Treatment Update: I’m Confident That I’ll Get Extra Innings

RUSH: Okay, time for an update on my condition, my circumstances, my treatment. I told you all from the very beginning that I did not want to be a cancer patient here on the radio. Now, those of you who've been through this or have had family members go through it, you know that it takes over your life if you let it. You know that it has deep-seated psychological impacts on everybody in your family, including the person who has come down with it.

It takes a yeoman's effort to get past all that. It takes a lot of effort to try to live what used to be and what you try to make a normal life again. But there's always that cloud hanging out over there. So rather than talk about blood draws and all of the medical specifics, what I thought I would do was use a sports analogy.

And since I used to work for the Kansas City Royals I understand baseball a bit, and baseball is probably the best sport to use to analogize where I am to date in my treatment for what is, for those of you who don't know -- there's new people listening, tuning in every day -- advanced stage lung cancer which was diagnosed back in January, on the 20th.

So leaning on my time with the Kansas City Royals, I thought the best way to update you and to inform you would be with a baseball analogy. It was in late January that we learned of the diagnosis. That means we learned of a really tough opponent. So it was time to go up to bat, time to walk to the plate, bat in hand, and that is exactly what happened. And my first two at-bats were horrible. My first two at-bats struck out. Nothing to show for it.

The first two attempts to deal with the cancer failed. One was a targeted therapy of clinical trial drugs, which worked but nearly killed me in the process. And so we had to get off of those. But that at-bat showed me I could hit the pitch. I wasn't gonna strike out. I was at least able to make contact. We had some hope that there would be a remedy.

The second at-bat was a total and complete failure. I struck out on three pitches. Did not even make contact. So I'm now up in the bottom of the ninth, I'm 0-for-2. I have not reached first base. I didn't coax a walk out of anybody. I didn't get a hit, much less a double or a triple. But on my third at-bat, the third attempt, I managed to get on base. I hit a solid single and then stole second.

I am currently on second base hoping to slide into third and eventually make it all the way home. We're in the bottom of the ninth. If I get all the way home we get extra innings. And that's what we're shooting for here. Another reason why I chose baseball, football and basketball have a clock and they end. Baseball doesn't. Baseball goes as long as the game is tied. Right now I am tied. I need to round the bases and score. I need, however it happens, I need to either steal third, I need to steal home. The guy hitting behind me needs to come up with something.

But that's what we're shooting for here is extra innings, and we want as many of them as we can get. Now, don't be alarmed by my direct mention of the first two at-bats being total failures. Well, they were both total failures, but one of them held promise. The current treatment regimen -- and, folks, it's really tough because I know that you've known people or you've heard other people that are in media who are going through this illness or any other kind of illness. They're so eager to share with you good news that they do. And sometimes they get premature sharing the good news, and it isn't long before they have to come say, "Uh, uh, oh, we've lost ground or it's come back" or what have you.

And so I am and vowed to be very guarded with the good news because we're talking about cancer. There are good days, good weeks. There are bad days and bad weeks. This past period, this past treatment, which was a week ago tomorrow, this has been much better than I thought. I was expecting, because of the cumulative effect of the toxicity, I was expecting to be, you know, in that just debilitating fatigue for 10 days. And I wasn't. It lasted two days, Thursday and Friday. The weekend was good. But, again, anything can change rapidly and on a dime. So it's a blessing.

I believe prayer works. I know it does. It is a blessing that in my third at-bat, the last shot that I had at this, I got on base and I stole second, and I'm chugging on to third, and I'm very confident that I'm gonna score. I'm very confident that this is gonna go into extra innings. Meaning -- well, you know what it means. I'm trying to avoid being specific in the lingo here. And again, that's simply because of how rapidly things can change with this kind of diagnosis.

But I'm feeling extremely good right now, even cautious about saying that. Who knows what tomorrow's gonna bring. Good days and bad days. But I told you I would share information with you, and I told you I would keep you abreast of it. And so that's pretty much it. That's the sum total of it. I mean, I could be even more optimistic if I wanted to because there is reason to be, but, again, when every phase and stage happens that's an improvement, I'll be sure and pass it on.

The bottom line is I'm entirely capable of being here today. My energy level is great. I'm doing extremely well. And I don't think anybody would mind if I told you honestly that I am doing better at this stage than I thought I was gonna be doing. But, again, folks, I know these people who've gone through this, and they're so eager to share good news and they do, and then the next day, in some cases, or the next week they have to pull it all back because that's how rapidly things can change.

But sitting here right now, I can tell you that the attitude I have is, and the way I'm feeling physically, is much better than I thought I would be, particularly after the first two strikeouts. I mean, they were total failures, total strikeouts. And one of those times at bat was what we thought was the promise, one of those times at bat was where we thought the genuine, long-term answer was.

And when that didn't work, it was, "Oh, no." So the alternative has come through. It's doing well. Translation: I'm responding very well to the treatment. My body overall's responding very well to the treatment that I'm getting, and, you know, again, psychologically, I don't know what role psychology plays in recovery. There are people that would tell you a positive mental attitude counts for something, counts for a lot. Some would say it counts for nothing. Well, I'm an optimist anyway so I don't have to work at being optimistic.

But the psychological pall that accompanies this, and particularly for people in your family, it is as tough on them as it is on the, quote, unquote, patient. And they are to be applauded for the courage that they exhibit dealing with it. It's just incredible, the support that I have and patience that people have with me. Because if I lose control, I start blaming myself. I blame myself for ruining people's lives here. And I'll tell 'em that, and I apologize for it. And they say, "Nobody deserves to get what you got. You can't blame yourself for this."

The support that I've had, particularly from my wife, is just, as I've told you, impossible to characterize. So that's the update. The upshot of it is I've rounded second base, I'm pushing for extra innings. I gotta score. I gotta get around to home plate to tie the game and to extend the game for as many extra innings as I can. And it looks like, sitting here today, that it may happen.

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