saafir_homepage.jpgRAPPER: a.k.a Saafir
ILLNESS: Spinal tumor detected in 2005
PROGNOSIS: Possible paralysis by age 45 if it had been left untreated
CURRENT STATUS: Prior to his operation, Saafir recorded his fourth full-length album, Good Game, and continues to perform and pursue acting. He still experiences persistent numbness in his limbs but should make a full recovery with rehab.

Back in 2000, I started noticing that I was going numb in my legs, under my armpits and stomach. I done been through a few things—car and motorcycle accidents, shot twice and stabbed—so I thought my body was just giving out on me, and I ignored it. But the reality of the situation was that I had a tumor in my spine that was blocking the fluid from my brain that goes down to the nerve endings to the limbs.
My stupid ass waited like five years before I went to get checked out. I was like, "Yo, I'm numb. I can't feel this. I can't feel that.” So the doctors took an MRI and found the tumor. It was about the size of a bullet and was in the upper part of my spine, like right in the back of my neck.

The doctor told me I was gonna lose feeling after the surgery and there was a 50/50 chance I might not walk again. It took me nine months to decide to go through with it. The surgery took seven hours, but because I left it unchecked for so long, my spinal cord was damaged. You have a gang of nerves in your neck…and I'm numb now from the chest down, but it gets progressively better over time. I've only been out of the hospital for a few months.

To read the entire version of Saafir story and the other Soul Survivors, pick up the July/Aug ‘07 issue of KING on newsstands now!