My VIP for this week is Senator John McCain because he is in the news again. I voted for him in 2008 because he was the Republican nominee and because I did not want Barack Obama in office. I did not know much about McCain’s politics, but I did not like what I was hearing from Obama.
I have paid more attention to McCain and his politics since 2008, and I disagree with his stance more than I agree with him. In my way of thinking, he should have retired long ago. He has served his country well both in the military and in Congress, and I thank him for his service.
I hoped that he would not run for reelection in his last campaign, but he did.
Now we learn that McCain has fast-growing brain cancer, and I believe even stronger that he should retire. In the first place, he is old, and he should retire – just like all the other old men and women in Congress and in the court system. In the second place, his ability to fulfill his responsibilities to Arizona and the United States has been compromised by the cancer. Even though the tumor was removed, the residual medical problems will take their toll.
A member of my family had a baseball-size tumor removed from her brain seven years ago. The surgeon took out the tumor and as much of the cancer as he could without causing more brain damage, but cancer cells were still present. Her cancer is a slow-growing kind, and she did not receive any radiation or chemical treatment. There has been some growth of the cancer, but she is still on wait-and-see treatment.
This family member is young and otherwise healthy. In visiting with her, a person would never know that she has brain cancer. However, she has frequent seizures on an average of one per week and is on medication for the seizures. The seizures and/or medication make her extremely tired, and she requires more sleep than she normally would need. They also make her unable to perform tasks that require deep thinking, such as handling the family finances and making travel arrangements.
Senator McCain is dealing with age-related issues as well as brain-cancer related issues. From my family experience, I cannot see how McCain can continue to perform his duties as a senator. Besides, he owes whatever time he has left in this life to his family.
Jeffrey Weiss is a long time reporter who is dealing with the same type of cancer as McCain – glioblastoma (GBM). Weiss writes an interesting article about his experience with the cancer.
As I discovered after my surgery seven months ago, the median survival time after diagnosis [of glioblastoma] is about 15 months. Which means half of those diagnosed live for less time and half more – with not many living more than a couple of years.
I’m no doctor, but I know three relevant factors about McCain’s case: Older patients tend to wind up on the shorter side of that median. But patients whose mental state is strong can shift to the longer side. And even many patients whose path to the Egress from GBM is close to the median enjoy a pretty good quality of life until near the end.
Even though Weiss’s surgery took place seven months ago, he had a recent “focal seizure” where he “could not get words out of [his] mouth. Comprehension was fine, Physical coordination was fine. No pain. But nothing but garble.” He is now on medication for his seizures, which make him “pretty sleepy.”
I wish McCain and his family well, but I believe he would be doing himself, his family, and his nation a big favor by retiring and spending his remaining time with his family.