Edward James Olmos Says His 'Body Gave Up' During Treatment for Throat Cancer

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"You can't swallow, you can't talk, you can't eat, you can't drink, you can't do anything,” the veteran actor said

<p>Matt Winkelmeyer/WireImage</p> Edward James Olmos

Matt Winkelmeyer/WireImage

Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos is thankful for his health.

In an interview published by the Daily Mail on Monday, May 13, the Miami Vice alum, 77, opened up about life after once thinking the worst following his throat cancer diagnosis.

“It’s going really really well, thank the Lord,” Olmos said when asked how things have been lately.

After his last treatment on Dec. 20, 2022, the two to three months that followed “were the hardest of the entire journey.”

Edward James Olmos, May 2023
Edward James Olmos, May 2023

“Once they stopped all of the chemo and all of the radiation and all the treatment is when the body gave up. And that’s when it really became difficult," he said. "But past that, into 90 days, 100 days past that, I was in much better shape and today I feel very strong.”

Olmos confessed there were “many, many times throughout the process” when the thought of giving up “entered my mind.”

Related: Edward James Olmos Reveals His Throat Cancer Diagnosis: 'It's a Very Strong Disease'

“Because you can't swallow, you can't talk, you can't eat, you can't drink, you can't do anything,” the actor said.

“This area was completely annihilated,” he added, reaching for his throat.

Olmos, who voiced the role of Chicharrón in the 2017 Disney-Pixar animated film Coco, also opened up about other uncertainties that he faced.

(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic) Edward James Olmos
(Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic) Edward James Olmos

“They told me before I started the treatments, ‘We have no idea what you’re gonna sound like,’” he said.

“It’s the treatment that usually kills you because what ends up happening [is] it weakens the body,” Olmos explained. “The chemotherapy takes out all your white blood cells and what ends up happening is you have no immune system. So if I were to ever have bad kidneys, bad heart, bad lungs, bad anything, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

The Selena actor added, “Thank God my body was okay.”

Olmos has made sure to keep his health a top priority by adjusting his lifestyle, he said.

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“The way you eat, the way you exercise, the way you sleep, basic fundamentals,” are what he now takes into consideration. “That’s the key to your life — you are what you eat and you are what you do. So if you don’t do anything, you’re not gonna be around very long.”

“But if you do stuff, you keep your body moving, you keep on stretching, you keep on doing things that most people give up — I’m close to 80, so I know I look good, but I’m old,” Olmos joked.

According to the veteran actor, he has no plans on retiring anytime soon.

“Well that’s the essence of living, you know? What’s your purpose? And I’m very grateful that I continue to work and that I’m able to do films and television and plays, theater,” Olmos added.

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