John Edwards' wife has cancer relapse and remains on the campaign trail. Good for her.

It has been all over the news this afternoon and tonight that Democratic presidential contender John Edwards' wife has been diagnosed with a relapse of breast cancer which has migrated to her bones. I'd just join in with everyone else in the blogosphere and wish them the best for a recovery.

This type of situation is pretty personal to me, as my mom went through the same thing. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after it went into remission for about 4 years or so, came back with a vengeance.

Mom fought it for about a year until it overtook her. We brought her back from the cancer treatment center in Oklahoma about a week before Thanksgiving in 2000, where she passed away surrounded by her family.

John Edwards has announced he is not suspending his campaign for president. In the best interests of his wife, I'd say "good for him."

Yes, there will be some out there who will say "he should stop and help her get well, and not to subject her to the rigors of the campaign." Sorry, that's crap.

When my mom was ill, she had to give up two things that pained her greatly. First, being a school nurse, because being exposed to a long string of sick kids when your white blood cell count is down from chemotherapy is not a good thing. Second was driving, because it made a very active and independent person homebound.

There was a third thing that she probably should have given up, but she refused to. And that was her part-time job of her auction company. She started this little business over a decade before, and being an auctioneer was her life.

My mom called two auction sales back to back on a Saturday and Sunday about two weeks before she died, both days in the drizzle of a November weekend. One week before she went onto a sickbed because of her cancer from which she never emerged. And as frail as she was, that's what made her happy.

I mention this because there may be some who say Elizabeth Edwards should go home and get well. And I think they should be slapped upside the head for their ignorance. If what Elizabeth wants is to be by her husband's side campaigning for president, then that's what she should do.

As long as it makes her happy - that's what's important.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Well Pat, I am going to disagree with you 100%
She will most likely not be part of the campaign as she would like and two she needs to be with her family and friends.
Bone cancer is painful for most i have known who had it.
I truly believe this is a bad decision on his part. It may be his dream but i don't believe that it is the right time and I will admit i would NOT vote for him.
The campaign is wrong and dare i say... never mind i won't say it.
PS I have lost a husband, father and have an ill mother now with cancer tho they didn't and don't have bone cancer.
I would never put my selfish desires/wants above someone i loved with the needs she will have to have met, now by family and strangers. Now isn't that something to look foward to!
William said…
Although I would never consider voting for John Edwards, I certainly will pray for Elizabeth. I will also pray for her children and for John Edwards as a man & a husband.

This isn't, and should not be a "political" situation, although in reality some will see it as such.

For those of us that believe in prayer, I simply ask that we pray.

For those that don't believe in prayer, I ask that they wish her the best and are supportive of whatever choices she makes.
William said…
I'm not much of a cut and paster but (from Hugh Hewitt's blog)

Thursday, March 22, 2007
Thoughts on John and Elizabeth Edwards
Posted by Dean Barnett | 5:06 PM
The first time I got bad medical news was 11 years ago. I responded what with then was (and sometimes still is) characteristic bluster. I confidently told my doctor that I would crush this little obstacle and soon resume my life as normal. My doctor back then was a young cocky guy, much like myself, who was also my friend. He fixed me with a slightly angry glare and said, “You have to come to grips with the fact that Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive disease.” As I walked out of his office that day, I muttered one word under my breath but still loud enough so he could definitely hear me: “A**hole.”


He was right, of course, and I was very wrong. And young and stupid. As I often tended to do back then, I conflated bravado with courage. Generally speaking, it was a harmless youthful personality tic. But when I was actively planning on denying reality…well, that was another matter.


Over time, as my condition worsened and got more serious, denial was no longer an option. Compromise became the order of the day. On the golf course, I used to carry my bag for 36 holes a day. First I began to take a caddy. Then a cart. Soon I was playing twice a week instead of twice a day.


On more serious matters, compromises were also necessary. When you get sick, really sick, you wind up compromising on just about everything. Your disease forces you into the habit.


I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW BAD I FEEL FOR ELIZABETH AND JOHN EDWARDS. I’m familiar with the body-blow of a sudden diagnosis that turns your world upside down. It’s incredible – you walk into a doctor’s office and within a span of minutes you find out your life will never be the same. In the back of your mind you nourish the hopes of miracle cures or that you might be like that guy in Dubuque who got the same diagnosis but oddly enough lived forever, but the reality of the situation sits there in your mind. You can’t shake it – it just won’t leave.


But you try to carry on. I think I may know some of what the Edwards are feeling. They’ve been running for the White House for seven years now. And make no mistake – as Hugh points out in his book, running for president is a family affair. It’s more than a dream and an ambition for them. It’s a big part of what defines their lives.


So they walked out of that doctor’s office refusing to let her disease take their lives away. Some people are calling their decision courageous; others find it puzzling. Having been in a situation analogous to theirs, I think I have some understanding and I know I have some sympathy. They’re working through all of this. Their first instinct is not to surrender. That’s good, and it’s what you would have expected. People who seek the presidency aren’t the types who give up or even compromise easily.


THROUGH THE YEARS, I’VE COME TO VIEW SERIOUS and progressive illness as an ever constricting circle with oneself at the center. The interior of the circle represents the contents of one’s life. As the circle gets smaller, things that were inside get forced out. Some of these things are dearly missed; other items that were once thought precious get forced to the exterior and turn out to go surprisingly unlamented.

At the innermost point of the circle are the things that really matter: Family, faith, love. These things stay with you until the day that you die. At the very end, because the circle has shrunk down to its center, they’re all you have left.

But as we approach that end, we finally realize that all along they were what mattered most. As a consequence, life often remains beautiful and worthwhile right up until the end. The past several years for me have been a journey to what’s at the center of my life. One of the things I found there that I didn’t expect to was writing. (You lucky people.)


The Edwards have begun their own journey of that sort. Whether they still find presidential politics at the center of their lives a few months from now is an open question. Regardless, the journey is theirs, and one would have a heart of stone to wish them anything other than good luck and Godspeed.
mikemehlhaffjr said…
Pat,

Your Mom was one of my all time favorite people. I'll never forget when she was the nurse at the junior high, or when she fixed me up after a major bicycle accident, or when your brother and I worked at the auctions selling chili dogs and coffee.

I'll always regret not getting to see her before I got out of the Army. I'm sure she is looking down on you and your family.
Anonymous said…
NBC news had a story today about "living with cancer." In many "treatable but not curable" cancer cases, probably like the case of Elizabeth Edwards, cancer can be controlled and contained for years - and even decades.

I have a friend who has lived with cancer in her ribs for eight years now. She went through a series of grueling treatments and surgeries, but she's still here, happy, and healthy nearly ten years after her original diagnosis. And she still has cancer.
Anonymous said…
Anon 6:33 p

Good for your friend that makes me very happy. I hope your friend life continues and that life is enjoyable.
I was the first poster here. I guess i must have been around those who were to far gone or in late stages. However, i didn't think so but i will admit that was a few years ago and treatments have improved and yes at the same time hard to go through as a patient.
Blessings to your friend!
RN said…
Friends we are talking about terminal BONE cancer here.

If Elizabth LOVES the campaign trail--well OK--more power to her.

It is more likely that JOHN'S (impossible) Presidentail dreams are clouding his reason. It is a most SELFISH choice to chase your dreams while your spouse is dying.

Bone cancer is painful and lonely--John should get off the campaign trail and concentrate his energy on looking after his wife--if that is taking her on an extended pleasure trip or planting flowers in the rain--he should take what time she has left for HER--not for HIMSELF.
Anonymous said…
RN:
If you read my first post, the very first post on this one you would know that i am not in favor of him running with her illness.
Anonymous said…
If it were my wife, we would leave the public and have the most wonderful time we could possibly have until she was gone from me. Other ambitions would be placed aside. Especially a political campaign.
Anonymous said…
Elizabeth wants John to run for President. This is pure and simple. He is being very unselfish as this is her desire. She is a resilient woman and this is what she wants to do- perhaps even more than her husband does. It is a family affair for the Edwards and will always be.

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