An Update on My Health: It’s a Roller Coaster
RUSH: You know, I want to take a minute here, ’cause it struck me. We’ve been fairly overwhelmed with countless emails and inquiries you have sent wishing me well and wanting a status report on my health. And it struck me. It’s been a while. I haven’t updated you on it in a while, and the reason is — and not to be redundant — but I vowed that I was not — I have a phrase for it, and that’s “bleeding on the audience.” Meaning, I’m not gonna come here and complain.
I’m not gonna come here and make whatever’s going on with me the only thing that matters to me or anybody else. I’ve done that my entire broadcast career. One of my pet peeves is people who are so self-focused and so self-interested — I mean, you could be having a conversation with them, they could ask you how you’re doing, you could be honest, you could tell them, “Well, I’m doing this, doing that, not doing well here,” they won’t even hear you. They can’t wait to tell you what’s going on with them.
And I have vowed that I was not going to treat my lung cancer diagnosis as an opportunity to bleed on the audience, to either complain or constantly update. The reason for it is that, first and foremost, there’s a radio show here to do each and every day, and that’s why people tune in to listen to it.
The second thing is, it’s a matter of, you know, once you go down that road, you create expectations, and people will want to hear more, and then there is the privacy angle of it all. But more than that is that I’m not the only one that’s going through hardships, challenging times. And I just refuse to act like I am the only one. And I refuse to act like the only thing you care about is what’s going on with me. I just do not have that kind of personality or attitude.
But at the same it’s been a while, because of all that, that we’ve updated you. And I know you’re out there praying for me. It’s unbelievably humbling to know how many — it’s gotta be in the millions of people who are actively praying. Many of you are signifying for us how you’re doing so. We’ve got all kinds of opportunity for people at RushLimbaugh.com and other Web pages that people can weigh in — Twitter now, Facebook. I just don’t like to talk about it often ’cause I don’t want to be a cancer patient on the radio.
And there’s another thing too. Folks, it’s an up and down thing. It really is a day-to-day thing. And so what I tell you one day could very well be true. And then the next day, oops, setback, oops, then I gotta go back, “Folks, what I told you yesterday, forget it. It’s not true today.” I don’t want to put you through that. I don’t want to put myself through it. But I know you’re concerned. So, it is time. I do want to provide you with a brief and honest update.
In a nutshell, there are lots of ups and downs in this particular illness. And it can feel like a roller coaster at times that you can’t get off of. And again, I want to stress here that I know countless numbers of you are experiencing the same thing. If it isn’t lung cancer, it’s some kind of cancer. If it isn’t you, it’s somebody really close to you. If it isn’t an illness, it’s something. We’re all going through challenges. Mine are no better and mine are no different and mine are no more special than anybody else. But it can feel like a roller coaster.
From the moment you get the diagnosis, there’s a part of you every day, okay, that’s it. Life’s over. You just don’t know when. But when you get that diagnosis, I mean, that’s… So, during the period of time after the diagnosis, you do what you can to prolong life, do what you can to prolong a happy life. You measure a happy life against whatever medication it takes.
And at some point you can decide, you know, this medication may be working, but I hate the way I feel every day. I’m not there yet. But it is part and parcel of this. It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over. Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.
So, last week was treatment week. Was it last week? The week before. The week before was treatment week. And I got some scans. I don’t get scans every treatment week. The scans did show some progression of cancer. Now, prior to that, the scans had shown that we had rendered the cancer dormant. That’s my phrase for it. We had stopped the growth. It had been reduced, and it had become manageable.
But there’s always the reality and the knowledge that that can change and it can come back because it is cancer. It eventually outsmarts pretty much everything you throw at it. And this, of course, this is stage 4 lung cancer. A lot of people have said, “Well, why did you wait until it was stage 4?” There was no way to know when it was stage 1, is the thing. There would have been no reason to go get a bunch of scans.
Stage 1 is just a bunch of little nodules running around, and even if you got a scan that showed a bunch of nodules, they’d say, “Gotta keep a sharp eye on them. There’s some nodules here, some nodules there.” But it really doesn’t present as what it is (this type of cancer) until it’s stage 4 — and stage 4 is, as they say, terminal. So we have some recent progression. It’s not dramatic, but it is the wrong direction.
So we have to tweak the treatment plan, which we did, and the chemotherapy drugs in hopes of keeping additional progression at bay for as long as possible. The idea now is to keep it where it is or maybe have it reduce again. We’ve shown that that is possible. If it happened once, it can happen again. So that’s the objective of the current treatment plan.
For those of you that have been paying attention to the ballgame analogy of this, when I last left off, I was rounding second base and I was chugging toward third. The objective was to hit a home run, to get a home run: Go all the way around the bases, go to home plate and beat this. So I was rounding second, on the way to third — and I realized I wasn’t gonna make it.
I had to turn around and make a mad dash, head back to second base. I slid in there, got into second base safely, and that is where I am. I was trying to steal third base, trying to steal some more ground. But I got waved back to second base. So that’s where I am, stuck on second base — fully committed, however, to stealing third and rounding towards home.
You know, all in all, I feel very blessed to be here speaking with you today. Some days are harder than others. I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible — and it’s still true.
You know, I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up. I don’t know how many of you do that, those of you who are not sick, those of you who are not facing something like I and countless other millions are. But it’s a blessing when you wake up. It’s a stop-everything-and-thank-God moment.
And every day, thus, results in me feeling more and more blessed. Hearing from you, knowing that you’re out there praying and everything else you’re doing, that is a blessing. It’s just a series of blessings. And I am grateful to be able to come here to the studio, tell you about it, and really maintain as much normalcy as I can.
I know a lot of you out there are going through your own challenges, whether it’s cancer or another medical illness or some other life challenge. Maybe even in the hospital right now. Someone told me — I think this is good advice, may be helpful — the only thing that any of us are certain of is right now, today. That’s why I thank God every morning when I wake up.
I thank God that I did. I try to make it the best day I can no matter what. I don’t look too far ahead. I certainly don’t look too far back. I try to remain committed to the idea what’s supposed to happen, will happen when it’s meant to. I mentioned at the outset of this — the first day I told you — that I have personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
It is of immense value, strength, confidence, and that’s why I’m able to remain fully committed to the idea that what is supposed to happen will happen when it’s meant to. There’s some comfort in knowing that some things are not in our hands. There’s a lot of fear associated with that, too, but there is some comfort. It’s helpful… God, is it helpful. It’s helpful to be able to trust and to believe in a higher plan.
So again, let me just thank all of you for your support, your prayers. I send the same to all of you through anything that you are facing. So now the objective here is rounding third, not having to head back to second base and slide in there. Here’s to rounding third and heading towards home. That’s the objective. That’s the goal.
That’s what we’re fully focused on in terms of treatment and behavior.
That’s what we’re looking forward to.
So there’s the update. I’m sorry it’s been so long since the last one, but it really wasn’t necessary until this time to give you because there hadn’t been anything of substantive change since the treatment week of last week. Thank you again, folks. I can’t tell you how much your being there every day matters — and, by the way, your being there…
You would not believe the audience numbers! You would not believe that’s happening out there that you are making happen. The biggest, largest Radio Rally in the history of anything turned out (chuckles) to be exactly that. It was humongous — and the normal, everyday ratings are through the roof. Our computer model projections are through the roof.
Of course, there is the requirement to meet the expectations of everybody tuning in for just those expectations, for the expectations to be met, and I’m here to provide that, and it is a blessing to be able to come here and give it a shot every day. So thank you for being here. Thank you for all of the assistance and prayers and other types of support that you are making known.
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, let me share one more thing with you — and I don’t want to be morbid here. But to me, this is the ultimate good news — the ultimate upbeat, positive way to react to what’s happening. Late January, whenever it was, is when I got this diagnosis. Folks, the kind of cancer I have…
I’ve never publicized what it is. It’s just stage 4 lung cancer. But let me just put it to you this way: It was hopeless. It was absolutely hopeless. Yet a treatment regimen was begun, and the first two of them failed. (chuckling) I mean, big-time failed. The third one? Magic! It worked. That’s where we were able, over the course of months, to render the cancer dormant.
I’ll just put it to you this way: After receiving the diagnosis, I never thought I would see October 1st. I never thought I would. When October 1st hit on the calendar this year, I reminded myself of that — of that thought. If we go back to the end of January, early part of February when I was first told of my diagnosis and the reaction…
The doctor said, “If you don’t do anything, we’re looking here at a couple of months. If you look at treatment, if it works, we’re looking at…” And then they wouldn’t give me a time. They still won’t. They won’t do that. But I’m just gonna tell you, there is no way back in January and February that I had anything but hope that I would still be alive on this day, October 19th, and that I would be fully productive working.
There was no way. I didn’t share that with anybody. So given that as a starting point, given that as a baseline, I’m kicking butt — and the future remains pretty good-looking, given all of that. This is why I say that I always try to keep everything in perspective on a day-to-day basis and to realize that you just don’t know. Nobody does, and you have to give every day…
You know, I’ve loved to point out we all only get one life. We don’t get a do-over in the… Well, we do. Actually, we get a do-over every day if we choose to look at it that way. Once we’re old enough and mature enough to understand what life is and that there is only one, then you do get do-overs, an opportunity to fix what you think you might not have done so well the day before, which is an operative philosophy of mine.
But the fact that I have that option and that opportunity compared to where I thought I would be at this time? I mean, that’s “go get the hallelujah chorus and have ’em start singing to me,” because that’s exactly where this is — and the future? Far more optimistic than pessimistic, attitudinally, to me, because of the support systems I have, the people that are helping me, family. Ooh! Anyway, that’s it.
An Update on My Health: It’s a Roller Coaster