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Battling Terminal Cancer, Robin Rogers Gives Thanks

Robin Rogers is a blues singer in Charlotte, N.C. Her new album, Back in the Fire, is a hit, making its debut high on Billboard's blues chart. But music hasn't been her primary focus in recent months. Rogers has a cancerous tumor in her liver, and doctors have told her she has a year to live.

"Every day is different," she tells NPR's Scott Simon. "If anyone's been on chemotherapy, they know how dreadful it is."

This fall, some friends and musicians threw a benefit concert for her. Like a lot of musicians, she has no health insurance to cover her care in a hospice. The concert was a huge outpouring of love and support.

Rogers' background could have come from a blues song. She was a teenage runaway who slept in abandoned cars and abused alcohol and drugs. She says she's been sober for 20 years, and that the 12-step program that helped her as an alcoholic is helping her with her new struggle.

"I'm trying to come at it from all angles: spiritual and physical and mental," Rogers says. "It’s a lot for a person to be told they have a year to live. I catch myself thinking about the past and looking to the future."

Her husband, Tony Rogers, has been caring for her. She says he's become unemployed as a result, but that his presence has been a tremendous help.

"I would want no one else there," she says. "He's my everything."

She wrote the album before her diagnosis, and several of its songs have taken on different meanings for her since, including "The Plan" and its pointed refrain, "Everything is going as planned."

"It's pretty much true," Rogers says of the song. "I bought a house here in the Charlotte area 20 years ago, I got a lot of friends and I'm very blessed."

The singer-songwriter has experienced a surreal mix of highs and lows within the past year, but she says she's moving on to the next one stronger and wiser.

"I've learned that time is fleeting," she says. "You need to do everything you can do while you have a chance."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.