Last week Senator John Edwards wife, Elizabeth Edwards announced that her cancer has returned and has advanced to stage 4 cancer.
All of they media outlets are using a similar sounding phrase that goes along the lines of “It is not curable, but it is treatable.”
Together they decided that Senator Edwards would continue his bid for the presidency and that he didn’t want his wife’s cancer to be a factor in the election. Elizabeth Edwards will continue to campaign for her husband while undergoing treatments for the disease.
I usually do not discuss politics on my blog but this is really bothering me for a few reasons.
The amount of people who survive 5 years with Stage 4 cancer is 7% .The stress that a campaign puts on a healthy person is staggering, let alone someone with cancer.
There is a very good chance that if John Edwards is elected President that Elizabeth Edwards would lose her battle with cancer within his first term in office if not during the campaign.
They have three children, two that are under the age of 10.
Elizabeth said “I expect to live a long time. I expect us to have lots and lots of years together. I do believe that. But if that’s not the case, I don’t want my legacy to be that I pulled somebody who ought to be president out of the race. It’s not fair to me, in a sense ... My feeling is, if we gave up what we have committed to as our life’s work, wouldn’t I be getting ready to die? That’s what I’d be doing. This cause is not just John’s cause, it’s my cause.”
How would you reconcile a life’s goal with the knowledge that trying to achieve that life’s goal could cause your terminal illness to take your life at an earlier date?
I am having a hard time putting into words how this makes me feel.
I empathize with Elizabeth Edwards. She wants her husband to be president. She wants to be supportive. She feels that she is doing the right thing to continue the campaign and to continue traveling while receiving the best medical treatment available.
I also have a hard time reconciling the fact that her children with likely be left without a mother within the next few years and that she and her husband are willing to sacrifice weeks and months of time spent with their family potentially exacerbating her illness to pound the pavement to try and get John elected into an incredibly stressful, high profile job where chances are extremely high that if he gets that job he will be burying his wife while being president.
I wonder if John & Elizabeth will think that it was all worth it in the end. Will their kids?