It was July that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) learned he had a brain tumor.
As Fox News reported, McCain revealed more details about the cancer during an interview with 60 minutes. When asked about his chances of survival, he made a shocking announcement: “The prognosis is very, very serious. Some say three percent, some say 14 percent. It’s a very poor prognosis.”
McCain has been something of a wildcard Republican in recent years. While supporting typical right-wing measures like defense spending and military efforts, he has also been a staunch opponent of repealing Obamacare. This has made him unpredictable in the political world and has kept both Democrats and Republicans on their toes on almost every political issue in which he’s involved.
Recently, his world was turned upside down when he received the terrible news of a brain cancer diagnosis from his doctor. During the 60 minutes interview, he retold the call he received that fateful day.
He said he was driving home in Arizona when the doctor called and urged him to return to the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. McCain said he was reluctant to return as it was Friday and asked if Monday would be acceptable, but the doctor was adamant, telling him “No, you have to come now. It’s very serious.”
McCain wanted answers, but the doctor was reluctant to discuss it on the phone. “I kept saying to them, ‘Tell it to me straight.’ Well, there’s always this. There’s always that. You know, and – and I said, ‘I can take it. Just tell me.’ And then they were more forthcoming,” McCain said.
The diagnosis was a glioblastoma, a vicious form of brain cancer more than 12,000 people are diagnosed with each year, according to the American Brain Tumor Association. The average expected survival rate for patients McCain’s age is 4 percent according to the American Cancer Society.
McCain said he responded positively. “So, I just said, ‘I understand, now we’re going to do what we can, get the best doctors we can find, and do the best we can.’ And, at the same time, celebrate with gratitude a life well-lived.”
According to New York Post, McCain realized he was diagnosed with the same type of cancer that killed his Senate colleague, Edward M. Kennedy back in 2009. During the interview, he told the interviewer that he often thinks of Kennedy and how he continued working despite the terrible news and “never gave up because he loved the engagement.”
McCain says he feels a similar drive and the grim prognosis has given him greater motivation to do more. “I am more energetic and more engaged as a result of this because I know I’ve got to do everything I can to serve this country while I can,” McCain said.
Sen. McCain discloses that his prognosis is grim. Is he too ill to serve?
McCain admits that sometimes the prospect of death wears down on him, but he reminds himself of all he’s done: “I have feelings sometimes of fear of what happens, but as soon as I get that, I say, ‘Wait a minute – you’ve been around a long time, old man. You’ve had a great life and a great experience.’”
He says for his funeral, he wants to be remembered as an American hero who fought for the people. “I want when I leave, that the ceremony is at the Naval Academy and we just have a couple of people that stand up and say, ‘This guy, he served his country.’”
Our hearts and prayers go to this man and his family while he battles cancer. Hopefully, he finds joy serving the American people as best as he can with whatever time he has left.