John & Elizabeth Press Conference
These are amazingly strong and courageous people. I try to imagine if I could be this calm about cancer when the whole country is watching. Since I have never been in that position I can't answer that. If I was I hope I could handle it with half the grace of Elizabeth Edwards.
John Edwards talks about how if someone wants to be President they have to deal with horrible things and face the pressure. If not he or she can't be President. Dealing with his wife having breast cancer and the lack of privacy about her condition certainly is pressure.
Fortunately, breast cancer is treatable. One of the interesting things is how gracefully both the lefty and righty blogosphere has behaved during the announcement. The finest moment was Andrew Sullivan's blog post. It got Shakes choked up.
What I saw in this press conference was the reality of family values - not the rhetoric, not the divisiveness, not the politics, just the reality of an actual family dealing with real issues. We all face such issues. Cancer survivors and their families know it all too well. So do those of us who live with HIV, diabetes, Parkinsons and many other diseases that patients can now live with, rather than die from. In this, John Edwards is doing a public service. He was admirably candid about his wife's cancer being treatable, if not curable. That paradigm is increasingly common - and it's affirming to see someone in public life live through it so positively, so admirably and so passionately. She shouldn't give in to it. One key to surviving serious illness is to live positively and candidly while you treat it. With HIV, I learned to repeat to myself a triad that was essential to surviving any serious medical condition: Own it, face it, beat it. That's what the Edwardses did today, and they will help a lot of people through their example.
Donate to the Breast Cancer Fund and Breast Cancer Research Foundation on behave of Elizabeth Edwards.