in the San Francisco Chronicle. I mean 'nice' here in the sense that the writer took the time to listen to some critics,
"You have to look out for other people in this life,'' Guy Smith, a Chronicle reader from Alameda, told me. "If I were in his shoes, I would abandon the campaign and spend time with the woman I love.''
and then he took the time to go further, to look into the deeper dynamics of a life with chronic illness.
That was a lovely thought with all the right intentions. But according to the cancer survivors, counselors and therapists I spoke to, it has just one problem -- it is dead wrong.
The author, C.W. Nevius, interviewed several women and all sounded like this,
Barbara Frey of Piedmont missed the Edwardses' news conference. She was undergoing chemotherapy for her own stage 4 cancer, and she is now in her third year of chemo. She thinks Edwards is absolutely making the right decision.
"It is crazy to think of dropping out now,'' she said. "It is crazy for the public to look at her as a nearly dead woman who needs tea and sympathy. What she really needs to do is go on with her life. And that ought to include the things that bring you joy. Clearly, being on the campaign trail brought her joy.''
The author's efforts reward the reader with the view from the survivor's seat. He gives the reader a peek at the life, attitudes and realities of folks with Elizabeth's type of cancer, and in the end he offers their critics some advice I found to be very very wise,
More than 10 million people are battling cancer in this country today. They'll listen to your advice if they must, and they'll put up with well-meaning expressions of sorrow and disappointment.
But at the end of the day, we all have to confront the illness in our own way.
The Edwardses did it Thursday, standing on the national stage and announcing that they have decided to continue with their lives, regardless. Some might see that as cynical or self-absorbed. That's your call.
But I can tell you what someone who deals with stage 4 cancer every single day thinks.
"I think,'' said Frey, who will need chemotherapy for the rest of her life, "it is tremendously courageous of them.''
Who are you to disagree?
Having never been very close to someone with an illness such as Elizabeth's, I learned much from this article. Thought I'd share this author's insights, just in case there are others like me out there. Enjoy.