Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards and Breast Cancer

I suppose being a public figure -- or a member of the immediate family of a public figure -- means that "privacy" is an oxymoron. We all know by now that Mrs. Edwards has had a recurrence of her breast cancer. At this point, I wonder if more people are aware of this than are aware that her husband is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The blogosphere has weighed in: Kevin, Orac, Sid, the Cheerful Oncologist, not to mention CNN, MSNBC and everyone else with an email address.

I was even talking about it with my office staff yesterday afternoon. With more than a little personal experience watching people go through the final stages of life with breast cancer, our conclusion that John Edwards' intention to continue with the campaign is short-sighted and one he will come to rue is widely shared. There are others who parse the decision as "her will to live" fighting on, continuing with as much normalcy as a presidential hopeful can possibly muster.

On the other hand...



Full stop.

Our president is still trying to become a king by firing lawyers who don't kowtow to him sufficiently and innocent American lives are still being lost every day on foreign soil so that rich American businesses dependent on oil can continue to rake in the bucks, and all we can do is voyeuristically weigh in on one family's tragedy-in-progress.

Enough, people. Let's get a life.

At least we'll soon know who the real father of Anna Nicole's baby is.


At Sat Mar 24, 11:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Our president is still trying to become a king by firing lawyers who don't kowtow to him sufficiently"

I know you don't mean for this to be a political debate, but when you toss out out a sentence like the one above, you open the door to comment. I'm not a Bush supporter, but I take exception to the idea that he's trying to become King. If that's so, then what was Clinton? Is everyone's memory so short that they forgot how he fired every single AG after taking office?

Canning AG's is not news. Nearly every administration in the past has done this on some level. Hell yes, it's stacking the deck, but it's legal. I agree that Bush has lost control of the situation and deserves the no-confidence label, but what he's doing with the firings isn't any different than previous administrations.

I really enjoy reading your blog and how you share so many wonderful insights of your practice and the medical world in general.

At Sat Mar 24, 11:57:00 AM, Blogger The Gal Herself said...

I recently lost a family member to breast cancer, and she enjoyed working almost to the end. She got strength from routine, from being around people who didn't have the vocabulary of disease and protocol, etc. She didn't regret a moment of it. I also read Mrs. Edwards' courageous book, Saving Graces, which is subtitled, "Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers." I imagine that as long as she's feeling well, Elizabeth Edwards will continue to draw strength from the people she meets on the campaign trail.

But you're right -- this is a highly individual and private decision. And we must respect it.

Also, regarding the President and the AG firings, the Bush Administration needs to remember that it works for us. Everything they do is news. If the firings aren't any different than any previous administrations', why won't he answer questions about it? Or encourage his staffers to discuss it under oath?

At Sat Mar 24, 01:13:00 PM, Blogger Detail Muse said...

The Edwards's drama has spread by word-of-mouth because it has tensions relevant to everyone’s life.

But now that you’ve weighed in, it’s time to shut down conversation?

If I feel something's private, I don’t blog about it.

If I want to curtail (rather than incite) conversation, I don’t link to six other posts about it.

Just sayin’.

At Sat Mar 24, 04:17:00 PM, Blogger Red Rabbit said...

Erm, I sincerely doubt the Dino was attempting to shut anything down, just expressing an opinion. And word-of-mouth? Are you kidding? I live in a different country and it was front-page with a photo on my big-city local paper yesterday.

Re: HRH Bush: Hear, hear.

At Sat Mar 24, 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Jeanne said...

You said it, "It's none of our business."

And we don't know that Ms. Edwards is at the end of her life, either--it's been more than five and a half years since my breast cancer metastasized, and I'm still alive and kicking.

There is no “right way” or “wrong way” to deal with a cancer diagnosis. Let Ms. Edwards, and her husband, decide how they will deal with hers. She hasn't asked for our advice.

For more, see my blog, The Assertive Cancer Patient.


At Sat Mar 24, 05:51:00 PM, Blogger No Acute Distress said...

So another occaiionally amusing or insightful medical blog succumbs to the irresistable urge to get up on its soapbox and make political pronouncments. Isn't the Internet grand?

Thank God, Al Gore invented it for us.

Thank God, Al Gore will now save us all from....Global Warming (key scary music).

At Sun Mar 25, 12:04:00 PM, Blogger Sid Schwab said...

During the announcement I wondered to my wife how long it would take for Limbaugh, et al, to accuse them of manipulation. A nanosecond, as it turns out, unsurprisingly.

Second-guessing motives, etc, is unworthy. On the other hand, as I said in my post, when famous people have a disease, it can be used as a "teaching moment," since attention is focused. In other words, the flip side of your admonition to "get a life, people" is, by informing, possibly to save a life.

At Mon Mar 26, 10:48:00 AM, Blogger Bookhorde said...

I like Elizabeth Edwards -- based only on watching her in the last campaign. She seemed like such a real person.
I respect her decision -- I can imagine it (her decision) being her FOAD letter to cancer.


At Mon Mar 26, 01:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a friend who died of Lymphoma at the age of 38. She was also working until a few months before her death. Her medical insurance from both her job and her husband's - both fairly high paid actuaries - so she could've stayed at home if she wanted to. We had a conversation some time before that, and I asked her if it would be easier to stay at home. She had chemotherapy twice a week at the time (if I am not mistaken), so I was not sure how she managed to work. She said - if I stop working it'll mean like that's it, it's the end. While I work I feel that I am still alive.
Eventually they fired her because she had to take so many days off.

Agree with dinasaur - some people should really mind their own business.


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