The Cancer Police
Seems some people think the unspeakable and apparently Botoxed-up-the-wazoo Couric was like, way harsh on Mr. and Mrs. Edwards for not dropping everything to concentrate on her medical situation. According to the Cancer Police, who seem to know better how to deal with cancer than people who actually have cancer, Elizabeth should immediately give up her job and stay home with her young kids. “Yes, children, Mommy’s probably going to die from her incurable disease, so she’s home with you 24/7 until it happens”—boy, that’s a comfort to the little ones.
And John Edwards should instantly give up his presidential run and aspirations (and victory, as I for one would very much like to see happen) and tend to his wife. Yeah, they should spend all their time bunkered down at home, obsessing on death every moment of every hour of every day. What a nice positive environment that will be for the whole family.
Hmm. I seem to recall Couric’s own husband dying of colon cancer a few years back. Yes…the way she selflessly gave up her big important TV job to stay home with him and spend all their waking minutes obsessing on death was a lesson to us all.
Oh, right, she DIDN’T give up her job, did she. My mistake.
Nor do I see the loathsome Cheneys staying home so Lynn can take care of her husband’s dicky heart. (I’m still surprised to hear he actually has a heart of any sort…)
Couric has no business copping any damn kind of attitude about Elizabeth and John Edwards’ handling of their situation. Yeah, she probably asked the right questions—she’d have been flamed for being a marshmallow-y wuss if she hadn’t (though we all know she is one)—but she didn’t frame them the right way, and for that, as one who purports to be a heavy-mob journalist and run with the big dogs, she should indeed be smacked around.
But mostly she should just stay on the porch. She's a cheerleading newsreader: she's not a journalist and for all her wannabe-ing, she never will be. By comparison to any of the other evening anchors, past or present (except for her sister in speciousness, the unctuous Barbara Wawa), she's hopelessly out of her depth. Let her keep to the shallows.
How people deal with cancer is nobody’s freakin’ business but theirs and their loved ones’. One of the people I love best and most in all the world has been fighting and beating breast cancer for the past ten years. It’s recurred twice: she was declared in remission back around Christmas, but she’s just been told that “something” is there again, but her amazing doctor isn’t sure quite what just yet. Could be (and undoubtedly is) nothing, just a small weirdness.
Doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, she will go after it with the extraordinary courage and sweetness and humor that characterize everything she does, and she will beat it back again, and again, and as many times as it takes. We hope and pray this will be the final time she has to, and that it will be nothing but clear blue skies of health for her for the next fifty years.
In the meantime, she hasn’t quit any of her jobs (she writes books and reads scripts for various studios), and neither has her equally amazing husband. They take huge trips several times a year to strange and exotic places, and they live their daily lives around the cancer, not for it or in spite of it.
Not to mention the trifling facts that she has entered divinity school and is ferociously pursuing her second Master’s and first Ph.D., and she’s written a thunderingly wonderful young-adult book, and it’s just been greenlighted for a cable movie.
We who love her behold all this with awe, but with absolutely no surprise. She’s the bravest person we know, and we have every confidence and expectation that she’s going to beat cancer to a bloody pulp and leave it gasping on the floor, never to return to the inhospitable neighborhood of herself.
Another of my dearest and most-loved friends has beaten cancer of his own, a warrior in real life as well as in the SCA and Star Trek Klingon fandom. He kept fighting, both the cancer (and other health issues) and in the lists, and he is formidable to this day.
So much for the Cancer Police philosophy of stay home with your spouse and wait to die. As we said in the 60s, Fuck that noise!
Of course I have thought about what I would do in such circumstances, and I have come to the conclusion that I would not give up really but just go happily (and seriously druggily) off to be with my honey in rock and roll heaven. That’s a choice too. But I don’t know, thank all gods. It hasn’t happened, and I really can’t say.
I like to think, though, that I would deal with it, either way, as bravely and indomitably as my friends, and as the Edwardses. And we pray health and happiness upon them all.