Catholic convert and political columnist Robert Novak today published a piece about the discovery of his recent brain tumor. It’s quite moving and he mentions how his faith aids him. You can read it here.
When Zelda said to call 911, I again resisted, but she again prevailed. I promptly suffered another seizure in the ambulance, the second of three seizures that day. I gained admittance to the high-quality Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which has an excellent oncology staff. A biopsy was performed, which showed a large, grade IV tumor. In answer to my question, the oncologist estimated that I had six months to a year to live. Being read your death sentence is like being a character in one of the old Bette Davis movies.
I believe I was able to withstand this shock because of my Catholic faith, to which I converted in 1998.
I then called Dr. Donald Morton of the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., who removed a cancer from my lung in 1994 and has been a friend and close medical advisor. He told me that different people react to serious cancers in different ways and reminded me that I was a three-time cancer survivor.
Dr. Morton recommended Dr. Allan H. Friedman, a master surgeon who is chief of neurosurgery at the Duke University Medical Center.
After studying my CT scan and MRI, Dr. Friedman said a resection — that is, a removal of the tumor — was possible by surgery. Dr. Friedman had performed a similar operation this summer on Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
In today’s world, it is up to the “informed patient” to make many decisions affecting treatment. Dr. Morton recommended that I go ahead with surgery by Dr. Friedman.
My dear friend, the Democratic political operative Bob Shrum, asked Sen. Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, to call me about Dr. Friedman. I barely know Mrs. Kennedy, but I have found her to be a warm and gracious person. I have had few good things to say about Teddy Kennedy since I first met him at the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, but he and his wife have treated me like a close friend. She was enthusiastic about Dr. Friedman and urged me to opt for surgery at Duke, which I did.
The Kennedys were not concerned by political and ideological differences when someone’s life was at stake, recalling at least the myth of milder days in Washington. My long conversation with Vicki Kennedy filled me with hope.
He speaks further about those who have been nice to him including President Bush and those who haven’t like Joe Wilson of the Valerie Plame scandal. I do find it interesting how you can sometimes get a truer measure of people in times like these. Animosities and grudges seem silly when faced with the eternal. It’s nice to remember that even in sad times.
H/T Pro Ecclesia.