Monday, March 26, 2007

Is It All Worth It In The End?

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?

10 comments:

The Diva's Thoughts said...

My take on this is that I agree with their decision to continue. Stage 4 is pretty advanced and chances are she is going to die in a rather short time span anyway. There would be a lot of resentful feelings probably if he didn't pursue his dream and she dies like a year or two later. They need to continue on with their plans because as sad as it is, her time is limited anyway.

I feel really sorry for them. This is such a difficult time.

Dah said...

Attitude is everything though. Their decision is admirable to me because she's refusing to just pack up, get sick, and die. She's deciding to LIVE her life, however much longer that may be. None of us really knows how long we have. A friend of mine's mother has been dealing with Stage IV bone cancer for more than five years after being told she only had one year to live.

Campaigning is hard on everyone, yes, but I think being together fighting for what they believe in is great!

laughingattheslut said...

Okay, let's try this again.

I had this whole long thing about what if I was about to maybe get a book published, but then was told I only had a short time left to live. Blogger seems to have eaten it, and I don't think I'm up to re-writing the whole thing at the moment.

But as for the original question, is it all worth in the end? And will her children think it is worth it?

Well, no, her children will probably not think that it is worth it. They might look back later and think that their mom was really cool for saying the show must go on, but for now they probably won't like it at all.

But then, if their dad does become president, their whole lives are going to change anyway, in ways that they probably will not like. This will be something else that they won't like.

Maybe she'll take this opportunity to explain that's not always about what you like.

But the decision isn't theirs, it is hers, and she's made it. She's decided that this is what she had planned for the next few years, and she doesn't want to change her plans because she has an illness.

Hey, we don't know. Maybe she has really fond memories of being on the campaign trail and just couldn't wait to get back to it.

Churlita said...

I'm with you. I thought it was odd too.

Dennis said...

It is their decision as to what course of action to persue. I think that she is willing to sacrific her life for her husbands career but that almost sounds selfish when you factor in the children involved. This will not change my voting decision but it may some. This would be the most disgusting political ploy yet if that is the only reason that it is being stated that her cancer has come back.

M said...

hm, I wonder if the children will resent it later or not?

l.b. said...

As someone who is not all that political, I think to myself, "Why not wait 4 or even 8 years and run then?" She will presumably have passed and the kids will be that much older for handling the difficulties of life on the campaign trail.
I guess they must feel extremely strongly that this is the right time to do this. I can't imagine it would be something they haven't spent many hours discussing and contemplating.
Very thought provoking issue, Rachel.

Erica said...

Yes, attitude is everything and people should not believe that the odds of survival always applies to everybody. My father was given 6 months to live with lung cancer and years later he is still with us. BUT, I would think that, brave as Elizabeth is at the moment, she and John should concentrate on family life and spending time together and they will remember this time as special and not as stressful. So, no I don't think it's worth it, also because he, realistically, does not have that many chances to be President. I think either Hillary or Obama have more chances, IMO

laughingattheslut said...

I've heard a story about the guy who wrote Clockwork Orange. He was told that he only had a year or two left to live and he should start getting his affairs in order and decide what he wanted to do with the time he had left and all of that. What he decided to do was work his butt off writing, so that he could sell as many books as possible and provide for his family. About twelve books later, he still wasn't dead, and he started to suspect that someone had made a mistake. Decades later he was still alive, and the doctors were dead.

Rachel said...

Diva ~ It is a very difficult decision. One that I certainly wouldn't want to make.

Dah ~ I have heard that doing what you are passionate about can do wonders for your health. If she is passionate about this it might help her in the long run. I just keep thinking about her kids though.

laughingattheslut~ I agree with a lot of what you said. Who knows. Maybe her kids will look back on this time and think about how awesome their mom was to not just lay down and die.

Churlita ~ I think that we are in the minority.

Dennis ~ I don't think that this is a campaign ploy. If it is a lie they should be hung upsidown by their toes and beaten.

M ~ That was my thought too. Kids really need their mom, especially at 7 and 9.

l.b. ~ I guess the old anaolgy strike while the iron is hot? Do you think that a widower would have a decent chance to be elected?

Erica ~ I like John Edwards. I think that he is a pretty cool cat. I think that Elizabeth Edwards is an incredible woman. I honestly don't know what their chances are of getting the nomination with Hillary and Obama running too.

laughingattheslut ~ I had never heard that story. I like the thought that he continued to make sure that his family was provided for.