “What threw me was what I had to go through. It was colorectal cancer. Colon cancer. I was in stage one, ready to go into stage two.” 

Days of our Lives had gone dark because of the pandemic, so he was resting at home. “One morning, I woke up and, after doing six weeks of radiation, I had lost 50 pounds. Friends of mine were shocked when they saw me,” he divulged. The actor chose to flip the switch and take a philosophical approach. “I really didn’t think it was something that wasn’t going to rectify itself, but I thought to myself, ‘What is the purpose of this? What was this pause in my life? What is the purpose of me, and where am I going?’” 

Penghlis shared with Benard the moment the light went off in his head. “You know, you lie in bed, and you can’t do much physically. I didn’t look in the mirror very often because when you are that thin, and I had never been that thin, and the phone rang, and I had been nominated for Best Actor [Daytime Emmys 2020]. I thought, ‘That’s interesting.’ And, suddenly, I realized that I still had things to do.”

Finding The Strength From Within

The host and mental health advocate asked the actor if the thought of cancer scared him, and Penghlis didn’t miss a beat with his response. “No, it’s funny. I have two fantastic friends who met me every morning to take me to the hospital because I ended up having to be in a wheelchair,” he continued, revealing more of his ordeal. “I would crack jokes while I was getting ready to go do the drugs. And I didn’t get scared at all. At this point, I was just thinking, ‘How have you lived? What have you sustained within yourself so that when I am lying there, and everyone is worried about Covid, and I never got Covid, but I have this. And how do I deal with this?’”

He fell back on his 40 years of meditation to get him through and keep him balanced. “I had a strong deposition. I never felt fear. I never felt afraid.”

Thaao Penghlis Brings An Epic Tale To Life

The brilliant pair cover so much ground in under an hour that you may have to take notes. Besides the sage one-liners of self-help that Penghlis delivered with ease, the two covered the problem of suicide today, how one’s ego gets in the way of spiritual evolution, and even touched on the problem with politics and world leaders today.

Penghlis covered his world travels, brushes with death, his love of history, old Hollywood, and stories of his past with Robert Redford, Omar Sharif, Jane Seymour, and Charlton Heston. Most importantly, the actor announced the details of his new podcast show, The Lost Treasures, which plays out like a detective series looking into the history behind the Iliad and the Odyssey through the eyes of German archeologist Heinrich Schliemann, whose discoveries brought the classic poems to life. The podcast is being released on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Google, and iHeartRadio today. Don’t miss a minute of this episode!

Fans can follow Thaao Penghlis on Twitter and Instagram. To follow State Of Mind and subscribe, go to YouTubeInstagram, and Twitter. Fans can now purchase inspirational merchandise for Benard’s State Of Mind. Check it out.

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